Fortaleza de Paramonga
Traveling north through Barranca and the nearby town of Pativilca, you’ll find the Fortaleza de Paramonga (Panamericana Km 210, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$1.50), a fascinating introduction to the Chimú empire.
The massive adobe fortress, which may have had both religious and military functions, is composed of seven defensive walls constructed on a hill next to the highway. It is still possible to see remnants of the murals admired by Hernando Pizarro when he passed by the fortress in 1533, less than half a century after an invading Inca army overran the fort in its conquest of the Chimú empire.
The top of the yellow fortress offers panoramic views of the surrounding sugarcane fields. The on-site museum is worth a visit.
Getting to Fortaleza de Paramonga
The fort will become visible after passing a hill about four kilometers north of the Huaraz turnoff on the Panamericana, or seven kilometers north of Barranca. If traveling from Barranca, go to the north end of town and take a colectivo or combi to travel four kilometers north to the village of Pativilca, where you can either walk the remaining three kilometers or take a taxi for US$2.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition