You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you are free to rest in the hotel or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima's best galleries and shops and restaurants are located in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture. If you have time to visit a museum we would recommend the brilliant Larco Herrera Museum which also has an excellent onsite restaurant or the Museo de La Nacion or the Larco Herrera Museum. Overnight: Casa Andina Standard Miraflores Centro or similar.
After checking out of our hotel in Lima you are transferred to the airport for your flight across the Andes to the northern coastal city of Chiclayo. On arrival you are transferred to your hotel for your overnight accommodation. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city's lovely colonial architecture and delicious seafood specialties.
Today we venture further north to the village of Cochachimba. We'll make an early departure this morning for the drive ahead. Along the way we'll enjoy a picnic lunch and will make plenty of stops to stretch our legs and admire the scenery. On arrival to Cochachimba we'll check into our well appointed lodge for the night.
Overnight Cocachimba. Driving distance approx 400kms
Walk through the cloud forest to Gocta falls, drive to Chachapoyas. After an early breakfast we head off for a walk (approx 2 hours) through the classic eastern slope cloud forest to the superb sight of the twin Gocta Falls. One of the falls is 770m high making them the highest in Peru and 4th highest in the world! After spending time in this superb setting we walk back to our lodge for lunch. After lunch we drive to Chachapoyas where we'll be based over the coming days. Overnight Chachapoyas. Overnight Chachapoyas. Driving distance approx 50kms
After breakfast we depart for a 2 to 3 hour drive to the ancient fortress of Kuelap which is the centre piece of the remarkable Chachapoyas culture. Even though this culture (also known as the Cloud Forest people) were one of the most advanced to develop from the jungle regions of Peru, and have left behind some of the most impressive pre-Incan buildings anywhere in the Andes, little is currently known about them. From Nuevo Tingo town, we will board the cable car system which takes us to the Kuelap tourist center. From there we can hike up to the archaeological site about 15 to 20 minutes. After exploring this amazing site for a few hours we enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back to our accommodation in Chachapoyas. Overnight Chachapoyas. Driving distance approx 75kms.
Today we head back for the long but spectacular drive from Chachapoyas to Chiclayo. Along the way we'll pass through a myriad of landscapes and will make plenty of stops including a picnic lunch. On arrival to Chiclayo we'll check into our hotel for the next couple of night's accommodation. Overnight Chiclayo.
Driving distance approx 450kms
After breakfast we head off on a guided tour of the Brunning Museum in Sipan which contains a superb collection of the many fine artifacts found in this fascinating region. We then visit the site of the most famous excavation in this are at Sipan where Walter Alva discovered one of the finest royal tombs ever uncovered in the Americas. It also has a superb site museum. After lunch we head out to the huge desert site of Tucume. Covering an area of over 540 acres Tucume is famous for its many massive pyramids that were studied for many years by the great explorer Thor Hyerdahl. Overnight Chiclayo.
After breakfast we start our drive south to Trujillo. On the way we visit the impressive site of El Brujo which rises about 98 feet above the surrounding desert and covers an area of roughly 330 by 330 feet. We also visit its site museum where we discover the unique Senora de Cao, the first known Governess in Peru. We reach Trujillo this afternoon where we'll be based the next couple of nights. The rest of the day is at at leisure to explore this city of rich colonial architecture and very important archaeological centers of the pre-Inca era.
Overnight Trujillo. Driving distance approx 250kms
We have a full morning to visit the Huaca de la Luna, "Temple or Shrine of the Moon", and the small fishing port on the beach of Huanchaco famed for the fisherman who head out into the surf to fish from their frail totora reed boats. After lunch we have the afternoon to explore, Chan Chan, the largest ancient mud city in the world! A unique site famed for its beautiful wall murals and its sheer size, it covers an area of approximately 20 km and was built by the Chimu around AD 850 and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in AD 1470. It is estimated that around 30,000 people lived in the city of Chan Chan.
Today we have a full day's drive to Huaraz including a stop at the very narrow and spectacular Canon del Pato (Duck Gorge) where we take a couple of short walks and enjoy a picnic lunch. After lunch we continue on to the city of Huaraz, set at the foot of the spectacular Cordillera Blanca. Here we check in to our hotel where we'll stay for the next five nights. Overnight Huaraz. Driving distance approx 380kms.
Huaraz is a scenic town with views directly up to the highest peak in Peru, Huascaran (6768m). Huaraz and the mountain range in which it sits, the Cordillera Blanca, are considered by many, to be one of South America's most beautiful mountainous areas known for it's spectacular scenery, lakes, snowy mountains, dramatic waterfalls and trekking routes. Today we could make the drive to the turquoise blue glacier lake, Laguna 69 (4600m), for some great walking and spectacular views to the summits of Huascaran, Chopicalqui, Pisco, Huandoy, Yanapaccha and Chacraraju. This afternoon we return to Huaraz for the night. Overnight Huaraz. Driving distance approx 88kms.
Today we drive to the top of the Llaca Valley and hike to the face of the glacier on enormous Ranrapalca Mountain (6162m). After lunch we return back down the valley and our hotel in Huaraz. Overnight: Huaraz.
This morning we drive to Laguna Wilkacocha for a good hike before continuing to the archaeological site of Chavin de Huantar. After a picnic we return to Huaraz. Overnight: Huaraz. Driving distance approx 115kms.
Drive to Pitec (3850m) and then hike to Lake Tullpacocha (4300m) with great views of the mountains. Later this afternoon we return to Huaraz where we'll spend the night and enjoy a farewell meal together. Overnight: Huaraz.
Our journey almost complete, we make our way south by private vehicle to the coast once again - a full day's travel. On arrival to Lima we check into our hotel for the night. Overnight Lima. Driving distance approx 410kms.
Trip concludes in Lima after breakfast.