Batán Grande & Chota

sights / Historic

Batán Grande & Chota information

Túcume , Peru
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About halfway from Chiclayo to Chongoyape a minor road on your left leads to the Sicán ruins of Batán Grande . This is a major archaeological site where about 50 pyramids have been identified and several burials have been excavated. With the urging of Dr Walter Alva, among others, the site was transformed into the Santuario Histórico Bosque de Pomac , but there is no tourist infrastructure.

The protected reserve lies within one of the largest dry tropical forests in the world and hosts more than 50 species of birds; healthy stands of algarrobo (carob tree) offer beautiful shade along the way. Combis to Batán Grande leave from Chiclayo’s Terminal de Epsel (S5), but it is best to go on an organized tour.

One of the best ways to visit this area is on horseback from Rancho Santana in Pacora, about 45km northeast of Chiclayo. Readers rave about their experiences riding typical Peruvian Paso horses at this rustic, animal-packed Swiss-owned ranch, which also has a simple but spacious bungalow with hammocks and super-sized bathroom; fresh milk and simple meals are whipped up if needed or guests may use the kitchen facilities. The owners are highly knowledgeable of Lambayeque cultures and will pick you up in Chiclayo for half-day to three-day cabalgatas (horse rides) through the Pomac Forest, Batán Grande and the pyramids at Túcume. The owners care for their horses exceptionally well and can make even the most inexperienced rider feel comfortable. The tours are a great value at S45 for a half-day to S360 for three days.

A rough but scenic road climbs east from Chongoyape into the Andes until it reaches Chota (at an altitude of around 2400m), a 170km journey that takes about eight hours. Two or three buses a day from Chiclayo travel there, from where a daily bus makes the rough journey via Bambamarca and Hualgayoc to Cajamarca (five hours).