The Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto
The petroglyphs of Toro Muerto are about two and a half hours’; drive from Arequipa in the direction of Lima and lie between 400 and 800 m above sea level. The town can also be reached by road from the Colca Valley. Toro Muerto is a charming and mystical place in the middle of the high desert, named after the herds of cattle that died here in the past on their way from the mountains to the coast due to lack of water. Here you will find a slope of scattered white volcanic boulders showing stylized animal and human representations worked in stone. Archaeologists have documented more than 5000 such petroglyphs, which are distributed over several square kilometres of the high desert. They seem to date back to the Huari and Chuquibamba periods and their drawings show a wide variety of themes from different areas of life. It is the picture book of the Wari.
How to get to Toro Muerto
The place of the petroglyphs of Toro Muerto is very difficult to reach by public bus. From Arequipa we first drive to Corire and have a short break there in one of the restaurants. Afterwards we drive with you to the starting point below the slope with the petroglyphs.
What you have to pay attention
Toro Muerto is as already described in the middle of the Peruvian high desert and the area has no sun protection. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent with you, as there are always mosquitoes on the way despite the heat.
Around 7 o’clock in the morning we leave Arequipa in our private tourist bus. After 3 hours drive to the west an asphalted road leads through the impressive desert zone with a view of the surrounding volcanoes of Arequipa: El Misti, El Chachani, El Ampato and Coropuna – After 170 km we reach the valley of Corire – Majes valley (600 m), beautiful ride along the fertile rice valley and then we take a dirt road on the slopes of dry hills on the left side of the Majes river, where the petroglyphs of Toromuerto are located – Before we go on a hike through a volcanic rock zone over an area of about 5 km2, we recommend to take water, sunscreen, insect repellent and a headgear, because the sun can easily reach 32°C here.
– The visit begins with the remains of the probably violent eruptions of the surrounding volcanoes Coropuna and Chachani.
– The area consists of carved rocks scattered over the hot desert and there are more than a thousand rocks of all sizes.
– The shapes are coarse but striking, carved with a variety of different representations.
– The shapes are coarse but striking, with a variety of different representations.
– The shapes are very different from each other. Some archaeological remains have been directly associated with the images dating from 1000 to 1500 years ago.
– Some shapes are largely attributed to the Wari culture, although they were probably added to the rule of the region in later Chuquibambas and Inca periods.
– The engravings include images of humans, aliens, snakes, llamas, deer, stags, parrots, sun discs and simple and very rare geometric motifs.
– Some of the figures seem to dance, others look like space travelers with large round helmets.
– Obvious potential for the author Eric von Daniken alien considerations.
– The exploration of this dry area takes about 2 hours, but everything depends on how active each participant is, because finding all the figures takes up to more than a day.
We will discuss this day tour with you in detail, so that the time management corresponds exactly to your wishes.
We will then (around 13. 00 h) take you to Corire for lunch (food and drinks are not included in the service when you visit the restaurant). Then it continues through the valley to find some remaining graves of ancient civilizations (1500 years old).
– The trip also includes a short hike and visiting the traces of dinosaurs (Plintosaurio, Diplodocus and Giganotosaurus), located between Corire and Aplao (700 m), the place offers a magnificent view of the valley and geological faults in the surrounding area.
– The petrified paths of the dinosaurs on the hills are evidence that 150 million years ago ancient and great knowledge about these prehistoric animals lived in the zone before the earth underwent great surface changes.
In the late afternoon (about 16 o’clock) we will drive you back to Arequipa for about 3 hours and take you to the drop-off point agreed with us at your hotel or in the city centre.
The return to Arequipa can also take place later, as the departure from Toro Muerto depends on how long you want to spend hiking through the petroglyphs.