Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fantastic road through the mountains to the Chavin Ruins

We had made a plan to (once again) do a group tour through the people at Peruvian Mountain Adventures.

It's not our normal travel style to do group tours. And in fact, if we were to do this particular one again, we would probably chose to do it on our own. Only for the simple fact that we would have loved to stay in the area for longer!

A van came and picked us up at around 9:00am. The driver picked up a young couple along the way, and we ended up in the central area of Huaraz where the tour buses normally depart from. Then, a lady came by telling the four of us that we had to walk to another tour bus that would be taking us for the day.

We've learned in Latin American countries that things don't always happen the way you expect them to, and that you just have to roll with the punches. So be it! We ended up at the new bus that was already pretty much full. So much for getting good seats, but it all turned out for the best. And, it was all local Peruvian people which kind of surprised us. I actually had to question if we were on the right bus because there were no other foreign tourists on the bus except for us and the young couple we had picked up previously.

Because the bus was almost full, we ended up in the very back row, along with the girl from the young couple.

We got to talking to Lara, and she is originally from Colombia. Her boyfriend Luca (seated a few rows up) is from Switzerland.

At our first rest stop.

Our tour bus!

When we stopped for a break, Lara asked the fellow sitting next to her if he would switch places with her boyfriend Luca, and he agreed no problem. So when everybody got back on, we met Luca.

Lara and Luca are on a one year sabbatical from their jobs in Switzerland They are going to spend most of it in South America. 

Next stop was the beautiful Laguna Querococha.

Local lady with her horse.

Spring cactus flowers.

There was a cold wind blowing at us.

The crowds.

It was a Saturday, and quite a few people were headed to Chavin. So when we stopped at the laguna, there were quite a few other tour groups doing the same thing. It was fairly easy in this situation to get photos without any people in them, but we still don't understand why the tour organizers don't get together and time their departures a bit better so that every group doesn't do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.

Scenery along the way.

At first, I was disappointed with being stuck in the middle of the very rear seat. But, I had lots of leg room, and I could take pictures out the back window.

Looking out the back window.

The road we came up on.

My view on the bus!

The second highest road tunnel in the world!

Tunel de Kahuish is at elevation of 4.516m (14,816ft) above the sea level. Interestingly, the highest road tunnel in the world is also in Peru!

After we came through the other side of the tunnel.

There is an impressive statue of Christ overlooking the  valley below.

Our road!

What a fantastic drive!

Looking down at the village below.

We arrived at the Chavin Archaeological site at about 12:45pm, along with all the other tour buses. That's the problem with doing these types of things on the weekend... there are bound to be more people doing the same thing. Very few foreigners though. Mostly Peruvian people.

We paid the 15 soles ($6 CAD, $4.50 USD) per person entrance fee.

Most people who visit Peru go to the Inca sites... Machu Picchu of course being the most famous. But the Incas were a fairly recent civilization, dating in the period 13th to 16th century. There were many other civilizations before them, and one of the reasons we wanted to visit Chavin is that it is one of the oldest. 

The Chavin site was built around 900 BC... 3,000 years ago!

Chavin Archaeological site.

One of the most interesting things about this location is how they successfully designed a series of water channels under the complex to prevent it from flooding during rainy season. How they knew to do this 3,000 years ago is amazing. 

It was handy to have Lara and Luca with us. Our guide did everything in Spanish because the entire group was Spanish speaking. We got bits and pieces of it, but Lara and Luca are fluently bilingual. In fact, Luca speaks five languages! Although he says his French isn't the best.

One of the underground channels.

Chavin is largely unrestored.  

There is a long term project on the go being done by Stanford University.

There are some big stones in the walls.

One of the water channels. 

Recently, they have built coverings to protect the columns.

The columns have depictions on them.

View of the plaza.

The people are waiting in line to go inside the tunnels. 

The circular plaza. 

Ruth, inside the tunnels.

The main reason to go inside the tunnels is to view the The Lanzón Monolith, a 15' tall carved piece of granite that was placed inside the temple during construction. It would be impossible to remove it unless you dismantled the temple itself.

And it's located in an area that is difficult to view it. In fact, you can only see it because of a mirror they have placed on the corner in that area. And there is a guard standing there and there are no photographs allowed. 

I found a photo online.

Some local homes that overlook the site.

Ruth, doing some exploring!

I zoomed in on this guy way up in the hills doing some farming!

One of the original stone heads is still in place. 
Many others are in the Chavin museum. 

Ruth was looking at a sweater for our granddaughter. 
Did not purchase though because we didn't know what a good price would be.

Of course they have tourist trinket alley when you exit the site.

This guy has a nice view!

A local lady.

Next, the bus took us to the Chavin Museum, located almost 2 kms away. The entrance is included with your site entry ticket.

You can see the topography of the area. 
Chavin is located directly opposite Huaraz,  but on the other side of the mountain range.

An aerial view of the site.  

Some of the original stone work is in the museum.

This one is very detailed.

Another local doing some plowing.

Local people.

A small community near the town of Chavin de Huantar.

The exterior of the homes are painted with political signs. It's not very attractive because the paint lasts so long. And then it happens again at the next election. The politicians pay the people to allow them to paint political slogans on their home. The slogans include a symbol so the people who can't read will know who to vote for!

It was a bit of a long ride back to Huaraz, but I managed to sleep on the bus for a lot of the two hour trip. We arrived back downtown at just after 7:00pm to learn what people in Huaraz do on a Saturday evening. They go out! The downtown streets were so busy... all the shops were open and people were out and about.

Today, we have plans to meet up with Lara and Luca... the young couple we met on the bus. We're going to do a short hike up to a lookout over the city and go out for lunch.

A bit of a price drop on the popular Outland Firebowl Propane Campfire

And in Canada...

Nice price drop on this Corded Stick Vacuum


  1. There is definitely a lot to see in Peru. Even the trip by bus would have us worn out.
    Nice to meet up with other tourists.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the Culture.

    It's about time.

    1. Yes, there certainly is. We really need more time here, it looks like we will have to return again some other time to see more of the country.

      The bus trip was quite a ride, we have read where some people could have done without that ride though the mountain but we loved it, definitely not a ride for the faint of heart.

  2. I enjoyed this blog a lot! The pictures of the road, the scenery, the ruins....oh boy! Thank you for the joy of living vicariously through your blogs Kevin and Ruth! I know for sure, I will never get to these places!

    1. We are so happy that you enjoyed this post. The road and the scenery along it were amazing. The road was definitely not for the faint of heart though, very twisty, windy with vehicles passing on stretches that you would think aren't safe to pass on but it seems like all the drivers know what they are doing.

      The ruins very very interesting and very old even compared to many that we have seen in Mexico.


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