Peru - In the north of Peru, far away from the country's most famous attraction - Machu Picchu - can be found an amazing collection of pre-Columbian sites which are amongst some of the most fascinating and little-known in the entire Americas. For not only were these the lands of the Inca, they were also home to the Moche, the Chimu and the cloud warriors of Chachapoyas.
This astonishing odyssey into Peru's ancient past takes us high up into the Northern Highlands, where the awesome mountain fortress of Kuelap lies shrouded in myth. Travelling through an incredible variety of landscapes from coastal deserts to cloud forests and high Andean mountains, there'll be ample opportunities for mixing with the locals, (especially for departures which coincide with the the annual Raymillacta Festival in June) in the small highland town of Chachapoyas. In addition we'll explore the recently discovered cascades of the Gocta Falls - the third highest in the world! - adding to this unique and unforgettable adventure to the very heart of Peru's ancient legacy.
- Explore the stunning archaeological remains of the Moche, Chimu & Chachapoyans
- Visit the immense pre-Incan fortress of Kuelap
- Trek to the towering cascades of Gocta Falls
- See Cajarmaca, where Pizarro executed Atahualpa and changed world history forever
- Full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
- 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 8 dinners (typically in local restaurants where viable)
- Drinking water throughout
- All transport (minibuses and domestic flights)
- 13 nights' accommodation (10 nights in hotels and 3 in eco-lodges)
- All entrance fees, sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
ALL OUR SMALL GROUP TOURS HAVE NO LOCAL PAYMENTS, HIDDEN EXTRAS OR COMPULSORY SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS.
➕ Day 1: Tour starts in Lima
The tours starts in Lima, Peru's contrasting capital.
➕ Days 2-3: Lima - Trujillo
➕ Day 2: After a morning in Lima we fly to Trujillo. This northern city is a colonial gem and is also home to the cultural remains of the Chimu and Moche civilisations and the largest adobe pyramids in Peru. Day 3: In the morning we visit the huge Moche pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, before returning to Trujillo for lunch. This afternoon we explore the impressive Chimu ruins of Chan Chan.
➕ Day 4: Drive to Chaparri
Today we continue north towards the Chaparri Mountains and the dry forests of northern Peru to stay overnight in an eco-lodge in a private conservation area.
➕ Days 5-6: Chaparri - Chiclayo
➕ Day 5: Run by the local community, Chaparri is a natural paradise home to (amongst others) the Andean or spectacled bear (think Paddington Bear!), the guanaco and the Andean condor. Later we drive to Chiclayo. Day 6: From Chiclayo we'll visit the tomb and museum of the Lord of Sipan. The twin pyramid complex has unearthed some of the finest Moche artefacts ever discovered, considered by many to be amongst the best examples of pre-Columbian art ever found.
➕ Days 7-9: Chiclayo - Chachapoyas
➕ Day 7: A full day's drive takes us into the mountains to Chachapoyas, an important trading city that once lay at the crossroads between the coast and the jungle, providing an ideal base from which to explore this incredible cultural landscape. Day 8: In the morning we will travel to the funerary site of Karajia, before returning to Chachapoyas to further explore this charming town (or in June to witness the colourful Raymillacta Festival celebrated annually). Day 9: Today we drive and trek out to the majestic Gocta Falls, the third highest waterfall in the world (although this is a point of some debate at present). Only recently 'discovered', the falls cascade down through some 771 vertical metres.
➕ Day 10: Gocta Falls - Kuelap - Chillo
Kuelap is a spectacular pre-Incan fortress sitting on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley. In its heyday it was one the the most formidable pre-Columbian cities in the Americas and is a certain highlight of this trip.
➕ Day 11: Chillo - Revash - Leymebamba
Today we visit the enigmatic cliff-top mausoleums of Revash before heading to Leymebamba to see a stunning collection of some 200 mummies.
➕ Days 12-13: Leymebamba - Cajamarca
➕ Day 12: One of South America's most stunning drives takes us down to the beautiful colonial town of Cajamarca, most notorious as the place where Pizarro executed the Inca, Atahualpa. Day 13: The morning sees us travel to nearby Cumbe Mayo with its ancient aqueduct leaving the afternoon free to soak up Cajarmarca's many charms.
➕ Day 14: Fly to Lima where tour ends
A further morning in Cajamarca allows time for some final explorations before our afternoon flight (times subject to change) back to the 'City of Kings' today, where our journey ends.