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Treasures of Peru: The archaeological riches of the north

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For the lover of history and bygone cultures, little-visited northern Peru has as least as much to offer as the more celebrated south. This journey is devised for the amateur archaeology enthusiast and incorporates a comprehensive selection of excursions to museums and historical sites, often with spectacular locations in remote landscapes. 

You hit the ground running with visits to Lima’s renowned museums and a full day excursion to Caral. Travel up the coast to colonial Trujillo and explore the vast Chimú desert adobe city of Chan Chan. Head inland to Andean Cajamarca in fertile dairy country. Continue on inland to the northern highlands, embellished with the ruins of elusive civilisations such as the Chachapoya, who constructed the massive hilltop fort at Kuelap. Continue by road to the port of Chiclayo and the tomb of the Lord of Sipán.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima. Transfer to hotel in the Pacific coast district of Miraflores.

Day 2

Visit the Larco Museum.

Day 3

Discover the exciting new pre-Columbian site at Caral.

Day 4

Fly to Trujillo; city tour, visit the Archaeology Museum.

Day 5

Visit Huacas del Sol and de la Luna and the Chimu city Chan Chan.

Day 6

Private road transfer to Cajamarca via El Brujo.

Day 7

Guided excursion to Cumbe Mayo.

Day 8

Road transfer to Leymebamba.

Day 9

Visit Leymebamba Museum, the tombs of Revash and continue to Chillo.

Day 10

Full day guided expedition to hilltop Kuelap.

Day 11

Land transfer to Chachapoyas via Karajia.

Day 12

Trek to Gocta Falls. Overnight at Cocachimba.

Day 13

Road transfer to Chiclayo.

Day 14

Visit Sipán, Tumbas Reales and Sican Museums, Túcume.

Day 15

Fly to Lima and connect with international flight home.

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What our experts say

While the main focus of this holiday is archaeology, you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the fascinating sites it visits. We think it’s a great trip for people who have visited Peru before and want to delve a bit deeper and escape the crowds. It’s amazing how quiet these places are - you practically have them to yourself, which is no mean feat in a country as popular as Peru!

Hannah

Hannah Waterhouse

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Treasures of Peru: The archaeological riches of the north

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Lima Cathedral
A city as huge and dynamic as Lima, City of Kings, is bound to offer something of interest to all visitors. Lovers of architecture and history will thrill to the monumental cathedral and Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Armas, and colonial wooden balconies overhanging atmospheric lanes in the spruced-up centre. But out on the Pacific coast are the smart, modern middle-class suburbs of Miraflores and Barranco, brimming with sophisticated restaurants, boutiques and live music. The traffic is horrendous, but the city has some of the Spanish Empire’s best museums; it’s well worth crossing town to find them.
When to go
A cold Pacific current puts the kibosh on the tropical climate you might expect and a chilly mist hovers over the city May-Nov. But as this is the best time to visit the Andes, you may have to visit Lima at this time. In the southern summer the sun breaks through, happy limeños spill out onto the pavement bars, ice cream parlours and beaches.
Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The pre-Columbian adobe ruins of a ceremonial centre at Pachacamac  in the desert just 31 km south of Lima;  Paracas National Park, 214 km (3-4 hours’ drive) down the coast, for the Ballestas Islands “mini-Galápagos” Nature Reserve;  the Moche pyramids at Chan Chan, near Trujillo, 561 km (8 hours on the Pan American Highway or 1 hour by air); Cajamarca, charming Andean colonial town, 856km, (12 hours by scenic road or 90 mins by air).

Flight time from UK

Average flight time to Lima is 12.5 hours. There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to Lima. Popular non-direct routes to Lima involve a change of plane in Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid.

Key events
Gran Serenata: Live music in the Plaza de Armas on 17 Jan to celebrate the city’s foundation.
Semana Santa, Easter. Many religious processions.
Peru Art Week:   Annually in May.  Museums, art galleries and open air exhibitions in Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro welcome visitors. Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias): 28 Jul annually: celebrated in plazas and parks throughout the city centre, with music and fireworks in the main plaza the evening before. On the final day a Great Military Parade takes place on either Avenida Brasil or Avenida De La Peruanidad.
Corpus Christi: Jun. Statues of the Virgin Mary and saints have a day out from their churches and are paraded to the Cathedral.
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Northern Peru
Northern Peru
The Pacific coast and Andean heartland of northern Peru is unfairly neglected by visitors in favour of the treasures of the south. The region is absolutely choc-a-bloc with vestiges of bygone civilisations, often as inspiring as the Inca. The untouched mountain landscapes and little-seen archaeological delights well reward travellers who make the sometimes long journeys to discover them.  The attractive colonial towns of Trujillo and Cajamarca, 2,750m, have preserved much of their character, and are excellent bases for visits to the adobe pyramids of Chan Chan, and Inca baths and aqueducts respectively. Kuelap, one of the continent’s most dramatic temple fortresses is accessible via Chachapoyas, 2,335m, from the port of Chiclayo.
When to go

Northern Peru can be visited at any time of year but unpaved roads inland can get very muddy in the rainy season Jan-Mar.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from ATMs in the larger towns using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

A beach wind down in Máncora, trendy but low-key sea and surf resort on the northwest coast; pre-Columbian ruins of a ceremonial centre at Pachacamac  in the desert just 31 km from Lima; the Inca sites around Cusco, including Machu Picchu (1 hour flight from Lima); a trek in the Cordillera Blanca from Huaraz, mountaineering town halfway between Trujillo and Lima.

Getting there

Frequent flights from Lima to Trujillo take 1 hour 12 mins and 1 hour 30 mins to Chiclayo or Cajamarca.

Key events

National Marinera Contest; Trujillo, 2 weeks from the end of Jan. Dancing couples compete in 6 categories.

Festival de la Primavera: Trujillo, last week of Sept. Pageants, floats and parades, and a competition of riders of the famous Peruvian Caballos de Paso horses famed for their extra tripping gait.

Fiesta de la Purísima Concepción: Chiclayo, 8 days prior to Carnival and also in Sep. Celebrates the town’s patron saint, with dancing, fireworks, cock fights and sporting events. 

Carnival Cajamarca in a full-on affair with processions, dances and paint-throwing.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

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Treasures of Peru: The archaeological riches of the north

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