Chiclayo, Peru

On July 1 we moved on to Chiclayo. It was a three hour bus ride thru the Sechura Desert. The road passed thru mostly a flat sand desert with scattered desert trees and occasional sand dunes. We were “attacked” by a taxi driver as soon as we exited the bus. He followed us inside the terminal as we checked on onward bus schedules. We asked to be taken to the central plaza but, per ususal, he ferried us around to several hotels until we found one to our liking (all for just 2 Soles, about $0.75).

On Monday July 2, we splurged and paid $45 for the taxi to transport us to the two major ruin sites in the area, Sipán and Túcume. Sipán is the site of two main adobe pyramids with at least 12 royal burials hiding in them. The tombs date from 1 AD and active excavation is still ongoing. Many treasures have been uncovered in these tombs. We watched the diggers at four sites, one of which appeared to be the top level of another tomb. It contained recently uncovered skeletons and pottery. Túcume is also the site of active digging, but we were not allowed close to the digs. Túcume is the remains of a very large adobe city and we climbed up on a hill (Cerro Purgatorio) for a look over the site – which was quite impressive. Visiting these two sites took all day and left us quite exhausted.

On Tuesday we visited the museums in Lambayeque. There are two museums, one contains older finds including objects from Túcume and other nearby sites. The second museum is new and contains many marvelous items found in the royal tombs of Sipán. Viewing the two museums took much of the day. There are many gold, silver and copper pieces (large ear rings, banners, masks and many trinkets), lots of huge collar necklaces (containing many tiny shell beads that had been carefully reconstructed layer after layer as they had been removed form the tomb), pieces of cotton fabric, and lots and lots of pottery to see in the Sipàn Museum. This museum is one of the richest in artifacts that we have seen.

The city of Lambayeque also had some interesting colonial buildings near the central plaza, one of which is reported to have the longest balcony in South Ameirca. Casa Montjoy is the name given to this once-rich colonial home, but today it is falling apart (although restoration is just beginning). We got to walk thru the basically empty building and view the adobe construction with its very thick walls.