Visit the remote desert to uncover the remains of a pre-Columbian civilization and learn about their beliefs in the museum.

Pachacamac is an archeological site that contains vestiges of temples and other complexes from human settlements that predate the Inca Empire. In addition to the many temples, a cemetery and a colorful fresco are among the highlights. A nearby museum dedicated to the site details the many buildings and how the Incas preserved them after their arrival.

See the Pucllana Temple, which dates back to the 4th century. It is a ceremonial complex devoted to several gods of pre-Columbian civilizations. Make your way to the complex’s citadel to see its preserved walls and windows.

Capture photos of the shrine to the sun god that stands on the main square facing the sea. Marvel at the large rectangular structure of Recinto de Mamacones, which may have been a school. It is well preserved and has many doors and windows.

Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the area, with sandy desert terrain in every direction. At least 17 temples, which have truncated roofs rather than a pointed peak, have been excavated. See the bones and cloth of eerie mummified remains of the cemetery.

Head south to reach the coast, where you can tour the site’s museum and learn about the features, significance and history of the ruins. See collections of pre-Columbian textiles, ceramics, wood and metal handicrafts.

The site’s name comes from Pacha Kamaq, which means “Creator of the World” in the Quechua language. When the Inca arrived, they incorporated the deity into their culture as a lesser god to their own Viracocha.

There is a fee to enter the site’s museum, with discounts for students and kids. A guided tour comes at an additional price.

Pachacamac is beside the Lurín River, 28 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Lima. Plenty of operators run tours taking visitors to and from the ruins as part of package deals. The journey should take around 1 hour each way.