PERU TRAVEL PLANNER
The North Tours
Los Cities of Northern
Peru 6 days
LOST CITIES OF
NORTHERN PERU 6 DAYS 5 NIGHTS
Route by the Pan-American
Beginning with a focus on some of the earliest and most dramatic
archaeology of Northern Peru, we wend our way from Lima up the Pacific desert
coast, to Caral, a candidate for "first urban center of the Americas", then make
a detour across the high Andes and down into the Upper Amazon basin, to visit
the mighty and still awe-inspiring complex of Chavín de Huantar. We then return
to the coast to visit the glorious cities and temples of the later Moche and
Chimú civilizations, and glimpse the vestiges of an opulent Spanish colonial era
in the modern city of Trujillo. Our tour ends in Chiclayo, with visits to Sipán,
where the most sumptuous tomb of the Americas was discovered in 1987, and the
Royal Tombs of Sipán museum, where these artifacts are displayed. We return to
Lima by air.
Note: We require minimum two passengers traveling together If single
traveler ask for the supplement.
Please note that is high recommended overnight in Lima the night previous to the
tour beginning, this is in order to avoid flight delays
Please contact us
for more information and for pricing.
BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY - 2 PEOPLE
First Class 4****
Htl in Huaraz
Htl in Trujillo
Htl in Chiclayo
||6 Days and 5
||Daily departures from May to October
||According the below itinerary
||Not included, available upon request
DAY 1 LIMA, CARAL, CHAVÍN: A JOURNEY TO ANCIENT CITIES
We set off early by private vehicle from Lima, heading north up the
Pan-American Highway. After about 2 ½ hours, our first major stop is
Caral, once an important center of the ancient cultures of the Norte
Chico, the remains of whose rock-and-earth stepped-pyramids lie
scattered across this desert region. Caral is the perfect place to begin
a tour of early Peruvian civilizations, since archaeological evidence
suggests that this extremely old religious and residential complex was
the cradle of Andean civilization, perhaps the oldest urban center of
the Americas, establishing patterns of monumental construction and
religious worship that persisted for millennia. Here around 2,600 BC,
while the ancient Egyptians were beginning to construct their pyramids,
early Peruvians established a less hierarchical society, one based on
marine resources, that apparently thrived peacefully on trade and a now
We continue a short way north and then turn inland, climbing into the
Andes up a sinuous and dramatic paved highway that takes us across a
high pass and into the famous Callejón de Huaylas, the valley of the
Santa river, and home to Peru´s highest snow-capped peaks.
Continuing east, we cross the next range, cresting the Continental
Divide, and descending into the Marañon/Amazon river drainage on our way
to Chavín de Huantar, the next stop on our journey through Peru´s
ancient past. We will spend the next two nights at the selected
accommodation. (Box lunch)
DAY 2 CHAVÍN DE HUANTAR TO HUARAZ: FROM HALLUCINOGENIC LABYRINTH TO HIGH
This morning we explore the intriguing remains of a mysterious, powerful
and astonishing civilization. Chavín is known to archaeologists as the
wellspring of the "Early Horizon" period, dating from around 800 BC.
These were the first Andean people to spread their cultural and
religious influence far and wide, all the way to the coast, and as
distant as about 300Km/200 miles south of where Lima stands today. Their
center here at Chavín de Huantar straddled trans-Andean trade routes,
and drew pilgrims to a great temple, where esoteric rituals were
practiced under the influence of powerful hallucinogens. Here we see the
subterranean labyrinth which once boomed with the sound of water rushing
through hidden channels, and where a great stela (the Lanzón) carved
with ferocious mythical creatures and mysterious symbols still stands in
its central chamber.
After lunch we return to the Callejón de Huaylas and head north to
Huaráz, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, in the shadow of mighty
Huascarán, Peru´s highest mountain. We overnight in Huaraz. (B, L)
DAY 3 HUARÁZ, SECHÍN, TRUJILLO: DESCENT TO SECHÍN ALTO AND THE
SOURCES OF CHAVÍN, AND ON TO A SPANISH COLONIAL CITY
We take another scenic plunge from Andes to Pacific coast, and reach the
site of Sechín Alto, the site of a coastal civilization which pre-dated
Chavín, and was probably its cultural ancestor. Here an early Peruvian
civilization built a vast enclosure ringed with great monoliths carved
with gruesome scenes of battle, mutilation and death. Scholars argue
about whether these were literal representations, or symbolic depictions
of these people´s ritual lives, but most agree that the people of Sechín
Alto were the predecessors of the highland Chavín culture.
Sechín Bajo, an early part of this site dating from a previous period --
perhaps as far back as 3,500 BC -- vies with Caral for the title of "first
urban settlement of the Americas".
After lunch we continue northward up the Pan-American highway to
Trujillo. This city, founded in 1534 on the orders of Francisco Pizarro,
maintains a colonial atmosphere, with its spacious main square, and
marvelous colonial-period adobe buildings in the coastal colonial style,
featuring huge barred windows and massive wooden doorways. Tomorrow we
will get a close-up look at its fine colonial architecture.
We will spend the next two nights at the selected accommodation, a
majestic hotel in the heart of Trujillo´s historic center. (B, Box lunch)
DAY 4 TRUJILLO: THE COLONIAL CITY, THE GREAT ADOBE PYRAMIDS OF HUACA
DE LA LUNA AND HUACA DEL SOL, THE PICTURESQUE BEACH RESORT OF HUANCHACO,
AND THE PRE-INCA CITY OF CHAN CHAN.
We begin a full day of touring and exploration around this fascinating
area. Touring the historic center of Trujillo, a city whose heart still
pulses with colonial splendor, we visit the immense main square and the
spacious mansions built by Spanish and Creole gentry during the 17th and
After our city visit we drive a short way from Trujillo, to visit the
Huaca de la Luna, and the Huaca del Sol, two huge flat-topped pyramids
built by the Moche culture between 0 and 600A.D. The Huaca de la Luna is
an extraordinary demonstration of what patient long-term archaeology can
achieve. Here, at a site that has been well known and frequently looted
for centuries, excavations have revealed layer upon layer of ancient
construction, uncovering wall after wall of colorful friezes that were
intentionally buried by the Moche, and had not seen the light of day for
one-and-a-half thousand years. Bloodthirsty fanged deities and exotic
gods in the form of spiders, snakes felines, octopi and other marine
creatures rub shoulders with lines of dancers, warriors and naked
prisoners, and scenes of ritual combat. One wall is covered with such a
multitude of mystifying symbols that it has been labeled simply "The
Complicated Theme" -- until some future archaeologist can offer a
plausible explanation of them. A site museum to display material
unearthed here is under construction, and when opened it will be part of
We continue on to the nearby beach resort of Huanchaco, where we have a
chance to try the superb seafood of Trujillo at a restaurant overlooking
the Pacific Ocean. Here fishermen still paddle out to sea, kneeling on
caballitos de totora -- little one-man reed rafts which have been used
for millennia to collect the abundant bounty of the Pacific Ocean.
After lunch we return to Trujillo, stopping at the great Chimú center of
Chan Chan, the largest adobe city ever built. It was in fact an elite
settlement, a series of nine enormous palaces belonging to successive
rulers of the Chimú realm. At its height the population here may have
reached 50,000 people. Many of them were artists and craftspeople, who
made the sumptuous goldwork, textiles and pottery for which the Chimú
were famous. At the Tschudi palace enclosure we enter a labyrinthine
series of courtyards lined with clay friezes of fish and ocean birds,
and walled in places with an open meshwork adobe building style believed
to represent fishing nets. We visit inner patios, residences,
administrative buildings, temples, platforms and storehouses, and a huge
reservoir where "sunken gardens" may have produced specialized crops for
the Chimu nobility.
We overnight in Trujillo. (B, L)
DAY 5 TRUJILLO TO CHICLAYO: THE MOCHE TEMPLE OF EL BRUJO, PERUVIAN
PASO HORSES, AND AN ELEGANT NORTH-COAST LUNCH.
We set off early, heading north by road up the Pan-American highway and
into the adjacent Chicama river valley, then making a short detour to
the Pacific shore to visit the archaeological site of El Brujo. This
site, featured in National Geographic magazine after the sensational
discovery here of the mummy of a tattooed priestess, buried with a
variety of ceremonial and military accoutrements. An extraordinary array
of multicolored murals dating from seven or more phases of construction
depicts both scenes from the daily lives of the Moche, and gory rituals
Continuing northward, we make a stop at a hacienda in Paiján to enjoy a
delicious lunch, along with a colorful display of the skilled
horsemanship of local Peruvian paso horses and their riders, who combine
their art with the dance and music of the northern marinera. This is an
optional activity (cost not included), which we highly recommend.
We reach Chiclayo in the afternoon, with time to relax, and perhaps
enjoy the pool or soak up the atmosphere of this bustling tropical city.
DAY 6 CHICLAYO, THEN LIMA: THE “CRACKED PYRAMID”, TÚCUME, AND THE
ROYAL TOMBS OF SIPÁN.
In the morning we set off for the mud-brick pyramid that made world
headlines in 1987 with one of the most sensational finds of recent
archaeology. Known as the Huaca Rajada -- the "Cracked Pyramid", because
of the deep gulley’s weathered into its flanks -- this eroded adobe
platform yielded fabulous ancient treasures from a series of deeply
buried tombs of the pre-Inca Moche culture, who lived in the valleys of
Peru's north coast 1,500 years ago. To get there we drive east up the
broad, flat Reque valley past fields of sugarcane studded with
varicolored pastel foothills of the great Andean chain, then arriving at
the modern village of Sipán. Here we see the tombs themselves, with
superb reconstructions of the burials of priests and chieftains,
together with their sacrificed guards and companions.
A highly informative site museum tells the story of this extraordinary
civilization, who created some of the finest pottery, jewelry and gold
working of the Americas -- while also staging macabre costumed rituals
of combat, sacrifice and propitiation as they sought to mediate a never
ending struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos.
We continue on to Lambayeque, where we visit the Royal Tombs of Sipán
Museum. This modern building, representing the style of a Moche pyramid,
was built to house the stunning and priceless objects unearthed at Sipán.
(A single looted object from the tombs was intercepted at an auction in
the U.S. -- carrying a reserve price of $1.6 million!)
Here we see the incredible array of precious symbols and images, stones
and shell necklaces, ear-plugs and headdresses that were worn and
displayed at Moche ceremonies, and also learn what is known of their
meaning. This astonishing visit ends at an "animated waxworks" exhibit
of the lords and retinue of the Moche court, allowing us to glimpse and
imagine the world of an unfamiliar but dazzling civilization that
thrived here at a time when Europe was sliding into the Dark Ages after
the fall of the Roman Empire.
After these sensational experiences we return to Chiclayo for a
delicious lunch of Peru's northern-style cuisine at a top local
restaurant. We then drive onward to an oasis of calm at Tucumé, today's
final destination. Here we see the chronological sequence that followed
the fall of the Moche, at a site where their descendants, the Sicán
culture, continued to amass millions of adobe bricks for the building of
mighty pyramids -- including the longest of its kind, at more than 700m
-- but were now influenced by highland tribes, and began to abandon
their old ways. The history of this scenic site -- extensively
investigated by the famed Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl -- leads us
all the way to the Incas, who conquered the region not long before they,
in turn, were conquered by the Spanish. We can climb to a viewing
platform with superb views of the surrounding pyramids and the dry
woodland habitat of the Leche valley. We can also visit the small,
intimate and low-tech site museum, to enjoy the excellent collection of
excavated objects, dioramas of daily life, and models of the pyramids.
We say farewell to the warm, dry valleys of Northern Peru and set off
for the airport in the late afternoon for our evening flight to Lima (Airfare
not included). (B, L)
1-Please note that on Mondays the Museum of Royal Tombs of Sipan and the
Museum of Sican are closed.
Instead we may offer the Bruning Museum.
2-The city tour in Trujillo suggested program Monday through Friday
between 9 am and 2 pm.
Outside these hours that may be widescreen or alternative views.
3-Just like to note that on Mondays the Cajamarca city tour is not
operational. Only can be offer as panoramic.
END OF THE SERVICES
Huaca de la Luna, and the Huaca del sol
Chan Chan Riuns
The Cracked Piramide
The Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum
INCLUDES: All hotel and lodge accommodations based on double or single
occupancy. All scheduled transportation. All transfers. All scheduled excursions
with English-speaking guide services. All entrance fees. Meals as specified in
the itinerary. B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner.
IMPORTANT: For a better service, the company informs you that it has
autonomy to change the Hotels mentioned in the itinerary with another one of
similar category if therefore sees it by advisable taking into account
justifiable availability of spaces or other reasons, if this it is the case you
will be notified ahead of time.
NOT INCLUDED IN THE FEE
International and domestic airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees,
excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight
cancellations, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks,
insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls, radio calls or messages,
reconfirmation of international flights and items of personal nature.