Pachacamar lies 25 miles away from Lima and is the site of ruins from Native American settlements. The site is considered a very important center for religion and contains a number of pyramids. Pachacamar when translated means he who animates the world.
Around 200 to 600 AD, at least 1 pyramid stood on the site. Then around 600 to 800 AD, the Huari Empire developed the site. Around 800 to 1450 AD, the Huari Empire collapsed and the site grew in size. During this period, many pyramids and structures were built. When the Incan Empire again expanded the site it became the Incan administrative center and a religious shrine. During this time the Mamacuna and the Pyramid of the Sun were built
Pachacamar is one site where you should hire a guide so you can understand the history of the ruins some of which are half standing and covered in sand. If you walk through on your own, nothing is clearly labeled so you will not get a sense of what you are looking at nor of the history of the place. The guides are only a few dollars, and they take you for an hour long walk about the site.
The best part of the journey was standing on top of the Pyramid of the Sun and taking in the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. I imagine this would look even more spectacular at sunset. Our guide told us a Peruvian legend of how the Island on the Horizon came into being. If I remember it goes something like this. A nobleman fell in love with a woman who refused to get married. He disguised himself as a beggar and hid in a tree. The woman stopped under the tree and a fruit suddenly from the tree. She picked it up and ate it and later became pregnant. After she gave birth her father wanted to know who the father of the baby was. He gathered all the men in town to see the child. The child ignored everyone except the nobleman dressed as a beggar. The woman felt ashamed that a beggar may be the father so she picked up her child and raced towards the sea. The nobleman raced after them, removing the beggar disguise. He did not reach them in time. The woman jumped with her child into the ocean and they became the large island seen near the horizon.
At the end of the tour you see the newly excavated and reconstructed ruins of the Mamcuna or Templo de la Luna. It is surrounded by a garden and there are many birds flying around. It was here that the Mamcuna (or holy women) who took a vow of chastity, stayed, and learned how to serve.
All in all the site was worthwhile, especially with a guide to explain what you were seeing. After the tour I went back for a half an hour to again see the views of the Pacific ocean that I loved.