Chiclayo, Lord of Sipan thumbs & Pyramids
Most of the visitors who come to Peru tend to focus on the south of the country where Lima and Cusco is.
I would like to use this post to encourage you to invest time into the north as you can reap big rewards without spending too much. What I’m suggesting is that north is much cheaper then the south. It also has so many archeological and natural wonders that you won’t know what to do with yourself. Start with Chiclayo.
Crossing the border from Ecuador
We were crossing the borders by bus from Guayaquil, Ecuador and coming along the coast site. The whole process was super easy. We got to the bus terminal and bought a ticket for the same evening with Cifa. It was the cheapest option available for $25. There were no troubles. Bus driver and his assistant were guiding us through the process, gave us papers to fill, brought us to Ecuadorian border, than to Peruvian side, waited for everyone. Seats were comfortable 140 degrees reclining or so called semi cama , even with a snack.
Many people tend to stop at Mancora which is a famous beach town. We just spent awesome 10 days in Galapagos and had enough of beaches. Some culture and history fixture was need. Therefore our first stop was Chiclayo.
Chiclayo is no beauty, it was our first Peruvian town and we truly weren’t impressed. It is not very tourist friendly, doesn’t have that many accomodation or western food options but that’s not what we were there for.
We stayed in cheap hostel Sol Radiante in the city center and paid 50soles per night. Nothing special but it was clean and had a quick internet. Nobody in Chiclayo wanted to negotiate about anything which came as a surprise after Ecuador.
We’ve made plans for 2 days, 1 night to visit the following sites:
1st day: Sipan and surroundings
You can take colectivo going to Sipan museo directly from Terminal Epsel, 5 soles pp. If you are using maps.me, it’s already added there as a location. (1.5km from city center)
Museo Sipan is an archeological site 30km from Chiclayo, 4 soles pp. It was a burial site where more than 17 graves have been excavated. One of them is the famous Lord of Sipan (the body and artefacts can be found in Lambayeque in Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan). One of the graves have been riffled and gold and pottery sold overseas. There is a museum with recent findings and explanations of what you are about to see at the actual archeological site. The site itself is super interesting and you get to walk by yourself around and on top of the remains of adobe pyramids.
Martin didn’t believe we are walking on actual pyramids. You get to see how they looked like in fully glory in the museum. So he was turned in the end.
There are so many archeological sites around that you can pick and choose how many you want to see. We took a colectivo from Museo Sipan and get off in Pomalca. This is where we found cheap menu del dia and in true “village will look after you” fashion got into the chat with the owner. Instantly we have been served local pumpkin desert, he negotiated for us mototaxi driver to take us to Ventarron for 20 soles return. Ventarron is 4500 years old temple that has been excavated only in 2007. You can see colours on the walls and paintings still perfectly visible on the adobe structures. It was well worth the 2 soles pp with guide in Spanish. And again we were alone there.
2nd day: Lambayeque
You can take colectivo from San Jose street in the town center. There are also many cars on this street who are offering shared service to Lambayeque, we paid 2 soles one way.
Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan, 10 soles per person, no cameras are allowed inside, you need to store all your stuff in the cloakroom. Huge investments have been made in building this museum in the shape of a pyramid. It holds the findings from the Royal Tombs of Sipan including mummies, bodies, ritual objects and so much pottery your head will be spinning. It’s well worth the visit to understand the pre-inca history of the region.
Only 600m from Museo Tumbas reales de Sipan is Brunning museum for 8 soles pp, holds name after one of the most influential archeologist of the area with photographs from beginning of last century when Brunning was doing his research with local communities. The whole museum is in Spanish.
We have been advised on internet and by the locals that everything is closed on Monday but personally can confirm that the museums are indeed open on Monday. There were almost no tourists, we certainly haven’t seen any gringos when walking around. The first couple we saw was on the night bus to Chachapoyas. You can read more about our week in the mountains here.
We've been to Chiclayo and all the archeological sites in November 2017. If you have more up to date information, please share it in the comments. Thank you.