|Chiclayo was founded in 1560s as a rural village by Spanish priests. The area is Peru's major agricultural centre and produces mainly rice and sugar cane, which can be seen everywhere. Chiclayo is also the 'Capital of Friendship' and there is an earthiness and vivacity about its citizens.
Chiclayo is also a hub for visiting the surrounding archeological sites.
One day we visited Lambayeque where there is the famous Bruning Archeological museum and the new Museo de las Tumbas Reales de Sipan. The new museum is housed in a massive building shaped like a pyramid and is very impressive. The Bruning museum has artefacts from different Pre-Columbian areas and the new museum has artefacts and treasures from the tomb of the 'Old Lord of Sipan'. Some of the finest examples of Moche craftmanship have been found in the tomb of the Old Lord. The museum also has a full size replica of the tomb as it was found. There were also lots of treasures such as gold jewellery, and intricate shell jewellery.
On the same day we continued to the Túcume site where there are 26 pyramids. However they are not pyramids in the Egyptian style they are more like big mounds of earth, but they were once buildings where people lived. Thor Heyadahl led the excavation of the site. It was quite nice to walk around the site and climb El Purgatorio (Cerro La Reya) to get a good view. El Purgatorio has long been associated with tales of demons (and fish !!!). The Spanish invaders encountered fierce local resistance to their new religion and so told the locals that there lived on the hill a demon who would punish anyone not accepting the Roman Catholic faith. They also made up other stories and staged situations to back up the tales. Locals are still superstitious and stay away after dark !
Our second day was spent visiting Sipan (after a nice lie in !). This is where there are three 'pyramids', one of which was where the tomb of Lord Sipan was found. We had a look around and were surprised that we could walk over the pyramids. We started to venture down into the pyramid but it seemed to dissapear into the darkness so we turned back !
The site didn't take as long to walk around and we took a combi back to town.
Hebron - Good restaurant with huge portions ! and excellent cakes.
Las Americas - Good breakfast for 7 soles
Hotel Paracas - Cockroaches in the rooms, no cleaning, and bad service.