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Best time to go: January to May, November to December
10 Nights | from £3,630pp
Holiday type: Tailor-made
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Day 1 London/Lima
Today you will take an overnight flight from the UK to Lima via Madrid.
Day 2 Lima
On arrival you will be met by a member of the A&K team and driven to your hotel where you'll have the rest of the day to relax.
Day 3 Lima/Trujillo
Today you'll enjoy an afternoon city tour of Lima beginning with the Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can wander around the Plaza Mayor, the official centre of the city and the original site on which Lima was founded. Afterwards, you'll visit the Larco Herrera Museum, an extensive private collection of pre-Inca ceramics that is probably the largest collection of its kind in the world. In the late afternoon you'll hop on a flight to Trujillo, located in the fertile Moche Valley. Inhabited since ancient times by fishermen and farmers, these territories belonged to one of the most famous ancient cultures of Peru - the Mochica - whose many impressive remains can still be found around Trujillo.
Day 4 Trujillo
You'll head on a morning visit to the Sun and Moon Pyramids today, an archaeological site consisting of enormous adobe constructions built by the Mochica culture. The Sun Pyramid is considered the largest adobe pyramid in Peru. You'll continue to the coast and enjoy a local lunch at Huanchaco Beach, famous for its caballitos de totora (small reed crafts used for fishing) that brave the Pacific waves on a daily basis. In the afternoon you'll visit Chan Chan, the capital of the Chimu culture and the largest adobe city in pre-Hispanic America.
Day 5 Trujillo /Chiclayo
This morning you'll drive to the city of Chiclayo, a region of successive pre-Hispanic cultures whose remains are only now being revealed to the world including the royal tombs of Sipan discovered in 1987. The richest pre-Hispanic burial discovered in the Americas, Sipan belonged to a young Mochica dignitary of the fourth century AD, whom they called the Lord of Sipan. In the afternoon you'll visit the Royal Tombs Museum which proudly and safely displays the magnificent jewels and many exquisite gold and ceramic artefacts recovered from the tomb.
Day 6 Chiclayo/ Chachapoyas
Today you'll be driven to Chachapoyas, stopping en route to view the adobe pyramid complex of Tucume. The beautiful journey crosses one of the planet's driest deserts, climbs the Andes, crosses the continental divide and descends to the Marañon River, a major Amazon tributary. From Bagua Grande the road ascends to Chachapoyas via the fabulous Utcubamba Canyon. This evening you will stay overnight overnight close to the River Utcubamba.
Day 7 Gocta Waterfall
Today you'll head to Cocachimba to start your hike or horse ride to Gocta Waterfall. Though known about for many years, the waterfall was only measured in 2006 and found to be the third highest in the world. Your trek continues along the side of a valley through sugar cane fields and into forest that is home to the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, mountain sloth and the magnificent cock-of-the-rock. With glimpses of the waterfall along the way, you'll arrive at the base of the highest fall after three hours - those brave enough may want to dip in the pool at the base.
Day 8 Kuelap
Today you'll set out on the two hour drive to Kuelap, the most important citadel of the Chachapoya culture and the largest ancient stone structure in South America. With towering walls and hundreds of roundhouses capped by the cloud forest, Kuelap with its narrow entrances, ceremonial buildings and rock reliefs soars 3,000m above sea level. Inside there are many roundhouses typical of Chachapoya design and two obvious religious places: the Castillo which is a platform overlooking the second entrance and the unusual Tintero, which appears like an inverted cone. The outer walls are impressive but what makes the visit so special is the feeling of mystery in a place that once was lost and is still not fully understood. Much of the site is covered by trees, laden with bromeliads orchids and mosses and home to many birds.
Day 9 Chachapoyas/Cajamarca
Leaving early from the hotel, you'll head south to the village of Leymebamba to visit the amazing Mummy Museum housing 219 mummies and over 2,000 other artefacts found at the nearby Lake of the Condors. Later, you'll drive along one of the most spectacular roads in Peru (approx. six hours), starting by driving up to 3,600m overlooking the Marañon Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The road descends to the river through many different ecosystems, crossing the bridge at the valley bottom, Hornopampa, at 850m. You'll continue the drive up 2,400m to the western side of the canyon, where the last hairpin provides a photo opportunity of the canyon before reaching Cajamarca and the market town of Celendin to buy one of their famous straw hats.
Day 10 Cajamarca
You'll start today by exploring Cumbemayo. This pre-Inca site holds giant rock formations and petroglyphs that lead to the ancient aqueduct that takes water across the continental divide. The channel cut into the rock has perfect ninety degree corners, passes through tunnels and is thought to of been constructed around 1500 BC. Later, you'll return to Cajamarca via the view point of Santa Apolonia overlooking the city. And then visit Belen Church and the Rescue Room where Atahualpa, the last true Inca, was allegedly held captive. Tonight you may wish to visit the thermal baths complex in Baños del Inca.
Day 11 Cajamarca/Lima Home
Today you will be driven to Cajamarca Airport for your return flight to Lima, connecting with your international flight home. Alternatively, you may wish to continue to Cusco or venture to the Amazon.
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. However, as a guide, this 10 night Northern Peru itinerary will cost from £3,630 per person based on two adults sharing including international flights from the UK. Subject to availability.
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Our office in Lima is managed by a local team of experienced and passionate travel professionals with an intimate knowledge of Peru, enabling them to provide clients with great insight into this fascinating destination, and ensuring a seamless experience every step of the A&K journey. With their long standing personal connections and networks they're also there to help you uncover local secrets and experiences, and to open doors to people and places normally beyond the reach of the ordinary traveller.
Meet the Latin America Team
Our Latin America team Graeme, Charlie, Melissa, Kelly, Kerry and Elli – are experts in designing the perfect holiday in Latin America to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.
Best time to be there
Being such a geographically diverse country the weather in Peru is determined both by altitude and season. May to October is the best time to travel although the Amazon area is hot and humid throughout the year.
Lima - LAN Airlines, daily via Madrid
GMT -5 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate required if arriving from an infected area.