Tambo Colorado, Peru
Tambo Colorado is an archeological site set some 22 miles (35 km) from Pisco. Built by the Inca, Tambo Colorado is one of the best-preserved sites along the coast of Peru.
Tambo Colorado is also known as Pukawasi (“red house”) and Puka Tampu (“red resting place”)—names that hint at the red color of the site’s adobe walls. The original walls were painted with horizontal rows of red, white, and yellow. Favorable environmental conditions helped preserve much of this paintwork.
The site consists of a central trapezoidal plaza surrounded by large rectangular structures. The site’s architecture incorporates elements from the Inca imperial style, as well as aspects from the local Ica and Chincha cultures. There is a wide platform along the main plaza known as an Ushnu—this functioned as a throne for the Inca ruler.
By the 16th century, the Incas had created an extensive empire. As their holdings expanded, they built administrative centers in newly conquered areas. It’s believed that the Inca used Tambo Colorado as an administrative and ceremonial center. Tambo Colorado was likely used as a way to integrate the conquered Ica and Chincha cultures into the empire.
Tambo Colorado is a great place to get up-close with Inca archeology. There is also a small onsite museum where travelers can learn more about the site and Inca culture.