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Northern Peru Tour – The Ancient Circuit


Northern Peru is home to an incredible variety of landscapes, archaeological sites and natural wonders, the like of which had not been seen before anywhere in the country. The vast ancient sites in the north pre-date the Inca and are still roughly “undiscovered”. Visit the ‘untapped gems’ of Northern Peru on this tour. After completing this unforgettable experience; something tells us it won’t be a secret for long!

Chachapoyas, situated deep in Peru’s northern Sierra, is steeped in history, peppered with the remnants of powerful pre-Inca civilizations, and contains vast swathes of dramatic, rugged landscapes. The must-see sites of a Chachapoyas tour, as part of any tailor-made trip to Peru, will take you to the impressive ruins of Kuelap, perched on a hilltop overlooking stunning scenery, and hike to the impressive Gocta Waterfall. There’s plenty more to see in the region from little-visited ruins to hiking trails tucked away in the cloud forest.

Peru will send your camera into overdrive with its jaw-dropping terrain, colourful markets, forgotten temples entangled in jungle vines, and massive archaeological complexes. This Northern Peru tour also includes a visit to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu…one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Home to a unique and proud population which continues to maintain its rich culture and identity, you will be welcomed with open arms. Channel your spirit of adventure as we discover the land of the Inca during this 11 day Peru Northern Circuit Tour.

Please note that this tour is fully customizable and can be combined with other Peru experiences.


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Highlights Include:

  • Discovering the ancient past in Northern Peru
  • Trekking to the third highest waterfall in the world, Gocta Falls
  • Exploring sites in Northern Peru that few visit
  • Learning about the fascinating culture of the ancient Chachapoya people
  • Soaking-in the astonishing views of Machu Picchu
  • Visiting three UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Eating delicious Peruvian cuisine

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Meeting service and transfer to your select hotel.

Welcome to Lima – the City of Kings and the bustling gateway to Peru! Lima is an ethnic melting pot, featuring pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern elements. Lima was inhabited by pre-Columbian groups centuries before it was founded by Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro in 1535 on the day of the Three Kings (Epiphany). Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.

As today is arrival day, there are no prearranged activities.

Night at the Hotel.
No meals

Today we will have a half day guided sightseeing tour of the highlights of colonial Lima and the incredible Larco Herrera Museum. We will begin our tour with a visit the heart of colonial Lima, the colourful Plaza de Armas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the plaza, we can admire the Government Palace and the Cathedral.
After time for photos of the beautiful colonial architecture, we will continue on to the Larco Museum which is located in a vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid in Pueblo Libre. The Larco Museum features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru, the famous erotic archaeological collection, worldwide icons of Pre-Columbian art, after being exhibited in the world’s leading museums.

Some suggestions for afternoon activities include:
• Huaca Pucllana – a restored adobe ceremonial centre from the Lima culture that dates back to AD 400
• LarcoMar & Sea Wall – Stroll for miles along the cliffs of the beautifully landscaped sea wall
• Paraglide – Soar above the cliffs of Miraflores while you tandem paraglide
• Enjoy some of Lima’s exceptional eateries, from humble to high-brow, all part of a gastronomic revolution more

Overnight in Lima at the selected hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport to take the flight to Trujillo
Meeting service and proceed with the visit of the amazing Sun and the Moon pyramids, the center of power in the Trujillo Valley during Moche ancient times. Huaca del Sol is the largest single pre-Columbian structure in Peru, although about a third of it has been washed away. The structure was built with an estimated 140 million adobe bricks, many of them marked with symbols representing the workers who made them. Later visit the “Arco Iris Temple” or “Dragon ceremonial Temple”, from the Chimu culture.

Drive to the seaside town of Huanchaco and watch the local fishermen on their traditional “Caballitos de Totora” or reed boats.

Lunch in Huanchaco and then you will visit the ancient mud-brick City of Chan Chan. Built around AD 1300 and covering 20 sq km, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world. This place was home to 100,000 habitants who stubbornly resisted the expansion of the Inca Empire.

Overnight at the selected hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Today you will be transferred to Chiclayo, en route you will visit the Complex of El Brujo which pyramid, It was built with tens of thousands of adobe bricks. It walls are covered with polychrome reliefs that show war motifs, its goods, animals, plants and net-fishing. Just some years ago, a well preserved tattooed mummy of a young woman, who belongs to the Moche Royalty, has been discovered deep inside El Brujo pyramid. She has been called “Señora de Cao” and she is exhibited in the Lady of Cao Museum.

Transfer to the lodge and join for an exciting excursion offered by the lodge
Overnight in Chiclayo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today you will visit Huaca Rajada Archeological Complex, a funerary complex where the tomb of one of the Moche ruling elite, the Lord of Sipán, was found. Next, you will visit the Tumbas Reales Museum, which was built specifically to house the greatest archeological discovery of recent times: the tomb of the Lord of Sipán. The Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipán is the pride of Northern Peru – as well it should be. With its burgundy pyramid construction rising gently out of the earth, it’s a world-class facility specifically designed to showcase the marvelous finds from Sipán.

You will continue your tour by visiting the Túcume Pyramids, a magnificent complex of 26 adobe pyramids that once formed part of an extensive urban center.

Overnight in Chiclayo.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

The first day, transfer from Chiclayo to Chachapoyas. The trip goes through one of the driest deserts of the planet, then climbs the Andes, descends to the Marañón River and finally ascends via the spectacular Utcumbamba Canyon.

Box lunch included.

Overnight in Chachapoyas.
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch

The second day, after an hour and 15 minutes travel, arrive to Cocachimba town. In this village, inhabited by about 200 families, starts the hike to the Gocta waterfall, with its 771 meters. It is considered the third highest in the world behind the Angel Falls in Venezuela and Tugela Falls in South Africa. One of the most iconic and unmissable attractions in the entire area is undoubtedly the huge Gocta Waterfall, a place which is as amazing to look at as it is to hear the stories and legends which surround it. Known locally as the ‘Mother of all Waterfalls’, Gocta is shrouded in local myths to do with its origins and the spirits which control the river’s flow, making it all more exciting to visit!

To get to the bottom of Gocta we have to walk about 5 km of a footpath of uneven terrain, through a dense rain forest and very colourful. After about 2.5 hours, arrive to the falls where you can enjoy the natural surroundings of this beautiful place and then return to the hotel.

Lunch in a local restaurant.

Overnight in Chachapoyas
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

The third day, we will go to Kuélap. Predating Machu Picchu by almost 1400 years, it is one of Peru’s most significant archaeological sites. One of the largest ancient stone structures in the world, home to the ruling Chachapoyas people, but the sheer scale of hundreds of homes, places of worship, fortifications, impenetrable walls and secret entrances just has to be seen to be believed.

The walls and hundreds of circular houses are covered by the cloud forest, being at 3000 meters above sea level, always surprise the visitors that see it for the first time. We will explore lots of ceremonial constructions and aqueducts. Although Kuélap was discovered 60 years before Machu Picchu, it is not recognized worldwide. However, recent discoveries nearby areas that are related with Kuélap and with its history, had captured the attention of archaeologists, of international magazines and film companies.
Few people make it to this extraordinary place, meaning that Kuelap holds its own intimate atmosphere among the clouds, despite the notably large scale of all that surrounds you as you explore.

Lunch in a local restaurant.

Overnight in Chachapoyas.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Transfer to Jaen Airport city with an escort of the Company. Box lunch included.

Flight to Lima and then to Cusco

Arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight in Cusco.
Meals: Breakfast

Today we travel by Train (Expedition) to Machu Picchu Village (Aguas Calientes) located at the base of magnificent Machu Picchu. From here we take a bus up the snaking road to the ‘Lost City of the Incas’. The archaeological site of Machu Picchu dates to the 15th century and first received international attention in 1911 when it was visited by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Ever since, Machu Picchu has received visitors from around the world being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and more recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.We have a two hour guided tour of the most important structures at Machu Picchu before having free time for independent exploration of the site when the crowds have dispersed.

Following a guided tour of the ruins, enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, board the train to Cusco.

Cusco was the foremost city of the Inca Empire and is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and the most visited tourist attraction in Peru. Cusco (Qosqo in Quechua) was the capital of the mighty Inca Empire from the 13th century until 1532 when the Spanish conquistadors arrived. The Inca had incredible foresight in regards to city planning and Cusco beautifully exemplifies this. Cusco was planned as an effigy in the shape of a puma, the Inca god of lightning.

(IF you would like to extend your time in Cusco, just let us know)

Overnight in Cusco.
Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Cusco’s airport.
Flight to Lima

Meals: Breakfast

*Please note that most flights depart from Lima late in the evening. Please confirm your flight departs in the evening when booking this trip

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Allpa 3*
Jose Antonio Deluxe 4*
Casa Andina Premium 5*

Abittare 3*
El Mercado 4*
Libertador Palacio del Inka 5*

Chiclayo Los Portales 3*
Costa del Sol 4*
Casa Andina Premium 4*

Casa Andina Premium 5*
Casa Andina Premium 5*
Libertador Trujillo 5*

Gocta Lodge 3*

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Tour Inclusions:

  • 10 nights hotel accommodation based on double occupancy (single supplement available)
  • Meals as specified in itinerary
  • Services of a Peruvian guide for all sites
  • Entrance fees to all the sites mentioned in the program
  • All transportation as per itinerary including transfers, trains, etc
  • All applicable taxes

Tour Exclusions:

  • International flights
  • Domestic flights – quoted separately
  • Services not specified, meals not specified
  • Mandatory travel insurance
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance
  • Gratuities for porters, servers, guides, drivers, etc
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Personal items
  • Departure taxes (domestic and international if applicable)

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