7D/6N North Coast of Peru Tour
Archaeology, history, nature & gastronomy
There are many reasons to visit the northern coast of Peru and this program encompasses all of the best! Throughout the seven days, we will visit colonial cities, modern cities, archaeological sites, and dreamy landscapes that are likely to exceed your expectations. It is a tour filled with beautiful sights and interesting information that is sure to keep you entertained every step of the way. If you are a lover of archaeology, history, nature, and gastronomy, this is sure to be an excellent tour for you!
Day 1: Lima – Caral – Casma
Our tour guide will pick you up in Lima (either from the airport or your hotel) and drive you three hours in a private vehicle to the city of Caral, the oldest city in America. Caral was excavated in 1996 and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO shortly after due to its diverse and extensive stone buildings. Approximately 150 carbon dating tests have been taken around the city and suggest that it was built five thousand years ago making it the oldest sacred city of the continent. After we visit Caral, we will continue heading north for about three hours and arrive in Casma around 6:00 pm where we will eat dinner and stay the night at the selected hotel. Lunch included.
Day 2: Cerro Sechín – Chanquillo
We will begin in the morning with a trip to Cerro Sechin, an archaeological site located near Casma built around 4,300 years ago. While we are here, we will visit the large main temple where we will see large blocks and stone pillars with artwork depicting the legendary warriors and human sacrifices of the culture. We will also visit the museum Max Uhle which has an incredible collection of ceramics, textiles, stone artifacts, and mummies that were found in this area. The Max Uhle Museum also has information about other nearby sites that will give us some quality introductory information for our next destination. After lunch, we will go to Chanquillo and look at the the oldest calendar in the Americas. Here, in the desert, we will see “the pillars of the Sun” that have marked solstices, equinoxes, and seasons for nearly 2600 years. We will then visit the main temple which was thought to be a fortress for a long time but is now understood to have been a ceremonial site where pilgrims saw the sun god illuminating the thirteen towers. After we conclude our tour of Chanquillo (approx. 4:30 pm) we will go back to Casma and stay overnight in the hotel. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 3: Casma – Trujillo Historic City Center
We will begin our morning with a journey north to Trujillo, the third largest city in Peru. On the trip, which takes about four hours, we will see fertile valleys, arid desert, and the industrial city of Chimbote which has become the symbol of the steel and fish production in the country. When we arrive in Trujillo, we will eat lunch and then explore the historic center of the city by visiting its main buildings, churches, parks, and streets. On this tour we will also make a stop at a toy museum and see the collection of Jose Cassinelli where you can see thousands of archaeological pieces in excellent condition. This tour is usually done on foot, but if you prefer to walk less we can provide you with a car service for the visit to the Cassinelli collection. After the conclusion of this day tour (approx. 4:30 pm), we will drive you to the hotel in Trujillo to spend the night. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 4: Huacas de Moche & Chan Chan
We begin our fourth day of the tour with a visit to one of the biggest attractions in northern Peru – the Temples of the Moon and the Sun. This is an archaeological site of the Moche culture built around 100 AD that was excavated by Peruvian archaeologists in 1992. This site is a brilliant presentation of the sophistication of this pre-Columbian civilization that thrived some 1300 years ago. The museum on site is sure to fascinate you with its beautiful collection of exquisite ceramics, textiles, wood carvings and jewelry while the pyramid itself will impress you with its incredibly well preserved polychrome murals in high relief and marvelous architecture. In the afternoon, after eating lunch at the most popular seaside resort in Huancaco, we will head to the Chan Chan archaeological complex. This archaeological site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 and is considered the most extensive citadel of mud in the world. We will visit one of the nine “palaces” that make up the immense archaeological site and see ceremonial spaces decorated with motifs of great artistic quality. After this tour we will return to Trujillo (approx. 5:00 pm) to spend the night at the hotel. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 5: Huaca el Brujo – Transfer to Chiclayo
We begin this day driving north towards the city of Chiclayo. On the way, we will stop at the Huaca El Brujo located about thirty minutes away from the Panamerican Highway. This huaca has perhaps the most breathtaking views of the northern coast of Peru. It is a site from which you can see the desert, vast farmland, and the Pacific Ocean. We will then make a visit to the White Huaca which has murals of great beauty. You will see the “Lady of Cao” who was discovered in 2006 by a team of Peruvian archaeologists and is thought to be a high ranking priestess or even a Moche ruler. Afterwards, we will tour the rest of the museum that unveils 5,000 years of the region’s history. In the afternoon, we will continue the journey to Chiclayo and arrive about three hours after we leave the El Brujo complex. If you wish, we always have the flexibility to stop en route for photos or bathrooms. When we arrive in Chiclayo, we will go to the hotel (approx. 5:00 pm) and spend the night. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 6: Ruta Sicán
We dedicate our sixth day of the tour to the Lambayeque culture (also known as Sican) which is one of the pre-Columbian societies of the region that was more developed in metallurgy. We will begin our morning driving to the northeast and visiting the Chiclayo Sican National Museum. This museum houses two elite tombs discovered by the Japanese archaeologist, Izumi Shimada. These tombs were discovered in the northern shelf of one of the huacas called Huaca Loro. The museum, though small, is quite didactic and has a gold room where the great funerary equipment of these former rulers is displayed. The tour continues with forest of Pomac, which is one of the four historic shrines of Peru. It has more than 5,800 hectares of land that are home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles as well as typical equatorial dry forest and the fabulous archaeological site of Batan Grande – Sican where two of the pristine tombs from the museum were found. In the afternoon, we will visit Túcume, an archaeological center with the most extensive pyramids in the region. We will visit a neat lookout and then walk the halls of the local museum to look at beautiful pieces made by the Lambayeque, Chimu, and Incas. After visiting the museum we will take a tour of Huaca Las Balsas – the smallest pyramid site in the area but also the most decorated. It has friezes in high relief that provide us with great information about the life of the Peruvian ancestors. Following our tour of Huaca Las Balsas, we will head back to the hotel in Chiclayo (approx. 5:30 pm) and spend the night. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 7: Ruta Sipán
On the last day of our tour, we visit one of the oldest archaeological sites in Peru and see the fabulous royal tombs of the Moche. After breakfast we will go southeast to the iconic archaeology site of Huaca Rajada – Sipán, an archeology site that was discovered and excavated between 1987-1990 and contains a wealth of information about the history of the Moche culture. While visiting the site, we will see the famous Lords of Sipán tomb as well as 14 others that are arranged in their original location. After leaving Huaca Rajada – Sipán, we will go to Ventarrón, a site that was recently excavated in 2007 and contains the earliest polychrome walls of the Americas. The main pyramid, built about five thousand years ago, has three well-preserved levels that have stunning art murals. The site offers a great opportunity to closely observe ancient paintings as well as see other pyramids in the area from the top of the Ventarrón huaca lookout. After a traditional lunch in Lambayeque, we will visit the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum which is considered to be the best in the north of the country and one of the top ten museums in the world (according to the magazine Art News in 2010). This museum is home to the famous “Lords of Sipán” tomb that was discovered in 1987 by Walter Alva and is the burial site for dignitaries of the highest rank in the Moche culture. All of the pieces that the museum presents are original and have artistic quality equal to the greatest civilizations in world history. In the afternoon (approx. 6:30 pm) we will go to the Chiclayo airport where you will have time to check in and board your flight. Breakfast and lunch included.
|Departure||Lima, Peru (either from the airport or your hotel)|