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How to visit Pachacamac: the largest archaeological site in Lima?

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How to visit Pachacamac: the largest archaeological site in Lima?

It is one of the most important archaeological sites on the Peruvian coast. With an extension of more than 465 hectares, it began to be built at the beginning of our era and its use was uninterrupted for about 1500 years until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1533. Here we can find evidence of four different cultures: Lima, Wari . Ychma and Inca; being the Ychmas, who carried out most of the constructions that are seen today in the place, highlighting their pyramids with ramps. It has an excellent site museum and a huge number of ancient structures including temples, palaces, pyramids, aqueducts, cemeteries, squares, streets, etc. It was the abode of one of the most feared divinities of ancient Peru known as Pachacamac, the one who had the power to move the earth and cause earthquakes, whose idol was found in the place and is exhibited in the museum.


If you want to take a special tour and access areas where hardly anyone enters, ask for the so-called "special visit" at the ticket office. On this tour you will see the most important street in Pachacamac, as well as one of the 16 pyramids with a ramp and several other places. For this it is mandatory to hire one of the guides of the place which has a cost apart from the payment of the entrance ticket and the tour is completely on foot.


Note: The schedules, entrance fees and other information presented below may change at any time and without prior notice, since it depends on the museum's administration. If you find any difference, we would appreciate if you let us know so we can correct it.

What is Pachacamac?

Pachacamac is the largest archaeological site in Lima. It was an important religious center since pre-Inca times, in which there are remains of different peoples and cultures from about 2,000 years ago. The Lima, Huari and Ichma cultures passed through there until the arrival of the Incas, who remodeled it and built their main temples. With the arrival of the Spanish, the sanctuary was abandoned.


The archaeologist Max Uhle made the first archaeological excavations in 1897, focusing mainly on the Temples of the Sun and the Moon. Later, many other archaeologists have worked on the site discovering new buildings and remains of those cultures. Today, work continues to learn more about its entire history.



Pachacamac is located to the south of Lima, about 40 kilometers from the historic center of the city and about 30 kilometers from the Miraflores neighborhood. It is located near the coast, in front of two small islands also called Pachacamac and of which there is a legend that I will tell you about below. Due to the growth of Lima, it is practically surrounded by buildings everywhere, which is a shame because it takes away a lot of its charm.


What to see in Pachacamac? 

Being the largest archaeological site in Lima, there are certain places to pay special attention to when visiting Pachacamac. Some of its temples stand out, but you cannot miss the Site Museum either, with a large collection of objects found in the enclosure belonging to the different cultures that inhabited it.

Pachacaman archaeological site on the Peruvian coast

Archaeological site of Pachacamac

Without a doubt, visiting Pachacamac will make you feel like a real explorer, because touring the remains of its great buildings is quite an experience. How much history is hidden within its adobe walls! During the visit you will be able to see its main pyramids and temples, in which the Old Temple, the Painted Temple, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon stand out.


The Old Temple is the oldest in the entire complex and dates back to the time of the Lima culture. It is quite damaged, but you can see how it was built based on small bricks. It is located next to the Painted Temple, in which polychrome walls with drawings of plants, men and animals were found. Unfortunately, the paintings have been very poorly preserved.


For its part, the Temple of the Moon (also called Mamaconas or Acllawasi) was the place where the women of the province, chosen for their beauty or skills, lived. It is already one of the buildings built by the Incas in the fifteenth century. Thanks to the fact that it is reconstructed, you can appreciate what this structure was like during that time.


Also from the Inca era is the Temple of the Sun, which is the largest and best preserved of the entire archaeological site. It is one of the temples that can be partially visited, and from it you have a beautiful view of the Pacific coast, as well as the islands that are located in front, of which, as I was saying, there is a legend.


Legend of Pachacamac

According to this legend, there was a beautiful woman, Cavillaca, who was wanted by the gods. As she was not fooled by any, the god Wiracocha became a bird and spread her seed on a fruit tree. She, by eating the fruit, became pregnant. No one knew who the father of the woman's daughter was, until the girl was asked to recognize her father, and she recognized the god Wiracocha.


The god, to go unnoticed, had dressed in rags, so the woman thought that a poor ragged man was the father of her daughter and she felt so upset that she went to the ocean to kill herself with the little girl. The god tried to stop her, revealing who she was, but she no longer wanted to know anything about her and when they got into the sea they ended up turned into stone due to her vanity.


Pachacamac Site Museum

In addition to visiting the temples located in the archaeological site, you cannot leave the site without visiting the Site Museum. Some 6,500 very beautiful and well-preserved pieces belonging to the cultures that have inhabited this place are kept there. Among these pieces you will see the Idol, a carved wooden figure found among the remains of the Painted Temple that was the representation of the god Pachacamac and the reason for the existence of the entire sanctuary.


How to visit Pachacamac?

How can you know all this I am talking about? As I was saying, the archaeological site of Pachacamac is very close to the Peruvian capital, so I recommend that, when traveling alone to Lima, make a hole in your schedule to go there.



Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 to 15:45

Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.


Ticket cost

  • Adults S/ 15.00
  • Higher Education Students S/ 5.00
  • Children (from 3 to 17 years old) S/ 1.00
  • Children under 3 years free admission
  • Visit special circuit S/ 20.00 (per person)
  • 50% discount on the value of the adult ticket for active military, over 60 years, active teachers
  • 50% discount for people with disabilities, on the value of the ticket of the corresponding category.

How to get to Pachacamac?

As the sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Lima, it is easy to visit it in half a day. You can do it with a guided tour, thanks to which you won't have to worry about how to get there and you'll have the ticket included. If you are interested in visiting another museum, you have the option of also visiting the Larco Museum or the Gold Museum optionally on the same tour.


It is also possible to arrive on your own, either with your vehicle or by bus. Lines 8504, 8508 and 8511 leave from the center of Lima and stop in front of the archaeological site. Now, because it takes a long time and may not be secure, I don't recommend this option. It is easier to hire the tour.



  • Much of the trail is outdoors. If you go in summer it is recommended to bring water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you go in winter it can be windy, so it is also recommended to bring something warm.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that can get dirty, as the paths are dirt or gravel.
  • Do not forget to always respect the trails and the indications of the guides and guards.
  • It is strictly forbidden to climb the walls or paint.
  • Do not collect or extract archaeological material from the site.
  • Due to the size of the place, cars and light vehicles are allowed to enter, but the tour can also be done on foot.
  • If you hire a taxi or other similar service to get to Pachacamac, it is recommended that you also reserve it for the return, since when you leave it will be difficult to find taxis. In front of the place there is a bus stop.
  • For school groups, it is recommended to coordinate your visit in advance.

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