The trip to Cumbe Mayo, starting from the city of Cajamarca, takes about 45 minutes, in fact just about twenty kilometres. But on a wide winding pebble road.
When you visit the site, the first thing you see is this incredible alignment of rocks. An amazing composition of volcanic rocks cut by the giants.
We arrive at the site along with some organized tours from Cajamarca. This is actually a good thing, as on the site, on that day, there is no local guide to show us around.
This is strange, because at the entrance there are a number of buildings that should not be more than 3 to 5 years old. They were initially planned to be a welcome office, a souvenir shop and a market. Now however, the painting, is already falling apart. The buildings are empty. Just another example of public money not very well spent I would say.
As we are a little lost, we ask the security officer. There is always a security officer on site ! How does the entrance to the site work ? Where do we have to pay ? No worries, just at the corner, where you go down to Cumbe Mayo, there is a person that sells the tickets.
We ask the tour leader of the organised group if we can join in order to benefit from his explanations. No problem.
We start our visit by searching figures and symbols
The tour begins with a tour of the “organs” of stone. We see the first petroglyphs carved in stone.
In the middle of these stone giants, who are called “Friars” or “Brothers or monks” of stone, we begin to see shapes and the accompanying guide encourages us to have an overflowing imagination. Ohh the beautiful elephant, ohh the beautiful horse, look the big lizard and so on. I think he smoked.
At the foot of this rock formation, petroglyphs. What they represent? We do not know.
On different places throughout the site, there are ladies dressed in traditional clothing, waiting for some tourist who would like to carry homa a souvenir. They sell local fabrics or medicinal plants or roots served as herbal teas.
The walk between these giant stones is very impressive and invites you to contemplation. Right Maxime?
The impressive aqueduct of 3 millennia
We finally arrive at the Cumbe Mayo aqueduct.
This is one of the oldest hydraulic systems in South America. Is at least 3,000 year old and was made by the Cajamarca culture.
This fascinating construction was done using tools made of obsidian stone. This is a dark volcanic stone that is extremely hard.
This aqueduct carried water from the mountains to the city of Cajamarca. It is used in particular to channel the water and control its flow.
An amazing work considering the high age it has. We pass in front of some more petroglyphs. Still no explanation, what are they? Plans, nature drawings ? Who can explain its meaning ?
Near this channel our guide shows us a large rock which is presented to us as a ceremonial stone. Further proof that in this culture they also performed the cult of water.
We follow the course of the canal or aqueduct of a few hundred meters. Some curves or angles in order to re-establish the flow of water. And always, always the petroglyphs.
Cumbe Mayo, a place to visit
The visit to Cumbe Mayo is worth it. For the impressive landscape with its stone giants and also for the aqueduct, older even than those made by Romans in Europe.
If you make this visit in the morning, you still have plenty of time to visit other things in the afternoon around Cajamarca, in the North of Peru.