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'Northern Peru Explorer'

What makes this trip special?

Cajamarca

Cajamarca

Cajamarca

Road trip

Road trip

Cajamarca to Leymebama

Leymebamba Museum

Leymebamba Museum

Leymebamba Museum

holds 219 of the 800 year old mummies from the Laguna de los Condores archaeological site, and a large collection of Incan and pre-Incan artefacts from the region

World's tallest waterfall - nearly

World's tallest waterfall - nearly

Gocta Falls

at 771m one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, ‘discovered’ in 2002. Locals had been reluctant to defy the curse of the falls’ resident mermaid on whomsoever should expose her secret home

Castle in the air

Castle in the air

Kuelap

Older than Machu Picchu, very impressive yet relatively onknown, Kuelap perches on mountain side surrounded by cloud forest. The site's 400 round houses and 20 metre-high walls are some of the best pre-Columbian ruins in South America.

Mountains of gold

Mountains of gold

The Lord of Sipan

Royal tombs found deep within a pyramid held prodigious quantities of golden regalia and stunning artefacts with the mortal remains of the 'Lord of Sipan'. A new and very fine museum presents a magnificent display.

Spectacled Bear protection

Spectacled Bear protection

Chaparri Lodge and Reserve

An area of dry forest beneath a holy mountain protects the Spectacled Bear and an endangered guan. A masterclass in sustainability and conservation. One of our favourite lodges in the whole of South America.

The Lady of Cao

The Lady of Cao

A Moche Priestess

A heavily-tattooed mummy, wrapped in many layers of textiles, with ceremonial weapons and quantities of jewellery. She was discovered in 2006 in a pyramid complex beside the ocean, with interior walls decorated with coloured geometric reliefs.

Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon

Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon

Moche civilisation

Two massive adobe pyramids mark the Moche's desert capital. Hidden in the desert for 1500 years, brightly coloured geometric friezes lead into temple altar sites whose functions included human sacrifice.

Largest ancient city in the Americas

Largest ancient city in the Americas

Chan Chan

A city built entirely of adobe covering a huge 20 sq km area, the home of the Chimu whose kingdom stretched from Guyaquil nearly to Lima until conquered by the Incas. Ten citadels of boldly-carved walls with labyrinths of passages were lost to the desert sands. A small but impressive fraction has so far been uncovered and opened to visitors. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Itinerary map for Peru 'Northern Peru Explorer' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Lima
  • 2 Cajamarca
  • 3 Cajamarca
  • 4 Leymebamba
  • 5 Chachapoyas
  • 6 Chachapoyas
  • 7 Chachapoyas
  • 8 Chachapoyas
  • 9 Chiclayo
  • 10 Chiclayo
  • 11 Chaparri Reserve
  • 12 Trujillo
  • 13 Trujillo
  • 14 Lima
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Designer's notes

Lots of fascinating, less well-known, places make this a great second trip to Peru, or for travellers who like to step away from the more usual routes. Cajamarca-where the great Inca Atahualpa was captured by a handful of Spanish conquistadors, the fearsome citadel of Kuelap above valleys rich in pre-Incan sites, and the pyramids of the desert kingdoms of the coast. Stride out to Gocta Falls (2.5 times the height of the Shard) and relax in nature at Chaparri. Lots of travelling. Only practicable between May and September.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Northern Peru Explorer'

DAY 1

Lima

You are met on arrival at Lima airport after your international flight, and transferred to the nearby airport hotel.

DAY 2
B

Cajamarca

You are collected from your hotel for the morning flight to Cajamarca in the northern Andes, where you are met on arrival and driven to your hotel for a 2 night stay. When you have settled in, your local guide shows you this atmospheric Andean city–a northern Cusco. Cajamarca holds a key place in the history of South America as the setting for the capture of the great Incan emperor Atahualpa by the Spanish conquistadors, which led to the collapse of the Incan empire. In a bargain for his life, Atahualpa filled a ‘ransom room’ three times over: once with gold and twice with silver. Evening free for a stroll and to sample one of the city's restaurants.

DAY 3
B

Just outside Cajamarca you visit the pre-Incan necropolis of Ventanillas de Otuzco, where an auspicious cliff face was carved with hundreds of small window-like funerary niches. You continue to the impressive site of Cumbe Mayo, with great views of the city below, where an aqueduct system 9km long was elegantly crafted in the rock 1200 years before the arrival of the Incas to bring water from the wet Atlantic watershed to the drier slopes on the Pacific side of the Andes. 3000 year old rock carvings from the ancient Chavin era testify to this region’s long history. Back in Cajamarca there should be time to visit the daily market. If your energy levels permit, you might tackle the steps on Santa Apolonia hill to the ‘Inca Seat’, from where the Inca addressed his subjects. There is a nice view of the city below.

DAY 4
B

The road to Leymebamba

An early start for the varied 9 hour journey to Leymebamba on one of Peru's most scenic routes. The road rises through farmland dotted with dairy cattle, into the dry puno grasslands of the Andes, and then descends through lush cloud forest into the Marañon Canyon, one of the world’s deepest. The road twists, turns, lurches up and down and throws its traveller from side to side, but the wilderness and sheer drama will keep you mesmerised. After crossing the Rio Marañon you commence a dramatic ascent to 3000m (the highest point of the journey). Drawing closer to your night’s resting place, the road drops down once more into gentle farmland beside rivers that tumble gently along valley bottoms and arrives at Leymebamba. You visit the superb Leymebamba Museum which holds 219 of the 800 year old mummies from the Laguna de los Condores site, and a large collection of Incan and pre-Incan artefacts from the region.

DAY 5
BL

Kuelap Citadel

This morning you drive with your guide to the great mountain-top citadel of Kuelap, from the pre-Incan Chachapoya empire. You explore its very impressive ruins, and learn about what is beginning to be revealed about the people who built it. It is a dramatic and beautiful site, a massive fortress with panoramic views of Andean peaks and canyons in every direction. You continue to your lodge in the area for 3 nights.

DAY 6
BL

Karaji Sarcophagi and Quiotcta Cave

This morning you are driven with your guide to the village of Cruzpata. Following a rough trail, you walk a short distance until the path turns inwards to the bottom of a rugged limestone cliff. Gazing upwards, you see a collection of six huddled figures perched on the cliff face seeming to survey the unfurling countryside. These mysterious sarcophagi are the final resting place of elite Chachapoya warriors and have been watching over the valley for 750 years. In the afternoon you explore Quiocta Caves, well off the beaten track, with huge stalactites and stalagmites. There is no electricity, so be sure to come armed with a torch.

DAY 7
BL

Gocta Falls

Today you have an early-ish start to hike (5 hours in total) to Gocta Falls, at 771m one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, ‘discovered’ in 2002. Locals had been reluctant to defy the curse of the falls’ resident mermaid on whomsoever should expose her secret home. A 5km trail leads through grassland and cloud forest to the first viewpoint to see the full height its two-tier cascade.

DAY 8
BL

Andes to the coast

After breakfast you are collected for the long journey to Chiclayo. Your route winds through the lovely Utcubamba canyon, to join a trans-Andean road across the continental divide and into one of the driest deserts on earth. Bearing south, you turn onto the Pan-American Highway and arrive in Chiclayo in the mid-afternoon, with time to explore the town or relax. Evening free for you to sample local specialities at one of the town's restaurants.

DAY 9
BLD

Lord of Sipan treasures and to Chaparri

A day of discovery as you learn about the Moche civilisation. Your guide escorts you to the 4000 year old Huaca Ventarron, the oldest adobe pyramid in the Americas, and to the nearby Huaca Rajada pyramid where the treasures of the Lord of Sipan were discovered. There is a small site museum. You then visit the superb Royal Tombs Museum in Lambayeque which holds the Lord of Sipan’s treasures. Housed in a modernist building that reflects the pyramid's multi-levelled, dark interior, the dazzling splendour of the collection will make you wonder that Sipan is not more widely recognised. Bedazzled by ancient gold, you are driven to Chaparri Reserve and the calm simplicity of Chaparri Lodge for 2 nights.

DAY 10
BLD

Chaparri Reserve

A free day to explore Chaparri Reserve, whose dry forests protect an important population of Spectacled Bear.

DAY 11
BL

El Brujo and Trujillo

A leisurely start this morning, before a journey south through the lush Jequeteque and Chicama valleys, first irrigated by the Moche civilisation who brought life to this desert. You may stop at the small Moche site at San Jose del Moro before arriving at the major El Brujo archaeological complex with its Moche polychrome reliefs and the museum of the magnificent ‘Lady of Cao’. Arriving in Trujillo in the afternoon, you have a little time to explore its atmospheric colonial centre as the evening approaches.

DAY 12
BL

This morning you visit the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna pyramids where wall after adobe wall of vivid friezes were hidden for over 1500 years. You visit Chan Chan, the largest adobe city ever built, the imperial capital of Chimu civilisation whose empire stretched 600 miles from Guayaquil in Ecuador to the Carabayllo Valley north of Lima. After a morning of dramatic archaeological sites, you stop for lunch at the simple fishing village of Huanchaco, which is famous for its reed boats–a colourful farewell to this amazing region. Then it is time to check-in at the airport for your late flight to Lima, where you stay the night.

DAY 13
B

Lima

You are collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and driven to the airport for your international flight home.

Guide prices for 'Northern Peru Explorer'

SEASONAL: can't be done in UK Winter Best: May-Sep inc

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid/upper range hotels 2 people sharing £3,135
Prices are per person and include:
  • All transport in Peru including domestic flights (Lima-Cajamarca/Trujillo-Lima in economy class)
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  • all excursions described (private basis)
  • all entry fees
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Northern Peru Explorer'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Northern Peru Explorer'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Northern Peru Explorer'

Day 1

Antigua Miraflores

Miraflores, Lima

A good value, characterful hotel situated in the quiet Miraflores neighbourhood of Lima between the ocean front and the park. Originally built in 1918 as a private mansion for a wealthy local family it has been renovated into a hotel and restaurant. It has a certain bygone charm with heavy antique furnishings, bric-a-brac and local artwork. All rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning, cable TV, free WiFi access and a safe deposit box.

Standard/traditional rooms have one queen or twin single beds.

 

Antigua Miraflores
Hotel exterior
Days 2 - 3

Costa del Sol, Cajamarca

Cajamarca

The Costa del Sol Cajamarca is a renovated  mansion, previously owned by the Santolaya family, a prominent and historic family in the city. The hotel is located in a prime location opposite the Plaza de Armas and next to the Cajamarca cathedral. The hotel has a total of 71 rooms ranging from Standard rooms to Deluxe suites, all are kitted out with TVs, a safe deposit box and wifi. The restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and an a la carte menu during the day. Hotel facilities include a swimming pool, gym, spa, casino and hair dresser.

Costa del Sol, Cajamarca
Junior Suite
Day 4

La Casona de Leymebamba

Leymebamba

Set in a wooden beamed traditional house just a short walk from the village's main square the Casona de Leymebamba is a basic option for those wishing to stay close to the centre of town. The functional bedrooms are set around a pretty flower filled courtyard garden which attracts hummingbirds, and all rooms have private bathrooms with hot water. The dining room where breakfast is served has an attractive view, and evening meals can be provided with prior notification. A laundry service and local excursions are offered at extra cost locally.

La Casona de Leymebamba
Days 5 - 7

Casa Hacienda Achamaqui

Chachapoyas

The hotel is located in a colonial style hacienda set in beautiful countryside, only 20 minutes from Chachapoyas town centre. The hotel has 21 rooms ranging from Traditional rooms to Junior suites set around a central patio garden. The restaurant serves a good breakfast buffet and a varied menu for lunch and dinner while on Sundays the hotel organises barbecues. Hotel facilities include a large outdoor swimming pool and an internet centre. It is 2.6km from San Antonio Private reserve and has an on-site birding trail, mountain views.

 

Casa Hacienda Achamaqui
Day 8

Costa del Sol Wyndham, Chiclayo

Chiclayo

Costa del Sol Wyndham Chiclayo is located in the heart of the city centre a short walk from Plaza de Armas. The central location means that there is limited outdoor space, but each of the 82 rooms and suites have cable T.V, A/C, safe, Wi-Fi, mini-bar and double-glazed windows. There is a small rooftop swimming/plunge-pool and terrace area with sun-loungers, gym, sauna and jacuzzi, massage room. The hotel's 'Paprika' restaurant specialises in local cuisine and there is also a bar, and 24hr business centre. The hotel is adjacent to the "Tutenkamun" casino.

Costa del Sol Wyndham, Chiclayo
Hotel exterior
Days 9 - 10

Chaparri Lodge

Lambayeque

Chaparri is an eco-lodge with simple yet charming facilities approx 75km inland from the city of Chiclayo (mostly unpaved). The adobe construction bedrooms have private bathrooms and solar heated showers. There is no mains electricity so you will need to pack a torch. It is owned and staffed by people from the community, it is a masterclass in sustainable tourism, the greenest lodge in Peru with the first reed bed water treatment facility, a solar powered fridge for cold beers but please note: very little English is spoken. This makes a delightful place to relax amid nature. You may like to rise at dawn, grab a coffee then sit down quitely by a small pool to watch the local hummingbirds come to drink and bathe. There are nature trails on the property of varying length, with a 8km hike for those who like to stretch their legs, there are good birdwatching opportunities and knowledgeable resident guides (Spanish speakers), horseriding or you can simply relax in a hammock and read a book amid peace and tranquility if you prefer. As well as Spectacled bear in the rescue cenre, White-tailed Deer and Sechuran Foxes can often be watched from the al fresco dining area while lunch is served. There is also a herpitarium for snake enthusiasts.

Chaparri Lodge
Lodge exterior
Day 11

Costa del Sol Wyndham Trujillo

Trujillo

This resort type property with 120 rooms all with Air conditioning, flat screen TVs and safety deposit boxes, is set around 2 impressive swimming pools amid manicured lawns. A nice, quiet haven on the outskirts of the city it is just 15 minutes from airport or a short taxi ride from downtown Trujillo. There is a restaurant, a gym and spa with dry sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and massage services. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

Costa del Sol Wyndham Trujillo
pool from balcony
Day 12

Casa Andina Select, Miraflores

Lima
rating

Average rating 4.3 (3 ratings)

A basic, but comfortable business style hotel, conveniently located in the fashionable district of Miraflores, close to numerous shops, restaurants and cafes.  All 145 rooms at the Casa Andina Select come equipped with Tv's, writing desks, soundproof windows, blackout curtains and private bathrooms. Other facilities in the hotel include a bar & restaurant, Spa, Gym & Sun terrace with jacuzzi and a business centre with computers for guests use.  Wi-Fi is also available in the hotel.

Casa Andina Select, Miraflores
Hotel exterior