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Chavín de Huantar: get to know this important archaeological complex of Ancash

Home / Travel Blog / Chavín de Huantar: get to know this important archaeological complex of Ancash

If you are thinking of visiting the department of Áncash soon and want to discover more about its history, then you cannot miss visiting the wonderful archaeological complex of Chavín de Huántar. It is a space with a unique architecture that belonged to the Chavín culture and was located at the foot of the Andes Mountains.


How to get to Chavín de Huántar?

To visit the archaeological complex of Chavín de Huántar, located in the province of Huari, the ideal is to reach the city of Huaraz since from there the journey is two hours by car. To get from cities like Lima to Huaraz, you can travel by bus with companies like Rápido Vip. The price of the ticket starts at S/40 soles. The average travel time is 8 hours. Traveling by bus to Huaraz is a very convenient option because you can take advantage of the journey to rest, read a book, watch movies or listen to your favorite music.


Get to know the most interesting things about Chavín de Huántar, a pre-Inca architectural jewel

Visiting Áncash is definitely a rewarding experience since it has beautiful landscapes of places such as Laguna de Llanganuco, Nevado Huascarán, Laguna 69, the Hatun Machay Stone Forest, Yungay, Carhuaz, among other tourist destinations. But the experience does not stop there, in this department you can discover the legacy of ancient cultures such as Chavín in impressive archaeological complexes such as Chavín de Huántar. Keep reading and learn more about this site!



In 1919, Julio C. Tello discovered this ceremonial, administrative and religious center, and identified that it belonged to a culture of great value for Peru. At that time very little was known about the archaeological remains of the Peruvian culture, so it was thought that it was one of the oldest civilizations it had. However, years later, older vestiges were discovered but the idea remained that Chavín de Huántar was the first culture that united the Peruvian Andes. Later, in 1985, due to its historical and cultural importance, it was declared a World Heritage Site.



The archaeological complex of Chavín de Huántar began to be built in the year 1200 BC and consists of various structures such as the Old Temple, the Castle, the Tello Pyramid, the sunken circular Plaza, the sunken quadrangular Plaza, the Right Arm and the left. It is important to highlight that the Old Temple consisted of three pyramids and the Chavín oracle was located there. This oracle can be seen in the Monolithic Lanzón located in the underground galleries of the temple. The figures that can be seen in this piece are snakes and felines.


Nail Heads

In the architecture of this ceremonial center, pieces such as the so-called clava heads stand out. These are sculptures made of stone that resemble human heads, except that they have grotesque features such as fangs, bulging eyes and snake figures. Researchers point out that there were approximately 50 nail heads, which were in the upper part of the walls of the New Temple. It is believed that its function was to protect this place from strangers. Currently, only one nail head can be seen in its original position, the others are guarded in another area of the site. Without a doubt, this sculpture is characteristic of the Chavín culture and evokes the power of this civilization.


Monolithic Lanzón and Raimondi Stele

On the other hand, the Monolithic Lanzón and the Raimondi Stela are other pieces of great value that were found in this archaeological complex. The first sculpture is located in the underground gallery of the Old Temple. It is a stone sculpture four and a half meters high that displays an anthropomorphic character that has claws, snake-shaped hair and feline fangs. Researchers consider this piece as a symbol of the religion of the Chavín culture. In the case of the Raimondi Stela, it is currently located in the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru. It is a polished granite sculpture that bears that name because it was discovered by the Italian explorer Antonio Raimondi in the mid-19th century. The piece personifies the Chavín oracle, an anthropomorphic being who holds a sacred staff in each hand, and who has feline characteristics.



  • The archaeological complex of Chavín de Huántar is located at 3185 meters above sea level, in a valley where the Mosna and Huacheqsa rivers meet.
  • The New Temple is called the set of the following structures: the Castle, the Tello Pyramid, the Right Arm and the Left Arm.
  • The archaeological complex of Chavín de Huántar has a museum that you can visit.
  • Entry costs: adults S/15 soles, senior students S/7 soles, school students S/4 soles and have a special discount for people over 60 years of age, people with disabilities, those who are in voluntary military service or teachers.
  • The climate in Huari, where Chavín de Huántar is located, is cold. Although the sun usually comes out in the mornings. So include warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, trekking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen in your suitcase.
  • On your visit to Áncash you should try its delicious typical dishes such as spicy guinea pig, fried trout, Pecan broth, Pachamanca, Llunca Cashki (wheat soup), and much more.
  • During your time in Huaraz, be sure to visit its main tourist places, you will love them!

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