Martin Fletcher writes for the Financial Times

In Peru, most travellers head southwards to the tourist hotspots of Cusco and Machu Picchu, but Martin Fletcher revs up a 4×4 for a 2,000-mile drive through the Andes, from coastal deserts to rainforests and from the present day deep into the past.

Why we like this itinerary and you should travel to this part of the world?

Our strapline is ‘discover extraordinary’ and that is exactly what this itinerary does – pushes boundaries.

As Martin writes, “our expedition leader, had warned us to “expect the unexpected” when we left Lima a week earlier at the start of a 2,000-mile road trip that could best be described as a cross between Top Gear and Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Why should you travel with us, Steppes Travel?

Not only are our itineraries designed to take you off the beaten track and give you a unique perspective but our connections and guides open doors for you, giving you privileged insight. “At Lambayeque, our expedition leader’s well-connected wife had persuaded Walter Alva, a leading Peruvian archaeologist, to show us round the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum.”

What are the highlights?

The highlights are the scenery – “marvelling at the majestic scenery: the great black slopes and glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca range towering above us, and the vast green bowls and deserted valleys tapering away below.” And “Our vehicles were tiny specks in that epic landscape, and even they laboured for lack of oxygen.”

The lack of people – “no supermarkets or hotel chains”. Bucolic scenes – “we climbed out of the valley past girls on mules carrying milk to market and “vaqueros” on horseback driving herds of cattle.” And “We began our journey back in time, passing campesinos (farmers) preparing tiny plots with ox-drawn ploughs, women labouring under great bundles of forage, old ladies in traditional wide-brimmed hats and ponchos spinning wool beside the road.”

The Museum of Sipan is an undoubted highlight, as Martin writes, “We gasp. Arranged on shelves in a glass-fronted chamber are some 200 mummies, a couple of them mere babies. None is less than 500 years old. All are tied in foetal positions. Some are still in embroidered burial bags, while others hide their gaping eyes and skulls with bony fingers covered in shrivelled skin. It is an astounding sight.”

Thanks for reading

Jarrod Kyte

Author: Jarrod Kyte