Good for: A fun adventure
- Chan Chan
- site museum free with Chan Chan ticket, guides US$6.00 full/concession US$3.30/US$1.70
Lonely Planet review for Chan Chan
Built around AD 1300 and covering 28 sq km (17 sq mi), Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world. At the height of the Chimu Empire, it housed an estimated 60,000 inhabitants and contained a vast wealth of gold, silver and ceramics. The wealth remained undisturbed after the city was conquered by the Incas, but once the Spaniards hit the stage the looting began.
Within a few decades, little but gold dust remained. Although Chan Chan must have once been a dazzling sight, El Niño floods and heavy rainfall have severely eroded the mud walls. Today, the most impressive aspect of the site is its sheer size.
The Chimu capital consisted of nine major subcities, also called royal compounds. Each contained a royal burial mound filled with vast quantities of funerary offerings, including dozens of sacrificed young women and chambers full of ceramics, weavings and jewelry. The Tschudi complex, named after a Swiss naturalist, is the only section of Chan Chan that's partially restored. It's possible that other areas will open in the future, but until they are properly policed and signed, you run the risk of being mugged if you visit them.
The Chan Chan ticket is also valid for the La Huaca Esmeralda and La Huaca Arco Iris sites.