The Sacred City of Caral-Supe
Just a few hours north of Lima, you can visit the sacred city of Caral-Supe, an ancient archaeological site that marks the earliest known instance of complex civilization in the Americas. The ruins at this UNESCO World Heritage Site date to approximately 3,000 B.C., and they are remarkably well-preserved for their age. Caral was almost certainly developed by a highly religious society, as evidenced by the stone monuments and pyramids, the the sunken circular courts, and the remnants of homes that likely belonged to the city's elite. The physical setting is as striking as the cultural setting: the 626-hectare city is perched on a dry desert terrace overlooking the lush Supe River Valley, framed by mountains, close to the sky. You can hire a tour or take a car to visit this site on a day trip from Lima.
By Ana Paula Bedoya, AFAR Local Expert
The road less traveled
To say the ride to Caral was a bumpy one is the most understated statement I've ever said. In a van filled with 6 people, myself being in the back, we passed through small streams, stopped for cows, and even ushered a group of little ducklings across the road. Caral is the oldest civilization in the Americas, and is a site to see if you have both the time and patience to go. The ride was bumpy, but the scenery was beautiful. The whole experience felt very Peruvian and very experiential. At the end of viewing the ruins (we were the only people there - spooky), we were presented an authentic Peruvian meal of sweet potatoes, chicken and a purple drink that I'm still unaware as to its contents.
By Michaela Trimble, AFAR Ambassador