Monday, January 21, 2019

Kon-Tiki Explorer - Salaverry, Peru

On the Maasdam's first stop in Peru, we encountered a taste of the coastal desert in the city of Salaverry. The day's tour began at the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon or Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna. Built by the Moche civilization in the first millennium, this temple is estimated to be the largest Pre-Columbian structure in the Americas.

Huaca del Sol is situated in the Moche river valley near the White Mountain, Cerro Blanco. Even though the area is mainly desert, the Moche civilization created an extensive network of canals to irrigate the region. Many of those canals are still in use today.

The temples were built over time by many different Moche communities. The additive building process resulted in distinct levels built on top of each other.

After the arrival of the Spanish in the early 17th century, the Moche River was diverted to flow past Huaca del Sol in order to facilitate the looting of gold artifacts and treasures from the site.

After visiting the temples the tour stopped in Trujillo, Peru's third largest city. Trujillo was one of the first cities founded by Spanish conquistadors and is named after the home city of Francisco Pizarro. Trujillo was also the first city in Peru to declare independence from Spain.

After spending some time in the city Amy headed to Chan Chan, the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America. Capital of the Chimor empire, this culture was the dominant force in this region for five hundred years until they were defeated an incorporated into the Inca Empire. Enclosed by large adobe brick walls, the interior of the city is covered with intricate carvings and patterns. UNESCO has also designated Chan Chan as the worlds largest mud city.

The day wrapped up with a trip to Huanchaco beach, a destination known for its killer surf breaks and possibly the birthplace of ceviche.

Another interesting site at Huanchaco beach are the caballitos de totora's, traditional fishing watercraft made from reeds. There is a debate as to whether or not these 3000-year-old vessels are the first form of surfing, but there is no question that they are wave riding vehicles!

Our next stop takes us to Peru's capital city, Lima!

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