Northern Peru is often overlooked by travellers who tend to head south to the famous Inca sites including Machu Picchu but the rich diversity of the ancient civilisations of the north are well worthy of in-depth exploration also. And as a bonus, you will be far from the madding crowds as you discover a part of Peru that is truly rural and unspoilt. From mighty pyramid complexes to dramatic hilltop cities and hidden burial sites, you will be fascinated by the cultures that once flourished here.
The northern coastal region between Trujillo and Chiclayo yields some great treasures of its own for those who want to discover more about ancient cultures even older than the Incas. From hoardes of golden treasures discovered at the burial site of the ‘Lord of Sipan’, to the intricate designs carved in the vast adobe city at Chan Chan and the brutal history behind the Temple of the Moon and the Sun with its vividly painted giant frescoes, you will be intrigued by the ancient history and civilisations of this region. Explore the amazing remains of the pyramids at Tucumé, remnants of part of a vast complex of some 250 or more pyramids. Stroll around the colonial square of Trujillo after having lunch by the coast on delicious fresh seafood and watching the local fishermen ‘surf’ back into the beach atop their traditional reed boats, known as ‘caballitos’, after hauling in their catch for the day.
Venturing further inland by 4WD and leaving the paved roads behind takes you through forest and desert to Chachapoyas, where you can be one of the few to walk among the spherical structures of the hillside city of Kuelap and discover the mummies and remote burial sites of the mysterious Cloud People, about whom we still know relatively little. You are likely to be one of a mere handful of visitors to these intriguing sites, many of which are still undergoing archaeological investigations. Accommodation here is very basic and road journeys can be long but the reward is a wonderful opportunity to uncover some of Peru’s forgotten history of sophisticated civilisations that flourished long before the rise of the Inca empire and meet local people from its remotest villages and small spa towns such as Leymebamba and Cajamarca.
We would be delighted to talk to you about your own journey of discovery through a fascinating period of Peru’s history in the North.