This podcast covers Northern Peru, starting at Chiclayo I head out on a tour to the 1500 year old Moche ruins at Sipan. Following this, I head three hours down the coast to the town of Trujillo, where I visit the Chimu city of Chan Chan, the largest Adobe (mud) city in the World and around 1300AD home to 60,000 people.
Just outside Trujillo, and near to Chan Chan are the Huacas (sacred places) of the sun and moon – Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol. These structures are also Moche adobe pyramids from about 800AD, and Huaca del Sol is the largest single pre-Colombian structure in Peru – built from an estimated 140 million adobe bricks.
I finish the podcast in Huanchaco, 12km north of Trujillo. Huanchaco is a fishing town of about 12,000 inhabitants, that has now become well known thanks to three things – its reed fishing boats, its lovely beach and its fabulous surfing.
This short video shows some of the landscapes, beaches and archaeological sites of Northern Peru. The beginning of the video was filmed on the Piura – Chiclayo bus heading through the Sechura desert, before arriving in Trujillo and heading to the 1500 year old Huaca del Sol and Huaca de La Luna, two adobe temples built by the Moche and Chimu people around 500AD.
The Huaca del Sol (visible in the background during the landscape shot from high up) is the largest single pre-Colombian structure in Peru built from an estimated 140 million Adobe (mud) bricks.
Following this, I head to Pimentel beach, near Chiclayo, before heading three hours South to Huanchaco, a small fishing town and one of the best surfing destinations in Peru.
Thanks to Brian Eno and one of my favourite ever tracks – An Ascent – for providing the music. I know this infringes copyright, but to compensate, you can buy the MP3 here for $0.99.
I last visited Tikal 15 years ago, in 1993, and had a rather magical experience here. At that time, we climbed the highest temple, temple IV, in the middle of the night and witnessed the jungle spectacularly bursting into life at dawn. The sounds of the roaring howler monkeys have stayed with me ever since.
Unfortunately tourists are no longer allowed to enter the park before 6am, so we left El Remate at 5.30am arriving shortly after 6.
There are thousands of ancient structures at Tikal (some higher than 60 metres), and only a fraction have been excavated, still allowing visitors a bit of an Indiana Jones experience, although word has it that the ruins at El Mirador now surpass the splendor of Tikal.
Tikal was mysteriously abandoned around the 10th century, and popular theories now cite drought as one of the likeliest causes of its sudden demise.
In the last 15 years there have been inevitable changes at Tikal. Apart from the opening time, now there are wooden steps leading up all the temples, and the main pathways and temples are more manicured than before. My biggest disappointment with this visit was due to the presence of a generator near the park entrance which can be heard throughout the park. The generator obviously frightens a lot of the wildlife away (including the previously ubiquitous howler monkeys) and partially destroys the illusion of untouched jungle which I remember previously.