Chavín was one of the most important civilisations of the pre-Inca era. Its principal temple, located in the department of Áncash, was one of the main oracles in Peru. It was built in 1400 B.C. but was in decline by 500 B.C., during the so-called Formative period.
People came to this center to consult the oracle and to make offerings to the gods. Its supreme deity was represented by El Lanzón or Dios Wari, a giant, carved, lance-shaped monolith, almost 4 metres tall, reached by a series of narrow underground passages.
A visit to the complex includes a tour through some of its passages and plazas. The exterior walls are decorated with a series of stone heads: zoomorphic faces carved in stone that guard the temple. Other highlights of the complex include the Tello Pyramid, the Circular Plaza, the Rectangular Plaza, the North and South North Platforms, the New Temple and the Old Temple.
In the town of Chavín de Huantar, just a few minutes from the complex, the Chavín National Museum displays archaeological artifacts and important information.
The road is in poor condition, but the scenery is breathtaking. It crosses the Cordillera Blanca (White Range) and offers views of snowcapped mountains and lagoons along the way.
Location: Chavín de Huantar, Áncash. 3,141 masl (10,305 fasl).
Average temperature: 18° C or 64° F (maximum 18°C or 64°F, and minimum of 9°C or 48°F).
Season: Ideally between June and August, the period when it rains the lest.
Access by Land: 110 km (68 miles) south-east of Huaraz, approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes by bus.