Wait, what’s that over there?
Archeology is everywhere in Peru. Even as you wonder at the magical sites you are visiting, you can see terraces above you on the steep slopes of the Andes–terraces yet to be excavated or explored.
On the coast, the Wari and Moche cultures existed long before the inka, and we visited one site in Lima that is massive: Pucllana. But the part of Pucllana that you can visit is only a small portion of the original city. The rest lies under the nearby apartments and shopping centers that were built years ago, often using the mud bricks of the archeological site as raw building material. The loca neighborhood now manages the site, and is looking to continue to explore and restore it.
But that is one of literally hundreds of ruins inside the city limits of LIma. And when you get up into the Andes, you find stonework and ruins around every corner, and in every valley. Caral, along the coast north of Lima, has pyramids that are larger than the ones in Egypt, and every bit as old. It is still only partially excavated, like most of the other sites in Peru.
Yes, Machu Picchu is astonishing. We hiked the Camino Inka to Machu Picchu years ago, and loved it. But there are so many other sites, so many wonderful places, that you could easily spend the rest of your life visiting them. We’ve been to Peru three times now, and every time we leave knowing that there are more things to see, and more sites to visit.