The Chincha civilisation was dominant between 900 and 1450 A.D. They were magnificent traders, sailors and road builders. The level of development they attained is demonstrated by the buildings that survive to this day: the Huaca La Centinela, a series of adobe pyramids with rectangular bases characterised by their high mud walls, and the sacred funeral mounds of Tambo de Mora. Both archaeological areas are located very close to the sea.
The Chincha were conquered by the Incas, who recognised their sailing and trading experience, above all in terms of the valued spondylus mollusc (a type of oyster). The area also holds some remains of Inca architecture and there is an exhibition hall displaying pottery and other objects.
Continuing to the south-east and taking the Los Libertadores highway, which enters the central mountains, travellers come upon the Tambo Colorado, a structure believed to have been the residence of the Inca or an authority that represented him in the area. The archaeological area consists of a large trapezoidal plaza with platforms, bordered by large walls and next to a hillside.
Inside, one can find a series of structures, types of living accommodation separated by trapezoidal windows, some of which have walls that still bear traces of red, yellow and white paint. One of the large structures has trapezoidal windows and niches, characteristic of Inca architecture, but built with adobe. There is also an area known as the Acllahuasi or Temple of the Virgins, which is also present in other places where the Inca culture developed. For more information, an exhibition hall with objects discovered during archaeological digs is open to visitors.
In Paracas, visitors can travel by boat to the Ballestas Islands, where one of the enigmas of the area can be seen: the large figure of the Candelabra, drawn on one of the slopes of the arid Ica hills.
After visiting the islands, the traditional tour leads to the remains of the necropolis built by the Paracas civilisation (200 B.C. - 600 A.D.), whose textile art still amazes the entire world.
Location: 235 km (146 miles) south of Lima (approximately 3 hours).
Average temperature: 24°C (75°F)
Season: the region can be visited all year round; the climate is surprisingly sunny and calm.