Toro Muerto Petroglyphs: Pre-Hispanic lithic art in the desert
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Toro Muerto Petroglyphs: Pre-Hispanic lithic art in the desert

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Toro Muerto Petroglyphs: Pre-Hispanic lithic art in the desert

Located in the Arequipa province of Castilla, very close to the Majes River and in an arid environment, is Toro Muerto, considered one of the largest examples of rock art in the world.


Listed worldwide as one of the sites with the largest amount of rock art on the planet, the Toro Muerto petroglyphs contain around 2,600 blocks engraved in low relief with geometric, zoomorphic and atropomorphic images.


The age of these engravings is estimated to be between 800 and 1500 years. Today, the more than 5 square kilometers of surface where these rocks are found continue to be investigated, since it is believed that there could be more.


The appearance of this discovery from the pre-Hispanic era was known in 1951 and in the works you can see the use of different artistic techniques, such as hitting, scratching, rubbing, engraving or chipping.


It is estimated that there are about 5 thousand rocks, known as volcanic tufos, with engravings of zoomorphic, anthropomorphic and geometric figures possibly carved between the years 500 AD. C. and 1,300 AD. C. using striking, scratching, rubbing, chipping, and percussion etching techniques.


A true gem of pre-Hispanic lithic art in the middle of the desert.


What to do at the Toro Muerto Petroglyphs?

Appreciate the magnificent lithic art. You will be able to see large stones carved with low-relief representations of different figures, which had an important religious, spiritual and sociocultural value for the ancient inhabitants of this place.


Get to know the Jurassic Park of Querullpa. 11 kilometers from the petroglyphs is this park, where in 2002 dinosaur footprints and fish fossils were found. It has life-size representations of dinosaurs built in fiberglass.


Enjoy the Majes Valley. Beautiful views of a landscape of snow-capped mountains, green mountains and the Majes River as the protagonists. In the waters of this river you can practice canoeing.


Visit wine cellars. On the banks of the Majes River you can visit different wine and pisco wineries, where it is possible to do tastings and purchase the products they produce.


Delight in the best local cuisine. Shrimp are the main star of the delicious dishes you will find in the area. In Corire there are some places where they prepare exquisite shrimp chupes.


How to get to the Toro Muerto Petroglyphs?

To go by car you will have to travel a winding and desert road - 1S - in the direction of Corire, a town located about 176 kilometers northwest of Arequipa. The petroglyphs are located less than 3 kilometers from Corire. The journey takes approximately two and a half hours.


If you don't have a car or want to go another way, you can also do so. For this you must take a bus from the Arequipa Land Terminal that goes to Corire and, once there, you can take a taxi to the petroglyphs. Another option is to look for a tour at one of the tourism agencies that are around the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.



Schedule. The petroglyphs can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entry with ticket. Admission to the archaeological complex costs 3 Peruvian soles.

Approximate time of the visit. The tour can take approximately two to three hours.

Best time to go. Because it is usually a very hot place, it is recommended to go on this excursion in the morning or afternoon, that is, avoid the intense midday sun.

What to bring? It is advisable that you bring a cap or hat, sunscreen and water. Also, wear comfortable clothing and trekking shoes to make your walk more comfortable.

Keep in mind the shrimp ban. Between the months of January and March, shrimp fishing is prohibited, so you will not find dishes with this product at that time.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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