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Marcahuamachuco, Peru - Immense and Intriguing Ruins of a Forgotten City

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Don't Tell Anyone About Marcahuamachuco

Covering an area of 5 kilometers by 1/2 kilometer (3 miles by 1/3 mile), this city was huge by ancient standards.

Marcahuamachuco, Peru
Marcahuamachuco, Peru

People living near Marcahuamachuco call it the Machu Picchu of Northern Peru mountains.

Well, yes, we've heard those claims about other places, specifically about Kuelap.

Unlike Kuelap and Machu Picchu, the monumental remains at Marcahuamachuco remain a mystery. Who built them and why?

Dating the site shows that it was already in ruins when the Incas appeared on the scene.

Another question arises - why so few visitors to this accessible and impressive archaelogical site?

Perhaps one reason could be the altitude. Located only 4 hours from Trujillo (7 hours by bus) and just 3 kilometers from the city of Huamachuco, Marcahamachuco is high - nearly 12,000 feet up and sitting on the top of a mountain range. The air is thin and breathing is a chore for those not acclimatized yet to the altitude.

On the other hand Cusco, probably the most visited tourist town is nearly as high and folks like you and I are willing to endure it.

Another reason that Marcahuamachuco receives very small number of foreign tourists is just that it is relatively unknown and not promoted very much. However, lately that has been changing and the locals hope that it will provide revenue in the form of a lot more tourists in the future.

An article in the Peruvian newspaper website La Republica reported on this very intriguing site including a video:

Here's more drone's eye views of Huamachuco and the nearby site of Marcahuamachuco. If you just want to see the archaeological scenes, they start at 2:36.

This is definitely a destination in Peru that you won't want to miss. If you are visiting Trujillo with its various archeaological sites like Chan Chan or if you are hitting the beach, sun and waves in Huanchaco, put this down in your agenda as a big added attraction.

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