Travel tips you can trust
Chavin de Huantar
The 3,000-year-old Chavin archaeological site was the cultural and religious center of the great pre-Inca Chavin civilization. It flourished from about 900 to 300 BC.
The title goes to the giant dagger-like Lanzon granite stone (see photo detail). Human and animal faces of sacred deities are chiseled on its surface. This 5-meter (15-foot) tall monolith dramatically rises vertically in a subterranean room.
Who should go
and not go
It's a great site for visitors with for those with at least a strong interest in Pre-Columbian archaeology.
For others, I do not recommend it. Consider:
The place lacks the visual wow of, say, Machu Picchu. Most of what you see from ground level is crumbling stone walls. What's most interesting lies in underground chambers.
It isn't easy. First you must reach Huarez city, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the capital Lima. Then you must drive on a winding, sometimes ill-maintained mountainous road. Figure on several hours each way - and a morning-to-night outing.
Most of the best ones are in a Lima museum, including the renowned Tellos Obelisk. However, there's a tiny museum at Chavin de Huantar exhibiting items like pottery.