The Lord of Sipan Royal Tombs | How to visit and explore
The undisturbed tombs of The Lord of Sipan were unearthed at Huaca Rajada, in Lambayeque, just north of Chiclayo. This site is said to be the greatest archaeological discovery in Peruvian history. On our journey through South America this was one place that we didn’t want to miss and is not that well known. In this post we’ll let you know where the sites are, how to get there and a little of what you’ll find inside. There are two sites in this region to explore, The Royal Tombs of The Lord of Sipan and Huaca Rajada archeological site, and we’ll help you get to both.
How did we get to Chiclayo to see The Lord of Sipan?
Firstly we headed to Chiclayo after spending a few days in Mancora to the north of the country. We took the bus from Mancora which took us direct to Chiclayo and the journey was around five hours at a cost of around S/60 to s/90 depending on the bus company and what type of seat you want. Some of the seats are more expensive as they have more recline options and TV monitors. The bus company we opted for was Transportes Chiclayo who had an office in the northern end of Mancora. In Peru, towns don’t have bus stations but have different independent offices and garages for each company so we spent some time one day in Manacora visiting most of them to get their prices and timetables. There were a few options to Chiclayo as this is the main route south so it just depends on what time you want to go and how comfy you want to be.
Where did we stay in Chiclayo?
Chiclayo isn’t a tourist town by any means so there aren’t the usual amount of hostels and hotels available as there would be in the more popular Peruvian towns and cities however we found a fairly decent one. We stayed at the Hotel Teatro Plaza and it was a pretty standard hotel with a good comfy bed and decent bathroom with a hot shower. It was quite central but Chiclayo is not a town that you tend to wander about in when its dark so you need to plan carefully how you’ll get out and about when night falls. There are taxis bobbing about all evening so as long as you ask how much the journey is going to be when you get in, then you should be ok for getting to wherever you need to be. We found taking a taxi to Mall Aventura in the evening was a good option as they had a food court and it was a pretty safe place to hang out.
The Royal Tombs museum of The Lord of Sipan
This museum is only a few kilometres away from Chiclayo in the town of Lambayeque. We had been advised that a collectivo was the best way to get to Lambayeque and we could get one for approx 4 soles. The best place to get the collectivo is from the building on the corner of San Jose and Jose E Lora y Lora. The collectivo will drop you off within sight of the museum and its easy to get a collectivo back to Chiclayo close to where you were dropped off. The journey takes about 20 mins each way.
This museum is amazing and contains the most important artefacts found at the nearby site of Huaca Rajada. The artefacts are set out on several floors and tell the story of The Lord of Sipan and the Moche people. It costs 15 soles to enter and there is a cloakroom where you can leave any large bags or backpacks you have. There is also the option to have a guide in your native language for an additional cost. We decided to explore on our own and that worked fine for us. The artefacts were stunning and displayed really well. Some of the exhibits had English translations so we could understand what we were looking at and for the other we just used the google translate app which worked fine.
Huaca Rajada archeological site of The Lord of Sipan
You can also access this site by collectivo however its from a different terminal than the one you visited for Lambayeque. This terminal is Ground Terminal Tepsa and is on Av. Bolognasi 540 and is about a 30 min walk from where the collectivo for the Royal Tombs museum will drop you off when you arrive back in Chiclayo. The journey to Sipan Village takes about 45 mins on a bumpy dusty track and drops you off at the end of the museum drive. To return to Chiclayo you just have to wait at the little shelter near to where you were dropped off and catch a collectivo back to Chiclayo. We waited no more than ten minutes and the journey each way cost approx 3 soles each.
We visited the museum first and paid 8 soles to access the site. The museum is similar to the one at Lambayeque but the majority of the artefacts are replicas. There is some great stuff still to see and its well worth a wander round. The displays are set our really well and some of the text is in English here also. After the museum you can head to the pyramid site where the untouched remains of The Lord of Sipan were found and they have created a replica tomb at the pyramid site. Unfortunately when we were there you were unable to walk up to the pyramid viewpoint as there had been some landslip but it was still an impressive site to visit. To get to the pyramid site you come back out to the main road from the museum and at the gate turn left.
We found it really interesting to find these fantastic archeological sites in Northern Peru and they are hardly visited compared to the more popular sites further south such as Machu Picchu. Both are easy to get to and can be done in a day which is what we did. The town of Chiclayo itself is not very exciting and can be a bit dangerous after dark but it has a nice central square and cathedral so definitely worth a visit.
Booking resources for your visit to Chiclayo
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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Laguna Llaca is a beautiful hike, It’s a little more difficult to get to as there’s no public transport and no tours but this adds to the attraction
Laguna Churup is a great day hike from Huaraz, the trail head can be reached by public transport. It’s within the national park so you will have the fees to pay but it still works out to be a cheap day out.