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Chachapoyas Sarcophages, Peru

Northern Peru

Northern Peru is a fascinating area of the country that very few tourists visit. It is rich and varied in terms of geography, culture and archaeology.

Remarkably, many of the pre-Inca sites have remained hidden for hundreds of years, only having been discovered in the last decade or two. The north offers coastal towns and beaches, secluded mountain villages, Andean peaks blanketed in lush forest and lowlands home to the Amazon jungle. The northern coast and highlands of Peru are immensely rewarding to anyone who makes it this far.

Revash Northern Peru
Peru

A little more about Northern Peru

Whether you harbour a keen interest in pre-Colombian history or are merely curious, the craggy northernmost regions of Peru are home to many of the greatest archaeological treasures in the country. Largely unexplored, the sweeping Pacific coastline, rolling valleys and steep highlands swathed in forest prevail as the best kept secrets of explorers, historians and trekkers worldwide.

Chan Chan, Peru
Chan Chan, Peru

Trujillo

Located on the northern coast of Peru, the historical city of Trujillo with its churches and colonial homes is surrounded by pre-Columbian sites. Close by are the impressive ruins of Chan Chan which is the largest adobe city in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a complex labyrinth of adobe passageways carved with beautiful and intricate murals. It’s a sight to enthuse and encompasses several royal compounds, temples, dwellings and burial chambers. Also close to Trujillo are the sacred pyramids, Huaca del Sol (Temple of the Sun) the largest adobe structure in the Americas and the smaller Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon) with its amazing murals. As well as the archaeologic sites, there are good local beaches and surfing possibilities.

Plaza de Armas of Chiclayo, Peru
Plaza de Armas , Chiclayo, Peru

Chiclayo

The small settlement of Chiclayo sandwiched between the Andes and Pacific Ocean is close to two of the most famous sites for pre-Columbian art; Sipan of the Moche culture and Tucume with its pyramids, walled citadels and ancient cemeteries.

Kuelap, Chachapoyas, Peru
Chachapoyas, Peru

Chachapoyas

Chachapoyas is a small town in the Andes, the base to explore some of Peru’s most spectacular pre-Colombian remains. Visit the cliff burial centres of Karajia with the huge stone sarcophagi and Revash with the colourful house-like tombs. The most impressive site in this region is the mighty fortress of Kuelap, perched majestically on mountaintop cliffs overlooking the verdant Andean landscape. Kuelap is a keen contender to rival the stature of Machu Picchu, the largest ancient stone structure in South America. Dominating a ridge high above the Rio Utcubamba with some 400 cylindrical ruins to explore, the citadel provides vital clues into the legacy of fierce Chachapoyas warriors who fought there.

Ventanillas de Otuzco, Cajamarca. Peru
Ventanillas de Otuzco, Cajamarca, Peru

Cajamarca and Mancora

Cajamarca is a charming Andean city in the highlands of northern Peru with a surprisingly pleasant climate. It is well known for its hot springs and colonial architecture, in particular, the colonial churches including the Cathedral, San Francisco church, and the Belen Monument Complex.

The sun drenched beaches of the far north offer a haven to surfers who flock to resort towns such as Mancora and Hianchaco to take advantage of consistently good surf and excellent seafood restaurants.

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Learn Moche Culture

Discover the mysteries of the Moche people and examine the remarkably well-preserved artefacts at the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum.

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Travel to Kuelap

Visit the huge walled mountain citadel built by the Chachapoyas culture in northern Peru and ride its contemporary cable car system.

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Journey the Moche Route

Head off the beaten track, discovering the archaeological highlights and incredible artefacts of northern Peru.

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Visit the Leymebamba Museum

See the fascinating collection of more than 200 mummies that were excavated in 1997 from the Laguna of the Condors.

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Need Inspiration?
Browse our Peru holiday ideas.

Our Peru experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Accommodation

Below is some of the wonderful accommodation to include on your journey.

Kentitambo Lodge £££££

  • Peru
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Kentitambo is a family-run boutique hotel nestled on a hillside in Leymebamba. The hotel has two huge rooms with wide balconies to relax and take in the views. This is a step above most of the other hotels in the area in terms of comfort. The gardens are delightful, with fish ponds, orchids and rare hummingbirds everywhere. Further up the hill behind the rooms is the main house where meals are served. Guests are welcome to walk into the kitchen and watch as the food is prepared or sit by the open fire and relax.

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Gocta Andes Lodge £££££

  • Peru

The lodge, as the name suggests, sits on a peaceful hillside overlooking the stunning Gocta Falls. The falls were only discovered in 2006 and are one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, a pretty special site to wake to each morning. Most of the property has a view of the waterfall, including all of the 12 rooms and the infinity pool. There are 10 huge standard rooms and two suites, each with a balcony or terrace. The location is perfect for exploring the Chachapoyas region and is the start point of the hike to the falls.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Bird

Reaching the sun gate and marvelling over Machu Picchu unveiled one of the most impressive landscapes that Paul has seen in his global travels.

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  • 01285 880 980

James Armitage

Having walked the full Inca Trail and arrived at the Sun Gate, it is in looking down over the mist-shrouded Machu Picchu ruins that James experienced the magic of the Incas.

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  • 01285 880 980

Roxy Dukes

If your passion is the outdoors and you are looking to delve into South American culture, Roxy recommends one of the lodge-to-lodge hiking programmes to explore the Sacred Valley and beyond. Hopping between the quiet mountain towns, meet the locals that live off the grid and immerse yourself in the welcoming spirit of Peru.

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  • 01285 880 980

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