Monday, August 8, 2011

The Village of Boro

It was more than one year ago that a friend told us of ancient ruins located high on a mountain not more than 40km from Chiclayo near a village named Boro. He said the locals referred to the ruins as “little Machu Picchu” and to his knowledge the site had never been formally explored. We visited the village and climbed the mountain yesterday.

There is no public transportation directly to or in Boro. The options are to contract a taxi or mototaxi in nearby Pomalca, or to board a combi going to Sipan and get off in the middle of nowhere and walk a mile on a dust choked trail. The village is long and narrow, built alongside the Cerro Boro (Boro Mountain).

On the north end of the village is Lagunas Boro; a pretty blue water lagoon that serves as a potable water source for Chiclayo. Fishing, swimming, littering, and even approaching the lagoon too closely is prohibited and enforced by a shotgun toting security guard.

The village has been in existence for 35 years with many of the original settlers coming from Cutervo in the Cajamarca region. It is not clear whether these people actually hold title to the land. It was just three months ago that electricity and street lights were installed. Despite the lagoon there is no municipal water. Townspeople use wells for water to wash with but not for consumption, claiming the water tastes of salt and is contaminated. As in most remote desert villages stomach parasites and general health are a problem.

According to Consuelo Rivera (right) who is the informal mayor there are 56 families living in Boro. All of them are poor. A mid-day meal is supposed to be cooked every day in the ‘comedor popular’ (community kitchen) for those in need, but often government donated food does not arrive for days at a time. When food is available each family takes a one week turn at cooking. Despite the Reque River being nearby, there isn’t much in the way of family farming. Most of the men work either at a sugar factory in Pomalca or in nearby fields cutting sugar cane. There is no park and, almost amazingly, no church – a sort of town hall serving as a place of worship. There is a three room school and a separate building for kinder which isn’t being used due to lack of desks and tables. A restroom for the school with well water was constructed in 2002.

Climbing Cerro Boro is strenuous and sometimes tricky but not dangerous. Labeling the ruins ‘little Machu Picchu’ is going too far but not by much. The remains of a Moche culture city extend for miles in all directions. Outlines of roads, houses, storage facilities and temples are clearly evident.

A feature I dubbed the ‘great wall of China’ extends for miles north and south. The walls are remarkably well preserved. Another surprise was the lack of looter activity. Ugly looter holes we’ve come to associate with most archeological sites are not apparent here. Consuelo said that tourists do not come here and she is not aware of any government exploration of the site. Our guide suggested that our photos may be the first ever taken of this site… an intriguing notion but likely not true.

There is really no reason to visit Boro…unless you like small towns with friendly people, or exploring the remains of a huge, once thriving city dating back about a thousand years.



  1. You seem to find the most amazing things. I hope to be able to visit all the spots you write about someday!

  2. Tom - nice little find there!
    Is there a name for these ruins? I would like to find more information on the web if that is possible(?)

    if there is no name I say we name them the Wisconsin Ruins in honor of the man who "re-discovered" them in 2011