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The ancient ruins of Chan Chan in Peru

Northern Peru 4x4 Self-Drive Safari


This Peru adventure holiday encompasses the stunning scenery, rich culture, cuisine, and history of Peru. Drive your own expedition 4×4 vehicle on a 17-day adventure around northern Peru with routes spanning the most spectacular mountain ranges and roads that Peru has to offer.

Explore the fascinating yet little visited pre-Inca archaeological sites of northern Peru combined with the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. Self-driving allows exploration way beyond the normal tourist path and makes for an unforgettable adventure. A guide vehicle will accompany throughout the trip providing communication services, local liaison and back up for driving if needed.

A 4×4 with two experienced guides will always be at the head of the four-vehicle convoy, and in two-way radio contact at all times. They will give information on the surrounding highlights, answer your questions and offer guidance on driving techniques. A guide is always available to take over if you feel tired or are not confident with any section of the route.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Amazon driving, Peru Safari, Peru 1

Drive a 4x4

Drive your own expedition four-wheel drive vehicle around northern Peru.

Revash Northern Peru 2

Expert Guidance

Travel with expert guides travelling in a second vehicle and make use of a two-way radio.

Huayhuash, Huarez, Peru 3

Off the Beaten Track

Spend time in Huaraz, Leymebamba, Chiclay and Trujillo.

Mountain Range, Cajamarca, Northern Andes, Peru 4

Iconic Routes

Drive a route featured in the Financial Times ‘A ‘Top Gear’-style road trip through Peru’.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1


  • Day 2

    Lima - Chiquian

  • Day 3

    Chiquian - Llanganuco

  • Day 4


  • Day 5

    Llanganuco - Huamachucho

  • Day 6

    Huamachuco - Cajamarca

  • Day 7


  • Day 8

    Cajamarca - Leymebamba

  • Day 9

    Leymebamba - Kuelap - Gocta Falls

  • Day 10

    Gocta Falls

  • Day 11

    Gocta Falls - Tucume

  • Day 12


  • Day 13

    Tucume - Trujillo

  • Day 14


  • Day 15

    Trujillo - Caral

  • Day 16

    Caral - Lima

  • Day 17


Day 1


Day 2

Lima - Chiquian

Day 3

Chiquian - Llanganuco

Day 4


Day 5

Llanganuco - Huamachucho

Day 6

Huamachuco - Cajamarca

Day 7


Day 8

Cajamarca - Leymebamba

Mummies, Leymebamba, Peru

Day 9

Leymebamba - Kuelap - Gocta Falls

Kuelap Fortress Chachapoyya civilization, Peru

Day 10

Gocta Falls

Day 11

Gocta Falls - Tucume

Day 12


Tucume, Chiclayo, Northern Peru

Day 13

Tucume - Trujillo

Day 14


Colonial Church, Trujillo, Peru

Day 15

Trujillo - Caral

Day 16

Caral - Lima

Day 17


Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Low Activity
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.


To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by an English speaking guide throughout
  • Accompanied by a guide vehicle throughout
  • Picnic style lunches en-route
  • All dinners except Lima, Cajamarca and Trujillo
  • Breakfast included in all hotels
  • Range of accommodation

What is excluded

  • International flights
  • Fuel (normal fuel cost is around £180 per vehicle for the trip)
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
  • Additional meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • You will need to pay a fully refundable damage security deposit of £1,100 locally in Peru. This is to cover the insurance excess and damage.
Laguna Llanganuco, Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz, Peru
Laguna Llanganuco, Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz, Peru
Huascaran National Park, Peru
Huascaran National Park, Peru

Off the Beaten Track

The first part of this trip is based in central Peru around the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Begin your adventure in Lima, and then head north through the coastal desert to Chiquian. Continue to the UNESCO archaeological site at Chavin which dates back to 1200BC. It is a special site with a large central ceremonial square and a system of underground caves and tunnels. From Chavin, head ‘off the beaten track’, travelling further north to Huascaran National Park, with time at leisure to explore on foot.

Mountain Range, Cajamarca, Northern Andes, Peru
Mountain Range, Cajamarca, Northern Andes, Peru

Traditional Andean Towns

Continue onto the Canyon del Pato, the road here is not for the faint-hearted, as it snakes along a path hewn out of sheer rock, over a precipitous gorge and passing through 54 tunnels. Next morning, leave for Cajamarca, a charming Andean town with colonial churches and architecture.

Kuelap Fortress Chachapoyya civilization, Peru

Ancient Citadels

Journey into the Amazonas region, exploring the citadel of Kuelap, the largest ancient stone structure in South America, built in the 6th century AD. It is a fascinating site with over 400 buildings encircled by huge stone walls. It is a keen contender to rival Machu Picchu in stature but not in visitor numbers, it is quite likely no-one else will be there.

Mummies, Leymebamba, Peru
Leymebamba, Peru

Pre Inca Mummies

From this mystical and mist enshrouded fortress, descend to Leymebamba to visit a superb small museum that houses over 200 Chachapoyan (pre Inca) mummies that were recently discovered in a secret tomb overlooking the Laguna de los Condores.

Driving in Peru

Time at the wheel is variable dependent on road conditions and weather etc. However, for each day you should calculate around six hours, there are some rest days and shorter days too. You will have picnic and coffee stops along the way. The roads are spectacular, and mainly tarmac, although you will be expected to do some off-road driving on some days. It is essential that you have full concentration while driving, and can stop for a break at any time if feeling tired. On average six hours per day, which included picnics, coffee breaks and photo stops. Bear in mind it’s not six hours on the M1. You will be on truly epic roads with spectacular scenery. However…If you don’t enjoy driving, this may not be the tour for you.

Mountain Range, Cajamarca, Northern Andes, Peru
Mountain Range, Cajamarca, Northern Andes, Peru

The vehicles are Toyota Hilux 4×4 expedition trucks, professionally prepared for this Peru overland adventure. With smooth and powerful 3.0 turbo diesel engines, and a host of special expedition accessories. As part of this tour, there will be three vehicles, plus the guide vehicle, with a maximum of four persons per vehicle. For solo travellers wanting to join this trip there is the option to drive your own vehicle at a supplement cost, alternatively, you can travel in the lead vehicle with the local guide at no additional cost. In northern Peru, Chachapoyas and Leymebamba, the altitude is around 2,300 metres, this will rise to just over 3,000 metres on the road to Cajamarca. In central Peru, Huaraz is at 3,100 metres, whilst during the treks reach altitudes of between 3,800 and 4,600 metres.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay 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.

View Property

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.

View Property

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

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Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

Why Steppes