Like the famous Atacama Desert in Chile (the country just south of Peru), Peru's coastal land is dry: very dry. Thanks to the rain shadow of the high Andes Mountains, it almost never rains here. When it does rain, though, it can really rain: torrents that wash away buildings and change features of the parched, mostly treeless land.
I left Chiclayo on a private tour to the Bosque de Pomoc, the nearby ruins of Huaca del Oro (Temple of Gold), and Túcume (also called Valley of the Pyramids). A private tour is nice here because it's a remote area, and also because this let me take as much time for photography as I wanted.
Bosque means forest. After a week on the dry coast of Peru, driving into a forest was quite a switch! At the center of the bosque is a huge ancient tree. Then we drove on to the ruined pyramids. Made of mud bricks, these formerly-grand structures were probably ruined by torrential rains at least as much as they were by the passage of time. (Túcume was founded some thousand years ago.)
Third party content: Peru is an interesting country to visit. If you have never been, be prepared for a bit of a culture shock. The common residencies do not have frivolous accessories in their homes; the bare necessities are all these people need. Items such as luxury bath accessories and other home accessories are not common to find. Nevertheless, Peru is a gorgeous country that is perfect to visit!
The Bosque de Pomoc visitor center is a pleasant place. This view from inside shows the entrance road and my tour guide's yellow car:
Driving through the Bosque de Pomoc is nice for the shade! But the highlight is the árbol milenario, a thousand-year-old tree in the middle of the forest. It doesn't just grow up; it grows out, spreading along the ground for five or ten meters in every direction. Here are two views of this giant tree:
The Bosque de Pomoc also has a mirador (viewing platform) where you can look over the forest and the Huaca del Oro in the distance. (Some of the "hills" in this forest aren't really hills. They're ruins -- eroded, covered by trees and sand. You can see some of that in these two views:
Visitors can't actually visit the Huaca del Oro. It's fragile, covered by a roof to try to stop any more rain damage:
On our way out, headed for Túcume:
Túcume was founded by the Sicán people around the year 1100 CE (AD). They ran the show until 1575, when the Chimu people invaded from the south. Not too long after, the Inca came in. (I didn't know much about pre-Inca Peru. My guide told me that many visitors don't. This part of Peru is a great place to find out about these cultures and others.) The site museum shows what these adobe (mud brick) Sicán temples looked like:
And two views now -- with modern-day Peru beyond:
(These photographs are Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)