The Chavin initially started as small farming communities that herded llamas and hunted. The main economic activities were focused on hunting, fishing, and agriculture. They created methods of irrigation to further facilitate farming and produce more crops more easily. However, as Chavin de Huantar, their major city, developed, their economy was developed as well. As the Chavin religion spread, people increasingly came to the temple in Chavin de Huantar (pictured above). When they arrived, they brought gifts for the priests and collected Chavin goods and ideas that they took with them to other parts of the region.
The Chavin people established vast trading networks across the Andes region as their religion spread and influenced more people. The herding of llamas was essential to this part of the Chavin economy. Llamas allowed for goods to be traded more easily because they could carry heavy loads of goods across the region.
As trade became increasingly important in the Chavin economy, people specialized in skills that created goods that were easily traded. The Chavin people were excellent stone carvers, potters, bead makers, weavers, etc. Jobs within the central temple included the making of Chavin religious artwork that was spread throughout the region.