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.