Huaca Cao Viejo


Culture Fail… Sorry

God bless the Latino culture but punctuality and dependability is not one of their strengths. A couple  of weeks ago, I had planned to go see the Huacas del luna y sol. Before we went, some of the chicos from work asked if we had seen the sights around Trujillo yet and we told them that we were planning on it. They said they would like to go so we decided to delay our plans a week so that they could go with us.

Of course, when the time came – they where no where to be seen so Alessandra and I took of to see Chan Chan instead. The following week, I had plans to go with some friends from church to Huaca de Cao Viejo. Once again – when time came, no one was to be seen or heard from. Instead of spending another Saturday in the house, I decided to strike out on my own and finally go the Huacas del Sol y Luna by myself.

After getting to the Plaza de Armas (where all the tour offices are) I was approached by a women offering tours but the tours to the Huacas del Sol y Luna had already left. I decided to check a few other places to see if I could find one that hadnt left. After going to a few more places, I gave up and admitted defeat. Today was not going to be the day I got to see the Huacas del Sol Y Luna either. I decided instead to book a tour to Huaca Cao Viejo that left a few hours later.

With a few hours to kill, I headed first to replace my pair of ‘authentic’ Oakley sunglasses. Afterwards, I took a seat in the plaza de armas to wait out the time until the tour started.

New Friends

As I sat down, a few girls about my age – dressed in white scrubs walked by and sat down a few meters from me. At the same time, an older gentleman walked up to them offering to sell them gum because he ‘couldn’t work because he wasn’t from around here but wanted to return home.’ They politely declined which ushered him onto his next client, me. He approached as started immediately into his pitch. I nodded my head as he explained. After explaining, he stopped mid-sentence and asked if I spoke any Spanish to which I (in Spanish) told him that I did not. It was his turn to nod in acknowledgement as he turned in search of his next customer.

The two girls that had walked by previously looked at me in amazement. They said something to the effect of “You speak Spanish don’t you?” I was caught, so I laughed and told them I did. With in seconds,  I had made 2 new friends who wanted to take pictures with the Spanish speaking Gringo in Trujillo. They asked a chico nearby to snap picture of us all together.

After they had left, the chico came back and I made my 3rd friend for the day. He was about 17 and from a small village in the big city visiting some family.

Then the time came for the tour and I headed back towards the office. I was a little early. There I made my 4th friend. The girl who had sold me my ticket. Yeah, we are Facebook friends now.

When the time came she lead me over the office where they all the different tour shops send their clients. This central office coordinates the tours and the others only take a commission. There, I made my 5th friend for the day.  It was the lady who had first approached me in the morning. She gave me grief and explained that since she was the coordinator she can always give me much lower prices than the rest.

Huaca Cao Viejo


At last I was on my way to Huaca Cao Viejo in the Huaca del Brujo complex.

Its about an 1.5 hour drive north the complex. When we got there, we where the only ones there. While Huaca Cao Viejo has been known for some time, it was only in 2006 that the queen was discovered and the huaca became a major find with the funding to match.

The Huacas are Temples from the Culture Mochic from around 100-800 AD. Under all that dirt lies a pyramid of ancient brick. They would literally build new temples on top of the old ones when a new ruler took hold. The purpose of this was so that they could rule standing on what their ancestors had built.

A few days before I got there, National Geographic had brought a crew of a few hundred people out to film a segment. This temple (along with others in the mochik culture)2012-03-03_17-57-51_332 have been called the Temple of Doom. In the picture – you can faintly see images of people painted on the wall in this picture. 2012-03-03_18-30-23_788

After a battle, the captors would be led naked to a priest here. He would slit their throats in front of everyone and a priestess would catch their blood in a cup and present it to the queen for offering to the god of the mountains. The captors where then quartered and the bones where stripped of meat. The bones where then burried in the temple under painting of the Mountain God dancing. Pretty messed up right? With that in mind, take a look at some of the other pictures and see if you can fill in the rest of the story.




Meet the Queen. She was in her early 20’s when she died. (Probably in child birth).


This is where she was found. Men and Women where equally powerful in this culture (which sounded really weird to the Spaniards when they got here. The th other holes next to her contained “volunteers” to assist her transition into the spirit world. That included a couple of kids and a man in his 20’s. (not her husband.)


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