Batán Grande (Sicán Archaeological Complex)
Poking out from a carpet of carob trees, forming the largest dryland forest on South America’s west coast, are the eroded tops of brown pyramids—all that remain of Sicán tombs once packed with gold. Archaeologists say over 90% of Peruvian gold in private collections was looted from what is now the Batán Grande archaeological complex.
It was within this sprawling river valley that the Sicán civilization flourished from 750 to 1300 AD.xa0Start at the smallxa0 interpretive center and museum to learn about the history of the people and their forest, and check out the viewing platform, grantingxa0spectacular views above the groves of carob trees (a rarity in the world) and the tops of 32 pyramids. As you walk the grounds, notice the hand-dug pits from hundreds of looters over the years.xa0
Gain a deeper appreciation of the ancient Sicán people by adding complementary attractions nearby. Most tours combine visits to the Sicán National Museum and the Sicán archeological site in Pómac Forest Historical Sanctuary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Batán Grande is an ideal spot for history and archaeology buffs.
- Bring water for snacks, hydration, sun protection, and mosquito repellent.
- The site is not wheelchair-friendly.
How to Get There
Batán Grande is located about 35 miles (57 kilometers) north of Chiclayo. Catch a colectivo from Terminal de Epsel at the corner of Av. Oriente and Nicolás de Piérola. You can also visit by horseback through the nearby Santana Ranch. It is advised to come with a guided tour and pair with a visit to Sicán National Museum.
When to Get There
Open daily year-round, come in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Chiclayo’s dry season runs from May to September, while the rainy season runs from December to March. Come to the area in June for a festival honoring San Pedro and San Pablo, the patron saints of fishermen and farmers; and in August when locals dance, throw fireworks, and hike to a highland village to mark Cruz de Chalpon.
Sicán National Museum
After the fall of the Moche Empire circa 700 AD, the inhabitants of Lambayeque formed a culture now known as Sicán. Exceptionally skilled in metallurgy as well as a unique form of ceramics, the Sicán metal workers are credited with bringing the Bronze Age to northern Peru. The ceramics, metal work, and tombs they left behind are intriguingly displayed at this museum, which is the perfect complement toxa0 Batán Grande.
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- Parque Principal (Plaza de Armas)
- Municipal Palace
- Witch's Market (Mercado de las Brujas)
- Pómac Forest Historic Sanctuary
- Paseo de las Musas
- Chiclayo Cathedral (Iglesia Santa Maria)
- Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum
- Brüning National Archaeological Museum
- Sicán National Museum
- Túcume (Valley of the Pyramids)
- Huaca Rajada (Sipán)