Northern Peru tour: unearthing the Chimú Empire & Moche civilisation

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    Look out over the Sonche Canyon in Northern Peru | Travel Nation
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    See the incredible Chan Chan ruins in Peru | Travel Nation

    See the incredible Chan Chan ruins in Peru

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    Explore the Kuelep ruins in Northern Peru | Travel Nation

    Explore the Kuelep ruins in Northern Peru

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    Watch the surfers on Huanchaco Beach at sunset | Travel Nation

    Watch the surfers on Huanchaco Beach at sunset

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    See the cliff side sarcophagi around the Kuelap ruins | Travel Nation

    See the cliff side sarcophagi around the Kuelap ruins

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    Hike to the beautiful Gocta waterfall | Travel Nation

    Hike to the beautiful Gocta waterfall

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    Spot squirrel monkeys as you hike in the amazon | Travel Nation

    Watch monkeys leap between trees in the Amazon

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    Soak up the stunning scenery of Northern Peru | Travel Nation

    Soak up the stunning scenery of Northern Peru

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 7

From: Trujillo

To: Chachapoyas



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: Peru

    This exploration into the histories and civilisations of northern Peru takes you on a remarkable journey, far beyond the tourist trail to well-loved Machu Picchu.

    This lesser-known region has well-preserved archaeological sites and complexes that tell a story that reaches back far beyond the Incas to the Chimú Empire, the Moche civilisation and the Chachapoya people who all etched their history into Peru’s landscapes, the ruins of which we’ve only recently rediscovered. Unearth the legacies and quirks of each fascinating civilisation and how they left their mark on Peruvians today whose ancestral fishing techniques and garment weaving still reflect traditions handed down and the old ways.

    This trip takes you off the beaten track into Peru’s history – go there now before everyone else discovers this fascinating region.

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements, please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Discover the mysteries of the Moche, Chimú and Chachapoya pre-Incan cultures
    • Witness changing landscapes of the Amazonas region to reach Chachapoyas
    • Admire the Gocta Waterfall, amongst the highest in the world at 771m
    • Hike deep into the Amazon rainforest
    • Ride the cable car to Kuelap fortress, the ‘Machu Picchu of the north’
    • Visit ancient mummies recovered from burial grounds around Condor Lagoon


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 2 nights in Trujillo
    • 1 night in Chiclayo
    • 3 nights in Chachapoyas


    Day 1: Trujillo  

    Today you will land in Trujillo in northern Peru, where you’ll be picked up and driven to your hotel. You have the rest of today at leisure to rest or explore a little.        

    Day 2: Trujillo and surroundings

    After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will collect you for a guided tour of Trujillo, with lunch included at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you’ll continue to the Chan Chan archaeological complex that around 1100 AD was the most important city of the pre-Incan Chimú Empire. It’s the largest mud city in the Americas.

    At 20km squared, the central complex is a group of ten, walled premises known as ‘citadels’ and other independent pyramids. The rest of the Chan Chan complex has several small structures, sidewalks, canals, walls and cemeteries which you can explore.

    Next, you’ll visit Huanchaco, a fishermen’s cove where you can still see old reed boats being used by the locals as part of their ancestral way of fishing. At the end of the day, you will be taken back to your hotel in Trujillo.      

    Day 3: The Lord of Sipán and Chiclayo        

    After breakfast, we’ve included a tour of the Huaca Rajada archaeological complex of pyramid-shaped, adobe brick, royal tombs from the Moche civilisation who lived on the Peruvian coast around 100-700 AD.

    In the 1980s, archaeologist Walter Alva uncovered an impressive Moche burial site and the tomb of the ‘Lord of Sipán’. You’ll also visit the Museum of the Royal Tombs in Lambayeque, which displays some of the artefacts found amongst the tombs, which were kept from looters. (Lunch is included at a local restaurant).

    Day 4: Chachapoyas  

    Today, you’ll be driven to the mountain city of Chachapoyas, the capital of the Amazonas region. The drive takes about eight hours, but you’ll stop at several places of interest, and you’ll pass through coffee and sugar plantations and typical Andean villages. When you arrive, you’ll be taken to your hotel, and you have the rest of the day to rest and relax after the journey.        

    Day 5: Gocta waterfall        

    Today you will hike to Cocachimba, a spot in the middle of the jungle that is home to several waterfalls, including Gocta Falls, which at a drop of 771m, is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world.

    Your walk takes you along a beautiful route full of lush vegetation, on the lookout for wild animals. Once you arrive, you can admire the falls and enjoy a refreshing spritz over from the spray!

    Day 6: Kuelap fortress        

    After breakfast, your guide will take you to the impressive Kuelap fortress, known as the ‘Machu Picchu of the north’. On the banks of the Utcubamba River, set amongst cloud forest, you reach the fortress via a 20-minute ride on a modern cable car.

    The fortress is an archaeological site that was built by the Chachapoyas culture who lived here around the 500-1100 AD. The large complex was originally inhabited and has 505 structures, distributed on several levels with walls stretching to 600m.

    On the way back, you’ll stop into the ghoulishly fascinating Leymebamba Museum. It is home to more than 200 mummies which were recovered from a mausoleum in the cliff face above the Condor Lagoon. Few burial sites escaped looting by the conquistadors, so these are precious finds.

    Day 7: Departure        

    After breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to the airport for your onward flight.         

    This itinerary can be enjoyed all year round but the drier months will be between May and September.  

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • 6 nights’ accommodation
    • All transfers and transportation in private vehicles
    • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Tours as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Entrance fees
    Not included
    • International and domestic flights
    • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
    • Tours not mentioned in the itinerary
    • Tips and personal expenses

    Six nights in 4* standard accommodation.

    Hotels in this category include:

    • Casa Andina Premium Trujillo

    • Casa Andina Select Chiclayo