Peru

Chavín de Huántar

"Birthplace of South American culture”

In this guide

If you have an interest in Andean civilisation, Chavín de Huántar is vastly more significant than the famed Machu Picchu, but with a fraction of the crowds. Situated in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, some 160 miles north of Lima and within easy reach of the trekking hub of Huaraz, the site was once the most important pilgrimage destination in the Andes. Due to their extreme age, with portions dating as far back as 1,000 BC, the ruins don't look like much from the outside. But get inside -- and underground -- and you'll discover an eerie world of subterranean passageways, sunken courtyards and carvings that help explain the origins and rituals of the original Andean civilisation.

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  • Lima

    Lima

    Peru's unfairly overlooked capital
    Peru's sprawling capital city is often overlooked by time-poor visitors en route to more photogenic locations, but dwell a while and you'll find a complex city with onionskin layers of history and excellent museums, a proud contemporary culture, genuinely diverse neighbourhoods, and a world-leading food scene...Read more
  • Cusco

    Cusco

    Capital of the Inca
    Seat of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the epicentre for Peru's tourism industry, drawing millions of visitors en route to Machu Picchu and adventures in the Sacred Valley...Read more
  • Sacred Valley

    Sacred Valley

    Peru's spiritual heartland
    As the Urubamba River descends from Cusco, eventually connecting with tributaries of the mighty Amazon, it has carved out a sweep of valley whose beauty defies imagination...Read more
  • Machu Picchu

    Machu Picchu

    Peru's archaeological rock star
    If you're coming to Peru you'll almost certainly visit the ruins that have come to define the entire country...Read more
  • Arequipa

    Arequipa

    Peru's elegant White City
    Peru's second city is an elegant, refined counterweight to Lima's unbridled freneticism...Read more
  • Colca Canyon

    Colca Canyon

    Flight of the condor
    Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon but a fraction of the width, the Colca Canyon cuts a dramatic scar across Peru's southern Andes...Read more
  • Lake Titicaca

    Lake Titicaca

    Shimmering heart of the Andean universe
    A tranquil expanse of turquoise water seemingly at the roof of the world, Lake Titicaca was revered as the birthplace of Peru's original civilisations and the centre of the indigenous cosmos...Read more
  • Puerto Maldonado

    Puerto Maldonado

    Accessible Amazonian adventures
    Puerto Maldonado, in Peru's southern Amazon, is the most accessible entrance to the jungle...Read more
  • Iquitos

    Iquitos

    The jungle city
    Famous for being accessible only by air or boat, Iquitos lies in Peru's distant north-eastern Amazon with a distinct frontier vibe to match...Read more
  • Choquequirao

    Choquequirao

    Machu Picchu without the crowds (for now)
    Machu Picchu 2...Read more
  • Trujillo

    Northern historical heartlands
    ...Read more
  • Chiclayo

    ...Read more
  • Chachapoyas & Kuelap

    ...Read more
  • Huaraz

    ...Read more
  • Arica

    ...Read more
  • Manú National Park

    ...Read more
  • Choquechaca

    ...Read more

Things to do in Chavín de Huántar

Our recommended experiences and activities

See the "birthplace of South American culture"
Chavín de Huántar

See the "birthplace of South American culture"

Chavín de Huántar, in Peru's central highlands, dates back to around 1,000 BC and was once one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Andean civilisation.

Where to go in Peru

Our recommended places

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