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A Journey in Ancient Peru

from £3399
 Discover Peru’s Pre-Hispanic civilisations as we venture off the tourist track in Ancient Peru.

Guided Walking Holidays - A Journey in Ancient Peru

These are mystical places! They deserve respect both for their magnificence and their heritage. Above you the cliff face is dotted with caves, each containing the remains of the locals’ ancestors, people who have inhabited this valley since the beginnings of time. Like so many of the experiences on this holiday, human drama and history is mixed with spectacular scenery. A heady combination!

We start our journey in Lima, with an introduction to pre-Incan sites and ancient artefacts, before heading to Chiclayo on the coastal plains.  Here, we have a morning walk in the Bosque de Pomac forest, ending at the archaeological site of Sican. We visit the Senor de Sipan museum, built in the shape of the adobe pyramid where the artefacts were discovered.  Next,  it's  south  to Trujillo, a desert oasis between sea and mountains. Trujillo is a Spanish colonial city, one of a few Hispanic sites we visit on this holiday. We also visit the   ruined   city   at   Chan   Chan,   where   little imagination is required to see what it would have been like in its heyday. A day's drive into the highlands includes stops along the way to Cajamarca. Here we can enjoy mountain walks and Incan ruins in the cooler air.

The spectacular journey to Leymebamba crosses the central Andean mountains chain and the mighty Maranon river. At Leymebamba, we enjoy more stunning mountain scenery and  indigenous  culture.  We continue to Chachapoyas, meaning ‘Cloud  People'  in the Aymara language, still widely spoken in the area. Here, we visit the Sarcophagus of Karajia,  as well as Kuelap, a ruined  city  as  spectacular  as  Machu  Picchu  but without the crowds. We should be able to use the newly built cable car to visit the city. We will hike to the sacred Gocta waterfall, said to be the fifth highest in the world. Finally we drive to Jaen to catch a flight back to Lima for our final night in Peru.

Only recently has it been possible to enjoy these spectacular and little known sites. Everything you will see here is every bit as engaging as the more popular highlights in the south of Peru but without the crowds. Be one of the first to discover the area!

Holiday Highlights

  • Take the cable car to Kuelap - Machu Picchu of the north.
  • Glimpse Gocta, the 5th highest waterfall in the world.
  • See Atahualpa’s ransom room in Cajamarca.
  • Enjoy scenic walking to Cumbemayo.
  • Visit the beautifully laid out museum of Lord of Sipan.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Gatwick to Lima (British Airways)
      Airport transfers
      En suite accommodation with breakfasts taken in the hotels
      Dinners taken in hotels or local restaurants
      Lunches included throughout
      Assistance of an English speaking local guide throughout
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade SS/4

  1. Day 1

    We fly from London direct to Lima and transfer to our hotel.

  2. Day 2

    We start with a brief  tour of Lima, making short stops to get to know pre-Incan Lima, finishing with a guided visit to the Museo Larco, including  lunch in the beautiful museum restaurant. Later, we transfer to the airport to take the flight to Chiclayo where we travel a short distance to our hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

  3. Day 3

    This morning, we enjoy a walk in the Bosque de Pomac forest, ending at the archaeological site of Sican. We take our picnic lunch in the gardens of the  archaeological site of Tucume, where we’ll learn more. Finally, we visit the Senor de Sipan museum to see many fascinating artefacts and treasures which were discovered buried with the Senor. The design of the magnificent museum building is based on the original tomb, called Huaca Rajada. Tonight we have dinner in a Chiclayo restaurant.

  4. Day 4

    Today, we drive  to  Trujillo, stopping to visit the fascinating archaeological site of Huaca el Brujo, and the site museum of and La Senora de Cao en route. We will enjoy a packed lunch on the beach. In the afternoon  we have a guided walking tour around Trujillo, followed by some free time to relax.

  5. Day 5

    This morning we visit  the gigantic archaeological grave hills of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de Luna. Afterwards, we drive to the Pacific coast where we may see fishermen riding the waves in their traditional reed fishing boats. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant overlooking the sea. In the afternoon we will travel on to see the famous Chan Chan ruined city.  Chan Chan was the former capital of the Chimu culture.

  6. Day 6

    Today we drive on to Cajamarca. We will be travelling all day, but the journey into the highlands is very scenic and we have lots of interesting stops on the way. 

  7. Day 7

    In the morning, we  will walk in the Cumbemayo geological-archaeological park, and see the remarkable ancient aqueduct, which is decorated with strange  ritual carvings and symbols. Our walk takes us into the local countryside where we will take our picnic. On the way back from Cumbemayo we will enjoy panoramic views from the bus of Cajamarca and its surrounding valley from the Apolonia Hilltop. From here, we walk down to Cajamarca for a short tour of the city. Highlights include the main square and the famous 'Ransom Room',  the  last  Inca  building in  the  city. There will be time for a coffee stop before returning to the hotel.

  8. Day 8

    In the morning we visit  Otuzco,  a  remarkable  necropolis  where  we will see more than 300 niches carved out of the natural volcanic rocky hillside.  These niches contained the human remains of the people who once lived here.  We  then  drive  up through the surrounding mountains to Combayo. From here, we will walk in the beautiful countryside, amongst local  farms  and  hills, and  discover  more niche burial sites up on the seemingly inaccessible steep mountain sides.  We will have a picnic lunch, enjoying spectacular views.  After lunch, we return to Cajamarca for a free afternoon with an opportunity to relax in the thermal pools and spa at the hotel. Alternatively, take time to explore the centre of the city. 

  9. Day 9

    Our journey today takes us across  the  central  Andean range, through Abra Comullc. At 3800m, this is the highest point we will  reach during our holiday.  We  will  then drive  down  to  cross  the spectacular Maranon  River  at  Balsas  (854m).  We  will  travel through an incredible display of eco diversity including high altitude moorland, mountain cloud, dry scrub and riverbank forests, and stunning valleys. We will stop for lunch en-route, arriving late in theafternoon  at  the  charming  town  of  Leymebamba (2203m) at   the   headwaters   of   the Utcubamba valley. 

  10. Day 10

    Today begins with a visit to the remarkable collection of artefacts and mummified remains housed  in the Leymebamba Museum. We will have time for coffee (possibly the best you will taste on the holiday!) at the Hummingbird Cafe next to the museum. If we are lucky, we may see some of the delightful hummingbirds after whom the cafe is named.  After lunch we walk up to get a closer look at the incredible Mausoleums of Revash. Here, a cliff conceals a sacred burial site comprising a row of Chachapoya tombs built amongst narrow cliff hangings in the shape of miniature houses.  These fascinating structures were used to store the mummified remains of the dead. Afterwards, we return for a second night in Leymebamba.

  11. Day 11

    We drive from Leymebamba to  Nuevo Tingo.  Here, the recently constructed cable car system  takes us to Kuelap, a magnificent fortified citadel  high up amongst the clouds at 3000m.  The Chachapoya people built this large and impressive city around 1600 years ago. Kuelap is breathtaking, not least because of its unique, mystical and inaccessible location, and its many yet undiscovered archaeological mysteries. Our journey continues along the scenic Utcubamba Valley for 2hrs 30mins to the city of Chachapoyas (2300m) where we stay overnight.

  12. Day 12

    This morning we drive north to the village of Cruz Pata, where we walk into the Aishpachaca gorge.  Here we will see Karajia, an elite burial site where a group of huge human-shaped sarcophagi once contained the mummified remains of Chachapoya rulers and leaders. In the afternoon we have some free time to explore Chachapoyas.

  13. Day 13

    From Chachapoyas we drive to Cocachimba, where we begin a pleasant  hike to the sacred Gocta waterfall.    We walk along a well constructed  path through beautiful scenery before entering a narrow gorge where we can see the spectacular waterfall, said by some to be the fifth highest in the world.  The waterfall was only discovered by accident around 10 years ago! 

  14. Day 14

    We leave Chachapoyas after breakfast to drive down to Jaen de Bracamoros, (729m). From here we catch a flight back to Lima where we spend our last night. Lunch today will be taken on the way to Jaen airport. Once back in Lima we will have our final dinner in a local restaurant.

  15. Day 15

    After breakfast we will have some free time in Lima before our return flight to the UK.

  16. Day 16

    We arrive back in the UK.

Travel Details

  • Flights: Gatwick-Lima, British Airways.          
  • Arrival transfer by road (c30mins).
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Hotel San Agustin Exculsive Lima

Situated in the Miraflores area of Lima the San Agustin is modern comfortable and provides a welcoming, comfortable bed after the long flight from Europe. It offers all usual facilities, TV, minibar and free Wi-Fi. Miraflores is a modern area filled with cafes and shops, it is an ideal base for our exploration of Lima.

La Laguna Seca, Cajamarca

La Laguna Seca ('dry lake' in English) is a lovely hotel situated by thermal springs just outside the city of Cajamarca. The hotel offers all the usual comforts, TV, minibar and free wifi but also bath tubs which use the natural hot waters from the thermal springs. The hotel claim the waters offer 'the stimulation of the defence of the organism, the relaxation of the stress, the soothing of the muscles, the reconstruction of the skin toning and the benefit for the joints'.