Our second full day in Huaraz, after enjoying a simple Peruvian breakfast and coffee, we set out on a 3-hour drive to see the ancient ruins of Chavín de Huántar. It was such a gorgeous drive!
We passed a trucha (trout) farm as we crossed on of the bridges.
After about 2 hours of driving, we drove through a tunnel and emerged on a very bumpy, washed out mountain road.
At that point the GPS said we had 23 minutes to reach the site…1 hour+ later and with very full bladders we finally arrived at our destination. So much of the road had been washed out by rains and mudslides that it was very slow going. Thankfully the kids slept through most of it. Cliff with his sandwich in hand.
After a good lunch, we walked up to the site.
The site sits at over 10,000 feet above sea level and is one of the oldest ruins in South America, being constructed as early as 1200 BC.
The ruins were surrounded by beautiful grassy plains with a river running nearby.
The kids had a great time watching the llamas.
They also really enjoyed running along the paths and generally exercising in any way possible (after 2 days in the car they needed it!).
When we got to the main ruins I couldn’t believe how big they were! I was completely unprepared for the enormity of this place.
Olivia and Cliff meanwhile were very interested in the rocks and flowers.
Cliff even came up with a new game and had a fun time balancing rocks on his head.
He is such a ham! It kept him entertained for the majority of the excursion.
It was really amazing to walk through structures that were over 3000 years old!
After we toured the outside of the ruins, we got to walk through the labyrinth and see the Chavín peoples god, a 3 TON shaft carving made out of granite.
It was too dark to get any good pictures, but this is a small replica that we passed later in the city’s center (complete with trash pile).
For the last part of the tour, we saw the last remaining cabeza clava (meaning spike head) on site.
The structures used to be surrounded by these carved heads, all at a different level of morphism (from man to jaguar). Now most of them are found in the museum nearby. It was a really interesting tour and the kids enjoyed it maybe even more than we did. That’s always a plus for us when we’re traveling! Cliff really loved the llamas and had a fun time filming them with John’s GoPro.
On the way back to the car we even saw a horse, which completely topped the experience for both of them.
We stopped in the museum before heading back.
It was a quick stop but it was neat to see all the cabezas clavas on display. The drive back was a little faster, since we knew where we were going and John knew what to expect from the roads. We saw some beautiful sights, too!
It was a great outing! We were really enjoying our time in the Cordillera Blancas!