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Ancient Civilizations of Northern Peru

Itinerary in Brief:  Explore Some of the Less Visited Archaeological Wonders of Peru

  • Magnificent pre-Incan cultures
  • The Royal Tombs of Sipan
  • Massive ruins of the Kuelap fortress
  • Remote Revash and Karajia
  • Rarely visited sites of the Chachapoya
  • Can be customized/combined with Machu Picchu
  • See below for day by day details
  • Please call or email with questions

Day by Day Itinerary

Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)

Day 1      Chiclayo/The Royal Tombs of the Lord of Sipan

Upon arrival to Chiclayo you will be met by a local guide holding a sign with your name on it, who will welcome you to the area and accompany you on your visit to Sipan. Here you will visit the site where the Tombs of the Lord of Sipan were first discovered in 1987. You will have a privately-guided tour of the site, and will also be able to observe the ongoing excavations being conducted by archaeologists. After lunch, you will make a visit to the Museo de los Tumbes Reales, which houses an extraordinary collection of artifacts from the Sipan site and from the influential Moche culture in general. In the evening you will be transferred back to your hotel in the small town of Lambayeque.
Hosteria San Roque

Day 2      Chachapoyas

Today you start your trip to Chachapoyas, home to the fortress of Kuelap and other ruins of the “People of the Clouds.” This is a 10 hour scenic drive, with various stops, taking you up and over the Andes into the Upper Amazon basin on the eastern slopes of the range. Along the way you will see the transition from the bright green rice paddies of the lower elevations to the steep terraced fields of produce, and finally to the dense vegetation of the cloud forests.
Casa Vieja (B,L)

Day 3      Sarcophagi of Karajia

In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your visit to Karajia, a unique site with striking 10 foot high funerary towers that house mummies from the Chachapoya people. These tombs are set into the side of the cliffs, overlooking the Jucusbamba River below. After your visit to Karajia you will be transferred back to Chachpoyas for the night.
Casa Vieja (B,L)

Day 4      Visit to Kuelap

Today you have a full-day visit to the ancient ruins of Kuelap. Formally discovered in 1843, these ruins are among the most magnificent in all of Peru. Towering walls stretch nearly 700 meters around the site, which holds a commanding view over the surrounding valleys. Archaeologists estimate that the complex was once home to a population of 3500 people, with many times that number living outside its walls. After exploring the site and learning about its hundreds of years of history, you will transfer to Leimebamba for the night.
Casona de Leimebamba (B,L)

Day 5      Mausoleums of Revash

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for a visit to Revash, a series of colorful mausoleums dramatically set into the side of a steep cliff. The mausoleums were painted in shades of red and cream, and adorned with unique gabled roofs. This is a remarkable and seldom-visited site. Afterward, you will travel down the Rio Utcubamba to the Leimebamba Museum, which chronicles the history and society of the Chachapoya culture that dominated this region for centuries.
Casona de Leimebamba (B,L)

Day 6      Transfer to Cajamarca

In the morning you will transfer back over the Andes and down into the charming colonial town of Cajamarca, well known for its hot springs. Once a major city along the Incan highway system through the Andes, Cajamarca is of significant historical interest for being the site where the Inca ruler Atahualpa was captured by the Spanish conquistadors, ransomed for a room full of gold, and then executed, marking the end of the Inca Empire.
Laguna Seca (B,L)

Day 7      Return to Lima

Today you can either return to Lima or continue your exploration of this area with an extension. From Cajamarca, we can easily arrange an extension to Trujillo, where you can view the monumental ruins of the Temples of the Sun and Moon (also of the Moche culture), and the adobe pyramids at Chan Chan (of the Chimu culture). Any itinerary to this area of Peru can also be combined with a trip to the Cusco/Machu Picchu region. (B)