Ancient North Peru 18 days 17 nights

Ancient North PeruCaral Sechin Huaraz Trujillo Chiclayo (Moche Route) Chachapoyas & Cajamarca 18 days 17 nights

Day 01: Lima - Bandurria - Caral


We pick you up at your hotel in Miraflores, Lima, Barranco or San Isidro.

We head to the Bandurria Archaeological Site, one of the most important sites in the North Central Coast of Peru, belonging to the Pre ceramic Late Period (3000 to 2000 BC). The public sector presents a ceremonial pyramids composed of stone and mud located on the north side of the site and a large residential / domestic sector on the south side. After that we visit the Sacred City of Caral, located in the middle sector of the Supe Valley. Its importance is that it is the most prominent urban settlement of its size and architectural complexity of all identified in Peru between 3000 and 2000 BC. Here more than 32 architectural ensembles of varying size and function, which, so far, have been identified 6 pyramidal buildings and a number of medium and small buildings, including temples, residential areas, public squares, amphitheatres, warehouses appreciated , coliseum circular tombs, altars and streets, which makes us conclude that albergo around about 3000 inhabitants. Among the most important buildings stands the Great Temple. The city of Caral had a complex sociopolitical organization, advanced level of knowledge in science, technology and art reflected in its architecture, being the oldest in America, and comparable only to other civilizations of the Old The world as Mesopotamia, India, China and Egypt. 

Continue travelling to Huaraz.

Overnight in Huaraz.

Day 02: Chavin de Huantar

chavin huantar huaraz

We travel through the "Callejon de Conchucos", which runs parallel to the "Callejon de Huaylas" while we enjoy the views of the east side of the "Cordillera Blanca", while visiting towns like Recuay, Ticapampa and Catac where we stop in Querococha Lake (3980 m), located in the Huascaran National Park, and from where we can see the Yanamarey Pucaraju Mountain. We will go through the Cahuish Tunnel (Kawish), which crosses the Cordillera Blanca at an altitude of 4,516 meters linking Catac with the people of Chavin. Finally we arrive at the Chavin de Huantar Archaeological Site (3180 m), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site has several buildings: pyramids, plazas that sit on a hillside, and stairways. The pyramidal constructions house a network of passages and interior cameras. The material for the stone architecture was also used to portray mythical figures in high and low relief; plated walls, carved stones, and stone heads depicting their deity. In the Chavin Gallery or Labyrinth, you will find a monolith carved with mythical figures, called Lanzon, measuring about 5 meters high. Chavin also has many representative monoliths as the Raymondi Stela, the Tello Obelisk and Yauya Stela. We visit the Chavin National Museum, which houses most of the gargoyle type heads, and the magnificent Tello Obelisk, which is the oldest Chavin art sculpture, that it is thought it was a solar calendar.

Overnight in Huaraz.

Day 03: Willcahuain - Honcopampa

honcopampa huaraz

We will visit the Willcahuain Archaeological Site (Willkawayin), which was one of the administrative centers of the Wari culture (Huari) (700 to 1100 AD). Willcahuain is believed to be a mausoleum-chullpa where  members of the ruling class were buried. The site feturess elements of the Tiahuanaco-Huari. Then we head to the villages of Tarica and San miguel, to visit the Hocopampa Archaeological Complex (200-800 AD), belonging to the Recuay Culture and expansion of the Wari culture. Located at an altitude of 3500 meters, the site is one of the most important monuments in the area of the Huaylas Alley, comprising an area of ​​approximately 12 hectares. There are V-shaped structures, circular, rectangular and quadrangular  terraces and squares, almost all walled and constructed on the basis of large stones.

Transfer from Huaraz to Casma.

Overnight in Casma. 

Day 04: Chankillo - Sechin - Max Uhle Museum - Trujillo In

sechin casma north peru

Departure to the south to visit Chanquillo archaeological site. that comprises Chankillo Temple and The Thirteen Towers Solar Observatory, which  is the America's oldest astronomical prehispanic sanctuary. The fortress consists of two parallel circular walls surrounding the hill, and a central room walled with rectangular and circular rooms. All buildings in Chanquillo are made with stones from the site, and the mud used for the mortar and plaster was brought from the valley. The solar observatory of Chankillo was a necessity for the people of this region for agricultural purposes. We end the tour visiting the Sechin Archaeological Site (one of the oldest cultures of Peru: from 1.800 to 200 BC). It consists of seven structures where the main building is rectangular with a perimeter wall and inner engraved monoliths of previous era, made of adobe. The monoliths, which are nearly four meters high, representing warrior-priests and dismembered victims. The depiction of human figures in the monoliths suggests relations with the Chavin culture. Then we visit the Max Uhle Site Museum which is part of Cerro Sechin Archeological Site and which exhibits the most important parts obtained from archaeological excavations, also provides an overview on the history of the town of Casma. 

Transfer from Casma to Trujillo.

Overnight in Trujillo.

Day 05: Temple of the Dragon - Chan Chan - Huanchaco - Temples of the Sun & the Moon

chan chan

This day, we will visit The Temple of the Dragon, decorated with anthropomorphic and geometric figures, then we continue learning about the Chimu culture in the Chan Chan Site Museum. Next place to visit is Chan Chan (UNESCO Heritage), the largest pre-Columbian citadel of the Americas. Here we enter to the Nik-An Palace, built with refined architectural technique, which includes impressive reliefs and exquisite geometric and zoomorphic designs and friezes depicting fish, pelicans, diamonds, originally painted in ocher, yellow and red tones. The Citadel of Chan Chan had ceremonial plazas, water reservoirs, defense systems and rooms designed to store food. Chan Chan population was about 60,000 inhabitants of the Chimu empire. Then we head to the fishing village of Huanchaco, where you can see the "little reed horses", traditional pre-Columbian rafts which still are the main tool of the current Huanchaco's fishermen.

Time to enjoy lunch in Huanchaco.

After that, we visit the Moche Valley and the flat-topped pyramids called Temples of the Sun and the Moon. The Temple of the Sun served as administrative center and was built with about 140 million adobes. The Temple of the Moon holds the most stunning and best-preserved murals throughout Peru. This pyramid walls are beautifully decorated with polychrome friezes, where the main character is the Moche deity "Aia-paec" and different themes like snakes, prisioners, and mystical subjects alluding their ceremonial rituals. We end our visits in The Moche Temples Site Museum, to see the artifacts found during excavations of the Moche Temples Archaeological Project such as ceramics of great beauty, pieces made of gold, cotton and feathers, which were used in their ceremonies. 

Overnight in Trujillo.

Day 06: Chiquitoyac (Chiquitoy Viejo) - El Brujo Archaeological Complex - San Jose de Moro -Chiclayo In

el brujo cao

We will visit Chiquitoyap (Chiquitoy Viejo), the site was built with adobe mud bricks like Chan Chan, and had a defensive function, to protect Chan Chan from possible attacks. It had walls with 3 meters high and 1 meter width. We continue through the Chicama Valley, to visit El Brujo Archaeological Complex, comprising Huaca Prieta, Huaca Cao Viejo and Huaca El Brujo. We visit the interiors of Huaca Cao Viejo, which has stunning polychrome reliefs and friezes. Some of these friezes depict some prisoners moving from west to east, and behind them standing still several warriors carrying their weapons painted all in natural size scale. The tomb of the Lady of Cao, ruler and Moche Priestess, considered an almost divine character was found in Huaca Cao Viejo. It is of great importance since before this finding, it was thought that only men had held high positions in ancient Peru. We also visit the Museum of Cao, here in a special room we see the mummified remains of the Lady of Cao, and her impressive tattoos that have a religious and ritual symbolism, her ornaments, jewelry and costumes that accompany her funeral bundle. We continue our trip to Chiclayo and on route we stop at the San Jose de Moro Archaological Site, small village that 1,500 years ago, was the core of an important ceremonial center and cemetery for the Moche elite. One of the most important discoveries were the graves of the Priestesses of San José de Moro, seven tombs of the most important women in the region. According to the iconography of the ceramics was determined that belonged to the late stage of the Moche period (VII - IX AD) and was linked to ceremonies and funerals. Prior the knowledge of this priestess, she was widely represented in the iconography of the ceramics, performing sacrificial rituals.

Time for lunch in Pacasmayo. We continue traveling to Chiclayo. 

Time to relax in Chiclayo, taking a walk in the city or enjoying the hotel amenities.

Overnight in Chiclayo.

Day 07: Sican Museum - Tucume Pyramids - Huaca Balsas - Pomac Forest (Batangrande)

balsas tucume

We visit the Sican National Museum. It has a permanent exhibition of all aspects of society and culture Sicán. It also describes details of the domestic life of the Sican population and the development processes of their ceramics and metals; in addition to the recreation of two tombs of noblemen, containing gold ornaments and other valuables. It explains how the Lord of Sican was buried face down in a fetal position. One of the most important rooms features pieces like the famous golden mask of the Winged Eyes, crowns, necklaces, among other precious ornaments and ceramics, found in the Huaca El Oro and Huaca Las Ventanas in The Pomac Forest.

Next we we explore the Valley ofthe Pyramids of Túcume. This spectacular archaeological complex consists of 26 adobe pyramids. In the center, the Holy Mountain, known as Cerro La Raya, a viewpoint to enjoy the scenery of the Valley of La Leche and the huacas (pyramids) in the site such as: Las Estacas, La Raya, Del Pueblo, Las Balsas, Huaca I and Grandes, among others. The Túcume Complex is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Peru and the largest concentration of adobe pyramids in the northern coast of Peru, being Huaca Larga the largest in South America (700 meters long, 280 meters wide and 30 meters high). Within the pyramids complex, will make a special visit to Huaca Las Balsas, ruled by women religious temple dedicated to worship the water, it is decorated with mystical and ritual purposes. Its friezes recreate rafts manned by strange characters with anthropomorphic traits, surrounded by large waves, seabirds and animals. We will have time to visit the Museum of Tucume

Our next stop is the Pomac Forest Historical Sanctuary aka Batangrande Archaological Complex, a dry equatorial forest with diverse wildlife, with 16 of them being endemic to the Tumbesian area and 5 endemic to Peru. Here live mammals such as the sechura fox, anteater, wild cats, squirrels and different varieties of reptiles. The site also comprises about 20 adobe pyramids. We visit the Interpretation Centre, The ancient tree (Carob tree of great size and age, source of legends), we climb up to The Salinas viewpoint to see the forest and La Leche river in all its majesty. We will visit the Huaca El Oro (where an important Sican tomb was found and the pieces of ceramics and artifacts are displayed in the Sican Museum), and Huaca Las Ventanas (here they found the famous Tumi). The complex also includes Huaca la Merced, Huaca Rodillona, ​​dedicated to the management, control and administration of the powerful Sican. 

Overnight in Chiclayo

Day 08: Huaca Chotuna Chornancap - Bruning Museum - Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum

sipan lord lambayeque

We travel to Lambayeque, and visit the Huaca Chotuna Chornancap Complex, related to the origin of the Lambayeque culture and the Legend of Naylamp (the mystic founder of the Lambayeque culture). It consists of a series of stepped and flat-topped pyramids, some still covered by sand. Within the complex and 1 km from Huaca Chotuna, we find Huaca Gloria also called The Friezes Temple (for its murals) that is distinguished by its polychrome (red, black, white and green) depicting in their iconography birds trapping a fish in freefall. To complete the visit, we will go the Site Museum where the legend of mythical Naylamp is represented with 25 mannequins and musical background and also where gold and silver ornaments of the dynasty that reigned then across the valley are exhibited. In this complex the tomb of the Priestess of Chornancap possibly ruler or perhaps the concubine of another character was found. Then we visit the Bruning Archaeological National Museum, where over 1,400 archeological pieces of Lambayeque, Moche, Chavin, Vicus, Inca and other cultures are exposed. The most important pieces dating back more than 10,000 years ago. In the gardens of the museum stands the figure of Naylamp. One of the most important rooms is the Room of the Gold and the three rooms dedicated to the Priestess of Chornancap, with more than 160 pieces of his grave goods and her artifacts of gold, silver and textiles.

We finish our Moche adventure, travelling to Lambayeque to visit the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, where we can see the great treasures and jewelry of the Lord of Sipan found in Huaca Rajada. The tomb of the Lord of Sipan is one of the biggest and richest in the world compared with that of Tutankhamen in Egypt. His goods in the museum consists of several rooms with more than 400 artifacts made of gold, silver and precious stones such as headgear, masks, pectorals, necklaces (including the famous peanuts necklace of gold and silver), nose rings, earrings that indicate his high importance and rank in the Moche civilization. Also we will see an exact replica of the tombs and burial chamber and a life-size moving diorama of The Lord of Sipan and his court, which provides additional realistic impression by the play of lights and its beautiful design. The Museum also houses the regalia and jewels of the Lord of Ucupe, discovered in Huaca El Pueblo - Quiñones - Chaquira. Definitely a must see.

Overnight in Chiclayo.

Day 09: Huaca Rajada - Ventarron - Collud - Chiclayo Out

huaca rajada sipan lambayeque

Today we visit the Tomb of Sipan in Huaca Rajada. This place comprises two adobe pyramids and the burial chamber of the Lord of Sipan where he was found together with sacrified servants, concubines and warriors, llamas, etc, offerings and ceramics that accompany the Lord to his journey to the afterlife according to the Moche belief. Besides of beautiful ornaments made of gold, silver and semi preicius stones, now in the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum. Then we will explore the Ventarron Archaeological Site (pre-ceramic), that has the oldest of Americas polychrome mural (2000 BC). The mural depicts the hunting of a deer known as the "captive deer "(because looks like it is caught in a net) and another abstract motifs in red and white colors. It has several rooms of cruciform and circular shape. We continue our visit to Collud Complex, (theocratic capital)  the largest settlement in the formative period in the Lambayeque Valley and one of the most developed in that time in Peru, that has strong Cupisnique and Chavin influence. It consists of several monumental buildings such as a stepped platform and wall decorations in relief. In the Temple we find a desing with the shape of a head with feline, bird and spider features, framed by diamonds that symbolize a net, some other stylized figures also appear in their designs.

Overnight in Chiclayo.

Day 10: Chiclayo Chachapoyas

We travel from Chiclayo, ascending through regions of dry forest until we totally change to the upper Amazon Basin. We will pass by the Olmos Dam Irrigation Project. We will cross the Marañon river, one of the main rivers that feed the Amazon river. Continuing through this beautiful landscapes, we arrive in Chachapoyas.

Overnight in Chachapoyas.

Day 11: Chachapoyas In - Karajia Sarcophagi - Quiocta

karajia sarcophagi chachapoyas

We pick you up from your hotel.

Departure to Lamud (1 hour 30 minutes), we start hiking to the Karajia Sarcophagi, located at 2700 masl. This place was part of Chipuric Archaeological Complex. It consists of 6 Purunmachos (old father in Quechua) which are pre-Inca tombs - kind of sarcophagus that have anthropomorphic form with human features and elongated jaw. The sarcophagi are about 2.5 meters high. Found at the archaeological site about 14 Purunmachos. They have a fine plaster outward layers of paint with red ocher and white smoke. The sarcophagi are painted in different strokes that indicate the shape of the eyes, mouth and even in some cases clothing or sex. The head is crowned by a headdress or skull trophy. Each coffin contained one mummified individual (unlike mausoleso containing various individuals). In the sarcophagus, the individual was placed in a fetal position or squatting, wrapped with cotton sheets forming a bundle and tied with string or twine rush and then be placed facing forward on a deerskin. Usually ceramics accompanied the body and other materials according to the belief of the time that it should accompany the soul on its journey to the afterlife. After lunch. We explore the Quiocta Caverns, where we find stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, flags and columns. Also cave paintings  and a small inner lagoon. It is inhabited by bats. This cavern for its location, is an interesting place becase of archaeological and geological reasons.

Overnight in Chachapoyas

Day 12: Kuelapkuelap

We will visit the archaeological site of Kuelap, located in on a natural rocky elevation at 3000 meters. The fortified citadel of Kuelap, oval fortress surrounded by an imposing wall, almost impenetrable, rises from 5.5 meters to 11.5 meters. oriented from north to south. Kuelap is one of the most important architectural remains of the Chachapoyas culture. The citadel, measuring about 584 meters long and an average of 110 meters at the widest part, has a total dimension of approximately 6 acres. It is surrounded by a perimeter wall that varies between 10 and 20 meters high, depending on terrain, and is entirely built of limestone blocks weighing up to 3 tons. On the west side of the citadel, lays the Great Temple, for the ceremonial rites that were performed there. The citadel walls are decorated with many carvings in high relief depicting anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometric designs in the stones, located mostly in the Great Temple; where also numerous burials were found. 

Continue travelling to Leymebamba.

Overnight in Leymebamba.

Day 13: Revash Mausoleums - Leymebamba Museum

revash chachapoyas

We travel for 2 hours until to Leymebamba to visit the Revash Archaeological Site (2700 m). The site comprises mausoleum tombs belonging to the Chachapoya culture (Late Intermediate: 1100 - 1470 AD). Revash mausoleums are built in cavities carved into the limestone rock cliff. The walls of the tombs are made of small stones settled with mud mortar, painted in shades of cream and red. Some tombs are decorated with paintings depicting cats, llamas and figures of geometric shapes. Also a variety of pictographs decorate the cliff walls behind the mausoleums. We then visit The Leymebamba Museum, which houses more than 216 mummies and 2000 objects of grave goods recovered in 1997 from the archaeological site Lake of the Condors or Lake of the Mummies. Besides the three archaeological rooms housing the recovered material, there is an ethnographic room that explains the various expressions of the ancient chachapoya inhabitants, their customs and life.

Overnight in Leymebamba.

Day 14: Leymebamba - Cajamarca

We will travel from Leymebamba to Cajamarca via Celendin. The route is wonderful with stunning scenery. We will stop for lunch, rest and make photo shots.

Overnight in Cajamarca.

Day 15: City tour - Ventanillas de Otuzco

otuzco necropolis

City tour: we visit the Plaza de Armas, St. Catherine of Alexandria Church (Cathedral), San Francisco Church, Ransom Room, Church of Bethlehem, Men & Women Colonial Hospital (Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum), St. Apolonia Viewpoint & Sanctuary and the "Chair of the Inca". 

In the afternoon we visit the Ventanillas de Otuzco (literally Windows of Otuzco), pre Inca archaeological site that belongs to the Cajamarca culture. This necropolis consists of niches carved in the rocks, called windows. It is a cemetery, which dates back to the first centuries of our era. The entrances are rectangular and quadrangular cut of 50-60 cm. Then we visit a Viewpoint to enjoy the  countryside landscape of the valley.

Overnight at Cajamarca. 

Day 16: Cumbemayo - Inca Baths

cumebmayo frailones

We visit today the Cumbemayo Archeological Site, located at 3,500 meters above sea level, surrounded by an impressive stone forest. This consists of the aqueduct (pre Inca hydraulic engineering work), the sanctuary and its antropomorphic figures - feline forms. We visit the Bella Vista Viewpoint from where we can see the valley of Cajamarca in all its beauty. We also will hike a little though the Layzón "Stone Forest", where we see the giant "Monks" (frailones) called like this because of their great size. 

After our visits we will go to the Inca Baths to enjoy the medicinal thermal waters, and visit the Poza del Inca (Inca favourite spring) and Perolitos (springs), with temperatures reaching 78 ° C. According to chroniclers this place was the first stage of encounter of the Spaniards and the Incas. 

Overnight in Cajamarca. 

Day 17: Kuntur Wasi

kuntur wasi

We head to the village of San Pablo, to visit Kuntur Wasi,  temple and fortress related to the Chavin culture. Its name means "House of the Condor" (Kuntur = condor, Wasi = home). Here also visit the museum that houses objects found during the excavations, gold pieces worked 1500 years before Christ, crowns, necklaces and artifacts with beads. These include "the crown of the fourteen faces" found in one of the tombs of Kuntur Wasi that were part of the funerary equipment of the ruling elite. Kuntur Wasi carvings denote a great Chavin artistic influence, due to the felines figures in their friezes. Especially the gold and pottery show Cupisnique influence. In ceramic and stone plates belonging to this culture is possible to observe drawings of human faces, similar to the reliefs of Cerro Sechin. We climb up the "La Copa" hill to visit the ceremonial temple where tombs of their former priests with ceramics of great beauty and value were found.

Overnight in Cajamarca

Day 18: Cajamarca Out

At an appropiate time, we will take yout to the airport or bus terminal.

What is included?

  • Private airport / bus terminal shuttle transfer In & Out
  • Transportation with AC and professional driver.
  • English speaking guide.
  • All transfers and entrances fee (tickets)
  • 02 nights accommodation in Huaraz with breakfast included.
  • 01 night accommodation in Casma with breakfast included.
  • 02 nights accommodation in Trujillo with breakfast included.
  • 04 nights accommodation in Chiclayo with breakfast included.
  • 02 nights accommodation in Chachapoyas with breakfast included.
  • 02 nights accommodation in Leymebamba with breakfast included
  • 04 nights accommodation in Cajamarca with breakfast included. 
  • Transportation Huaraz ---> Trujillo.
  • Transportation Trujillo ---> Chiclayo.
  • Transportation Chiclayo ---> Chachapoyas
  • Transportation Chachapoyas ---> Cajamarca
  • 24 / 7 hours assistance during your trip

What is not included?

  • Lunch and dinner.