Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
We fly from London direct to Lima and transfer to our hotel. We arrive late so no dinner is provided for tonight.
We start with a morning panoramic city tour of Lima, then lunch at Café del Museo Larco. Later in the day we transfer to the airport to take the flight to Chiclayo. On arrival we transfer to the short distance to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Driving north out of town we visit the Bosque de Pomac, the largest dry forest west of the Andes, with time to walk and hopefully spot some of the spectacular birdlife. We continue to Tucume taking in the new site Museum and ancient citadel of Tucume, a remarkable archaeological project. Later visit Tumbas Reales de Sipan. This museum is notable for its architecture, built in the shape of the old tomb from the Lord of Sipan and contents, a great collection with many artefacts that were found in the tomb.
We drive to Trujillo taking a look the archeological sites of Huaca el Brujo and La Senora de Cao en route. We will take lunch on the beach at the lady of Cao site. In the afternoon we have a guided walking tour of this most colonial of cities and some free time to enjoy the atmosphere.
We start with a tour of the gigantic archeological grave hills of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de Luna. Later we drive down to the Pacific coast at Huanchaco. The Pacific rollers washing up the beach make it a popular place for surfers. This is a chance to see traditional reed fishing boats riding the waves. Lunch will be in a seafront restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to visit the famous Chan Chan ruins, the former capital of the Chimu culture. This is archaeology on an immense scale.
We drive to inland and up into the mountains at Cajamarca. This is long day with plenty of travelling but we make plenty of stops including at the high pass on the road into Cajamarca. We stay at Banos del Inca outside the city amongst the thermal spas that give the town its name.
We start to the historical thermal springs “Baños del Inca”, where Incan King Atahualpa was enjoying a bath when the Spanish conquistadores arrived.
Next we drive up into the mountains surrounding Cajamarca to Cumbemayo to walk along the remarkable Inca canal taking water across the watershed of the Andes. The walk takes about 2 1/2 hrs at a gentle pace on good paths. We are at 3500m here so we will not rush. We will have a boxed lunch on this walk. Later we walk from Apolonia Hill, a great viewpoint over Cajamarca to the main square. Highlights include the famous 'ransom room', the last Inca building existing in the city and the colonial cloister of Bethlehem integrating its beautiful baroque church and two hospital buildings dating back to the XVIII century.
In the morning we visit Otuzco, a remarkable necropolis with more than 300 niches excavated from volcanic tuff to bury and worship the dead. We then drive up the Chonta valley passed stands of eucalyptus trees to view the spectacular cliff tombs at Combayo. We will take a 2hr walk to explore the upper ridge of the archaeological site surrounded by spectacular scenery.
Leaving Cajamarca we drive up over the Comullca Pass, at 3800m the highest point we reach on this holiday, descend to Celendin, famed for its hat making, over the Abra Jelic (3200m) and descend to the Maranon Valley. We will get out of the bus for a 30 - 40min walk to enjoy more spectacular scenery on the way down. The town of Balsas on the Maranon River is at 800m. You will notice extreme temperature differences from Comullca, perhaps 5oC to Balsas, probably nearer 35oC. We will stop for lunch in Balsas and perhaps enjoy a fresh coconut in the heat. From the valley we continue passed groves of mango trees up to Calla Calla Pass (3600m) to arrive mid to late afternoon at the charming town of Leymebamba (2203m) nestled at the headwaters of the Utcubamba valley. This a long but spectacular journey. We have plenty of stops to enjoy the changes in scenery, geology, wildlife and plant life. It is be savoured.
We depart from Leymebamba to the town of Nuevo Tingo to board the cable car system to visit the magnificent fortified citadel of Kuelap (3000 m). Construction was started by the Chachapoya people about 1600 years ago. Kuelap impresses the visitor due to its gigantic construction scale, its unique location and its many yet undiscovered archaeological mysteries. After visiting we return for a second night in Leymebamba.
Today we start by visiting the remarkable collection preserved by in the Leymebamba Museum. We will also have time for a coffee at the cafe next door. Here they put out hummingbird feeders so hopefully we can enjoy the spectacle of hummingbirds sipping nectar whilst we sip our coffee. After lunch we hike up to get a closer look at the incredible Mausoleums of Revash. Look out for orchids in the undergrowth on the way up. The cliff conceals a sacred burial site composed by a row of Chachapoya tombs constructed over narrow cliffhangings in shape of miniature houses, to host the mummified remains of their elite ancestors. It takes about 2hrs at gentle pace to reach the viewpoint for the tombs. A pair of binoculars is essential to fully appreciate the fine detail. We then walk another hour up to the village of San Bartolo to meet out transport. Our journey continues along the scenic Utcubamba Valley for 2hrs 30mins to reach the city of Chachapoyas (2300m) where we overnight.
We drive north to the village of Cruz Pata, where we walk into the Aishpachaca gorge, an elite burial site preserving the extraordinary cliff tombs of Karajía, a group of human-shaped sarcophagi where the Chachapoya rendered cult to the mummified remains of their leaders. From here we can walk on to visit the cave of Quiocta to admire the beautiful rock formations.
From Chachapoyas we drive to Cocachimba, to start a pleasant trek following a well constructed path which crosses through cultivated fields before entering a narrow gorge covered by beautiful cloud forest to see the third highest waterfall on earth: “Gocta”.
Depart Chachapoyas after breakfast we drive bound to Jaén de Bracamoros, (729m) to catch a flight to Lima where we spend our last night. Lunch today will only be a boxed snack as there is no time to visit a restaurant.
After breakfast we will have some free time in Lima before our return flight to the UK.
We arrive back in the UK.