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Tico Tico: Culture of the Northern Andes

UK clients depart, arriving Lima, Peru, the same day.
 

Day 1

Overnight in the capital.
 
Lima
Those passengers arriving on an international flight will be met by the tour leader or a local representative and escorted to the group hotel. The drive to the hotel through Lima encapsulates the invigorating bustle of this city of extreme contrasts. Lima, the City of Kings, was once the capital of Spanish America, and the remnants of its glorious past can still be seen in the faded grandeur of the colonial churches and splendid, traditional wooden balconies in the city centre.

The explosive growth of the last 50 years, so typical of capital cities in the developing world, has transformed Lima into a lively and chaotic low-rise city. Away from the busy centre, there are some superb traditional restaurants as well as archaeological museums filled to the rafters with pre-Columbian treasures. In crowded streets, throngs of traffic race out towards Miraflores on the coast, a modern middle-class suburb where your hotel is located.

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Lima

Day 2

Fly to Trujillo and explore the city.
 
Trujillo

There will be a walking tour of Lima's colonial centre in the morning before taking a flight to the coastal town of Trujillo (70 minutes). The centre has some excellent examples of colonial architecture and its environs are speckled with extraordinary pre-Inca archaeological sites which reflect the eventful history of the region before the arrival of the Spanish.

Although the Incas are the best-known of Peru's pre-Columbian civilisations, the earlier cultures which flourished on the coast have provided the most impressive archaeological discoveries. The abundant food supplied by the irrigated valleys and the seas rich in fish created wealth here and freed up labour for the construction of vast temple complexes alongside intricate textiles and jewellery. Spend the afternoon wandering around the colonial centre, including the attractive Plaza Mayor and the cathedral.

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Trujillo

Day 3

Visit the Chimú site of Chan Chan, fishing village of Huanchaco and the Moche pyramids at Huacas del Sol and de la Luna.
 
Chan Chan
A short journey takes you to Chan Chan, extraordinary ruins consisting of nine vast adobe compounds established by the Chimú civilisation in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is located on a sweeping beach and the buildings blend seamlessly into the sand. The motifs on the walls depict fish and sea birds, illustrating their importance in the life of the Chimú. Each new ruler built a separate compound here and the site covers a colossal 20 km².

Nearby is the seaside town of Huanchaco where fisherman skilfully surf the waves on traditional reed boats which have been used for centuries. Continue to the captivating Moche sites of the Huacas de la Luna and del Sol. The Moche (AD100-800) people are famed for their realistic portrait pottery and the richness and beauty of their gold and silver jewellery. Huaca del Sol was extensively looted by the conquistadors, but excavations continue to unearth extraordinary artefacts, as well as gory evidence of human sacrifice.

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Chan Chan

Days 4-5

Journey to colonial Cajamarca, Explore the town and its fertile landscapes.
 
Cajamarca

We drive along the desert coast before heading into the verdant landscapes of the highlands on the winding road to Cajamarca (7-8 hours). This peaceful colonial town is your base for explorations into the surrounding area. It was here that Atahualpa, one of the last Inca Emperors, was held at ransom; after he had filled one large room with gold and two with silver, he lost his life to Pizarro and his band of Spanish conquerors. It is a delightful place to wander and there is time to visit said Ransom Room, a number of interesting colonial churches and to climb Santa Apollonia hill for a lovely view over the town. The reserved yet friendly inhabitants are easily distinguished by their dress: Stetson-style hats and ponchos.

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Cajamarca

Day 6

Drive to Leymebamba.
 
Road to Leymebamba

A scenic drive takes you into the mountains and to Leymebamba passing glistening lakes, deep river gorges and thriving valleys (10 hours).

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Road to Leymebamba

Day 7

Visit the Chachapoyan museum and Revash. Continue to El Chillo.
 
museum of mummies

There is a morning museum visit, which details the life and death of the Chachapoyan people. Tombs re-discovered in 1997 revealed 219 mummies, which are kept and studied here. You will gain an insight into some of the history of the ruins that you encounter over the next few days in the Land of the Cloud People. Later an uphill walk takes you to Revash. Follow a scenic, shady trail into the mountains to see the cliff tombs with carved windows peeking out of the mountainside, which resemble small houses and have red pictographs dating back to AD1200. Continue by road for a further hour to Chillo.

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museum of mummies

Day 8

Journey to the ruins of Kuelap. Continue to Chachapoyas.
 
Kuelap

A sinuous road leads from Chillo, before we take the recently inaugurated cable car for the last part of the journey, to the ruins at Kuelap (2.5 hours). This extraordinary site is haughty in its grandeur and scale; a walled city perched high on a mountain top. A greater quantity of stones was used for its construction than for the great pyramids of Egypt. Explore the many ceremonial structures and aqueducts, and sit for a while to absorb the majesty of the site and the beauty of its location way above the river valley. Little is known about the pre-Inca Chachapoyan culture, but each year more ruins are being uncovered and investigated. Evidence thus far suggests that the Chachapoyans were among the most advanced of all pre-Inca cultures. Drive to your hotel in Chachapoyas (3.5 hours).

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Kuelap

Day 9

Visit the archaeological site of Karajía.
 
Karajia

Head west by road and on foot to the burial sites of Karajía (2.5 hours). The Chachapoyans buried their chiefs in decorated clay sarcophagi which are adorned with imperious carved heads. These were then placed in cliff crevices which faced east towards the rising sun. The surrounding countryside is one of rolling farmland, in which small, traditional villages are connected by muddy tracks. Return in the evening to Chachapoyas.

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Karajia

Day 10

Excursion to the Gocta Falls.
 
Goc

Follow a meandering mountain road to the small community of Cocachimba, where a 3-hour walk down a steep trail leads to the base of the Gocta Falls: a burst of spring water which emerges from dense vegetation in the mountainside cascading 771m into a deep and inviting pool. The Gocta cataracts are presently ranked as the 16th-highest in the world (it was originally claimed they were the 3rd-highest), and they were only discovered in 2005 by German Stefan Ziemendorff, and his team of Peruvian explorers. Even if you don’t make it all the way it’s a lovely walk, and there is plenty of time to relax in Chachapoyas in the afternoon.

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Goc

Day 11

Drive to Chiclayo, on the north Peruvian coast.
 
Chiclayo witches' market

A scenic journey takes you through the Chamaya and Huancabamba valleys to the continental divide. At 2,140m, this is the lowest part of the Andes between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. At lower levels the landscape turns to desert plain before we reach the city of Chiclayo (10 hours). The lively city is home to an extremely friendly population and hosts one of the largest and most colourful markets in Peru. Stalls sell magic potions, lucky charms and a variety of local herbal remedies.

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Chiclayo witches' market

Day 12

Visit the museum of Sipán and the ruins at Túcume.
 
Lord of Sipán
The Sipán museum is one of the best in Peru and houses one of the country's great treasures. The 'Lord of Sipán' was a Moche nobleman who was buried in a pyramid in around AD200. His tomb was unearthed by grave robbers in 1986 and subsequent excavations have revealed stunning burial goods of gold, silver and copper, and exquisite cloths. The aridity of the coast perfectly preserved these ancient remains which are greatly revered by natives.

Continue to Túcume to see the ruins of a city built over 1,000 years ago. Explore the site at sunset to experience the full impact of this mysterious and evocative complex. A short climb to the viewpoints on Cerro la Raya (or El Purgatorio) gives an extraordinary panorama over all the 26 major pyramids, the platform mounds, walled citadels and residential compounds that flank a ceremonial centre and the ancient cemeteries.

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Lord of Sipán

Day 13

Fly to Lima. Optional excursions in the capital.
 

Drive to the airport for a flight back to Lima (70 minutes), for a final night in the capital. Time permitting there will be a chance to visit some of the famous museums the city has to offer.

Day 14

Depart for international flight or extension.
 

UK clients arrive home the following day.
 

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Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Tico Tico: Culture of the Northern Andes

  • Peruvian Amazon 5 days from £988pp

    The Peruvian Amazon is just an hour's flight from Cusco. This bird-filled area of humid tropical rainforest embraces many ox-bow lakes, an ideal home for caimans, turtles and giant otters.

    Day 1: Transfer to Cusco airport for the flight to Puerto Maldonado. Staff from Posada Amazonas will escort you to the lodge by road and dugout canoe (3hrs). Accommodation is simple and comfortable, constructed to harmonise with the forest environment.

    Days 2, 3:  Your stay includes a variety of early morning and late afternoon excursions. There are small clay licks close by, which attract throngs of parrots and parakeets. English-speaking guides will lead your exploration of the trails around the lodge. Climb a nearby 35m high canopy tower for expansive jungle and river vistas. You can discover the lakes and river banks by canoe to search for aquatic wildlife.

    Day 4: Return to Puerto Maldonado and fly to Lima. Transfer to your hotel in the Pacific-side district of Miraflores, Casa Andina Private Collection.

    Day 5: Continue your holiday or transfer to the airport for your international flight.

    Breakfast daily, full board days 2, 3.

  • Nazca Lines + Paracas 3 days from £700pp

    Travel to the Paracas Peninsula and explore the bird-smothered Ballestas Islands by boat. Fly over the Nazca Lines for a bird’s eye view of the giant symbols and lines carved into skeletal desert rock by the pre-Columbian Nazca people.

    Day 1: From Lima, travel by public coach south to Paracas (3.5hrs) on the Panamerican Highway, which follows the contours of the coastal cliffs, carving a lonely path through bleak desert scenery. The severity of the sparsely populated landscape is relieved by tiny oases producing dates or maize and rickety fishing villages. Your modern hacienda-style hotel, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas, overlooks Paracas Bay.

    Day 2: Embark on a private motor-launch tour of the Ballestas Islands, which comprise one of the most important wildlife areas of Peru. The arches and caves - the result of wind and tide erosion - provide shelter for thousands of seabirds: albatrosses, cormorants, boobies, pelicans and the odd Humboldt penguin. The coves and surrounding waters are also visited by sea-lions, the mournful cries of which mingle with the screeches of the birds in a cacophonous symphony of sound.

    Later, board a light aircraft for a 90min flight to and over the Nazca Lines. This series of giant geometrical figures, animals and insects was etched into the desert floor by the Nazca people over a period of several hundred years. The interpretation of the lines puzzles scientists – do they comprise an astronomical map, calendar or astrological symbols? The rocky, wind-contorted desert scenery seen from the air is as startling as the lines themselves.

    Day 3: Return to the city of Lima to continue your holiday or to the airport for your international flight.

    UK clients arrive home the following day

    Breakfast daily.

 
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27 May 2019

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9 Jun 2019

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£275

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19 Aug 2019

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1 Sep 2019

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30 Sep 2019

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13 Oct 2019

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25 May 2020

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7 Jun 2020

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