At 92 kilometres North of the Historical Centre of Lima, 82 of which are going through the Pan American Highway and 10 through a properly paved detour, you will find a bucolic space surrounded by ample green areas and agricultural and livestock businesses: it is the gentle Province of Huaral.
Huaral grew up near the Chancay River. It is divided into 12 Districts that extend up to the Sierra Highlands through a dirt road. During the trip, travellers experience the senses offered by the diverse ecological floors and appreciate an interesting archaeological richness.
The region was densely populated since the pre-Hispanic period. It was founded by the Spanish conquistadors in the year 1551, with the creation of San Juan Bautista de Guaral.
Over the years, the native enclave of Guaral turned into the Town of Huaral, and at the same time into a commercial centre for the hamlets which converged upon it. It obtained the category of Province in the year 1976.
Little before that date it already projected itself as a very important agricultural and livestock centre.
Huaral is the land of the famous Huando oranges. Moreover, it provides travellers with a varied gastronomy offer. You can taste delicious typical dishes such as the escabeche, the carapulcra, the adobo, the dry rice, the fried crackling, the parboiled, and nice wines from the zone.
Enjoy a warm weather on the Coast and the cold in the Andean foothills.
ATTRACTIONS OF HUARAL
HACIENDA HOUSE HUANDO
It keeps a big old house dating back to the Colonial period. It later became a prestigious agricultural cooperative.
Rúpac Marca Kullpi
It is an important legacy of the Culture of the Avatillos (900 - 1460 A.C.). It is also known as the Machu Picchu of Lima. It consists on a citadel with solid vaulted roofs. Some of the edifices reach heights of up to 10 metres and are located at the edge of the abyss.
It has 51 buildings of which 28 remain intact.
The main construction is the Castle of Marca Kullpi. It is surrounded by mythical mausoleums and a group of very well preserved chullpas (funerary round buildings). Ornaments on the walls and tubular chimneys can be appreciated inside its rectangular buildings. The Main Plaza welcomes us with its impressive stone portals.
In the Town of Pampas, District of Atavillos Bajos, Huaral, at 3400 metres above sea level. 65 kilometres East of the Capital of the Province and 157 kilometres away from Lima.
How to get there:
A dirt road ascending up to the City of Cerro de Pasco (Province of Pasco) starts at Huaral. Going along that road you arrive to the nice Hamlet of La Florida, from where you take a path, approximately 14 kilometres long, bound to the imposing Archaeological site.
It was also built by the legendary Atavillos people. It is an important urban Centre rising from the heights. The magnificent Palace of the Chief stands out. It is at the summit of a hill, zealously watching its domains. If travellers watch carefully, they will notice that its stonewalls are surrounded by cultivation terraces (andenes) and funerary chullpas.
Very close to the previous site, on the upper side of the Peasant Community of San Juan.
Archaeological compound of stone that seems to hang from the mountains. It is located in the Peasant Community of Huayopampa, Eastward from Huaral.
HOT SPRING THERMAL WATERS
Hot Spring Thermal baths of unusual medical importance. It is recommended for patients with rheumatic illnesses and nervous affections. It is 80 kilometres away from Huaral, in the Peasant Community of Santa Catalina (Santa Cruz de Andamarca).
San José de Baños
In the Peasant Community of San José de Baños (Atavillos Alto).
THE TOWN OF CHANCAY
It is a nice town of farmers, ranchers and fishermen. A great part of the chickens and eggs consumed within the larger Lima are produced in the zone. The Port of Chancay is located adjacent to the city. Factories caning fish and processing fish meal stand there.
The Spaniard Luis Flores founded the City the 16th of November of 1562 with the name of Villa de Arnedo, according to the instructions given by Viceroy Conde de Nieva. Later on, some notable Spaniards and the Jesuits, which administered a few haciendas dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane and grapevine, established themselves in the zone.
It was named "Most Loyal Town", along with Huacho and Huaura, thanks to the invaluable services provided to the cause of Independence by its inhabitants.
Its Main Plaza is ample, beautiful and welcoming. There is an interesting field museum, besides restaurants offering typical dishes, facing it.
The Castle of Chancay rises beside the ocean. It is a pleasant castle resembling a medieval design turned into a comfortable hotel.
THE MUNICIPAL MUSEUM
It is located in the Main Plaza, occupying the former seat of the Municipal Palace. It was created in 1991 and exhibits over 1200 pottery pieces, textiles and mummies of the Chancay Culture. You can also appreciate parts of the Chilean battleship Covadonga, sunk in the Port during the so-called Pacific War that took place between Peru and Chile.
López de Zúñiga 142.
THE CHANCAY CULTURE
This is the name by which the Culture that developed in the Valley of Chancay during the Late Intermediate Period (900 - 1475 .C.) is known. It limited with the Huaura Culture to the North and with the Ichma Culture to the South (The Chillón, Rímac and Lurín Valleys).
The large Settlements of the Chancay Culture (Tambo Blanco, Lauri, Pasamayo, Tronconal, Pisquillo Chico and Lumbra, amongst others) concentrated a population of artisans dedicated to large scale manufacturing. Bright and sumptuous ceramics and textiles of an unmatchable artistic level emerged from their hands.
The pottery works of Chancay style have a rough surface, and they are decorated in black colour over a white background. The most frequent shapes are those of pitchers with wide throats on which countenances, commonly called chinas, as well as small figures representing men and women with their arms up, called cuchimilcos, have been cast. The production of ceramics was on a massive scale, for the use of casts for serial production was widespread.
Regarding the textile production of the Chancay Culture, it reached a high level of development. Their technical and aesthetical achievements are unparalleled. There are outstanding laces with needlework, tapestries, kelims (grooved tapestries) and gauze.
The Burials of Chancay show common characteristics. They are rectangular chambers dug in the ground at more than three metres deep. They contained a funerary bundle or bale accompanied by an average of 45 vessels as an offering, besides farming and sewing tools.
THE CASTLE OF CHANCAY
It is at the kilometre 87 of the North Pan American Highway. It is a strange castle of medieval style, built between the years 1924 and 1942 over a 10000 square metre area on a rocky cliff. It is also known as the Castle of Mother-of-Pearl locally, for her owner planned the construction as the Villa Madreperla (Mother-of-Pearl) Hotel.
It has 10 lounges, 100 rooms, 12 terraces and four fortified towers, some dark caves, flights of steps, and mysterious subterranean passageways leading to the ocean.
It keeps an interesting collection of samples of mummies, textiles and ceramics of the notable Chancay Culture.
WAYS OF ACCESS AND COMMUNICATION
The Pan American Highway, as a main road, goes through the Province between the kilometres 54 and 79; the Chancay - Huaral - Muruhuasi Bridge Highway is an additional road interconnecting the different Districts located in the Andean zone; the road linking Huaral and Aucallama, which joins the Pan American Highway at the kilometre 59.3; auxiliary dirt roads connecting the diverse annexes and Peasant Communities existing in the area of Huaral (There is a combined service of passengers and cargo transportation through them); the longitudinal highway of Huaral - Acos - Vichaycocha - Huayllay - Cerro de Pasco.