Day 1, Sunday: Lima. Arrive to Lima, and transfer to the hotel Thunderbird Las Americas.
Day 2, Monday: Lima - Trujillo. We start our day between the streets of the City of Eternal Spring because of its year round spring-like climate, Trujillo is the third largest city in Peru and one of the most beautiful, due to its colonial charm. Trujillo was founded in 1534 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro who named it after his birthplace in Spain. During the city tour you will stroll along the beautiful main square surrounded by the Cathedral and brightly painted Colonial mansions with lovely doorways, balconies and courtyards. You will see the most important buildings of this City such as La Merced Church and some mansions such as Casa del Mayorazgo, Casa Orbegozo and Casa de la Emancipacion, where you will marvel at their well-preserved traditional architecture.
Immediately we will visit the Archaeological Museum of the National University of Trujillo, one of Peru's best collections of ceramics, textiles and metal artifacts from various Pre-Columbian civilizations. After this we visit the two most important Moche ceremonial centers, located in the countryside, 5 km south of Trujillo. The Huaca or Temple of the Sun is a huge terraced pyramid measuring approximately 43 meters high (the tallest pyramid in the Americas), which is estimated to have involved over 200000 workers in its construction and over 140 million adobe bricks. Some 500 meters away is the Huaca or Temple of the Moon, the Moche political center where recently uncovered friezes of mystical images are believed to belong to a divinity of sacrifices. Ongoing excavations by Peruvian and foreign scholars are revealing the complexity of this fascinating structure.
Continue to Chan Chan, the ancient capital of the Chimu Kingdom (700-1400 AD), which reached its peak in the 15th century, many centuries after the collapse of the Moche Culture and not long before falling to the Incas. The planning of this huge adobe city, the largest in pre-Columbian America, reflects a strict political and social strategy, marked by the city's division into nine "citadels" or "palaces" forming autonomous units. The Chimu called it Jang-Jang, which in the ancient Moche language means "sun-sun". Marvel at this fascinating city, UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986. Lunch will be served in the seashore village of Huanchaco, known for its "caballitos de totora" - a typical small reed boat still used by the local fishermen, as their ancestors did centuries ago.
Day 3, Tuesday: Trujillo - Chiclayo. El Brujo archaeological complex is located in the Chicama Valley about 50 kilometers north of Trujillo. It dates back to the Moche Culture (100 BC-650 AD) and is one the most impressive sites of Northern Peru. The complex is famous for its colorful mural ornamentation discovered in the 90's.
Its current name "El Brujo" (the Sorcerer) is due to the common practice of shamans of the North coast who hold some of their healing ceremonies on prominent hills or "huacas" (ancient temples or cemeteries), which they consider to be places of power. The well preserved painted reliefs found in the principal pyramid of the site contain figures showing scenes of fishing and navigation, human figures related to the cosmic world, mythical animals, shamans, warriors, and human sacrifice.
Day 4, Wednesday: Chiclayo. You start the tour with the excursion to the impressive Necropolis of Huaca Rajada, a Mochica funeral center where the tombs of the Old Lord of Sipan (3rd century) and the Lord of Sipan (5th century), famous for its objects in gold and semi-precious stones, were unearthed in the decade of the 1980's by Peruvian archaeologists led by Dr. Walter Alva.
On route to the Museum of the Royal tombs of Sipan will visit the Sican Museum which has a fabulous collection of gold objects of the Sican Culture which succeeded the Moche in 750 as and succumbed to the Chimu in 1375. The Sican were the first culture in Peru's north to discover bronze, which they made by mixing arsenic with copper. The Sican were at the hub of a great commercial network that moved emeralds and shells from Ecuador, gold nuggets from the Amazon and mercury ore from Peru's southern sierra. Around 1050 a.d. the Sican mysteriously abandoned Batan Grande and built the even more elaborate city of Tucume.
Little was known of the Sican civilization until 1991 when the Japanese archeologist Izumi Shimada was able to carefully excavate two royal Sican tombs. In the east tomb the king was surrounded by sacrificed women and buried upside down, his decapitated head placed in front of him. The mass of objects in the tomb included two huge golden arms, sacred spondylus shells, and a square copper-gold mask stained red with mercury ore. The west tomb is even larger with similar gold masks.
Then visit the extraordinary Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum in Lambayeque, shaped like a Moche pyramid which contains the gold masks, scepters, jewelry and other objects of the royal Moche tombs discovered in Huaca Rajada (Sipan). This museum succeeds in evoking the full grandeur and sophistication of the ancient Moche civilization and the findings have helped to unlock many of the mysteries of the Moche society, built around a hierarchy of kings, priests, and military leaders. Lunch is included at local restaurant in Lambayeque.
Day 5, Thursday: Chiclayo. It is located 75 km east of Chiclayo and was established in 2000 by the local community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape and the famous Peruvian wildlife photographer Heinz Plenge. The community established the reserve to protect their natural resources and to allow them to seek for sustainable alternatives to reduce poverty and improve standards of living in the area.
The community embarked upon this integrated conservation development approach under their own initiative and with the support of a local conservation development organization, Asociacion Naymlap. The creation of the reserve required a new piece of legislation to be created recognizing privately owned conservation areas.
The reserve supports many species endemic to the Tumbesian region and seven that are considered globally threatened with extinction by the IUCN. These include the critically threatened white-winged guan which now has a wild population of less than 200 individuals and the spectacled bear. We still know relatively little about the reserve as is indicated by the discovery of a new species of Porcupine here in 2004. The reserve is managed by a committee appointed by the community. The reserve supports some 214 birds species, 21 mammals and 20 reptiles and amphibians.
Day 6, Friday: Chiclayo - Chachapoyas. You are met in the coastal city of Chiclayo and driven by private transport to Chachapoyas (9 hours). We go via the town of Tucume where we make a brief stop to see the adobe remains of this city. The beautiful journey crosses one of the planet's driest deserts, climbs the Andes and descends to the Maraûon River a major Amazon tributary and finally ascends to Chachapoyas via the fabulous Utcubamba Canyon. Night in Casa Vieja.
Day 7, Saturday: Chachapoyas (Utcubamba Valley). After breakfast we drive down to the Utcubamba and cross over to the neighboring Province of Luya. From the village of Luya we drive on to the village of Cruz Pata, where a short walk (45 minutes) takes us down to Karajia. These striking sarcophagi, sculptured like humans have become an icon of the area.
For 750 years they have looked towards the rising sun and undoubtedly are the resting place for some elite members of Chachapoya warriors. Returning to our transport we drive to out hotel/lodge in the Utcubamba Valley with stops along the way to observe other tomb sites. Night in El Chillo.
Day 8, Sunday: Chachapoyas (Utcubamba Valley). We drive to Yerbabuena (1 hour) and we walk for a steady 2 hours uphill for a close up view of a spectacularly colorful cliff tomb. This extremely photogenic site is perched on a yellow cliff and the tombs are like mini houses with red pictographs dating back to 1200 AD. We continue on to Leymebamba (45 minutes) and visit the new museum housing the 219 mummies found at a nearby lake in 1997. Night in Chillo.
Day 9, Monday: Chachapoyas. To get the best opportunity for photography we leave the lodge early and drive for 1.5 hours to Kuelap. The towering walls and hundreds of roundhouses capped by the cloud forest at 3000 meters (9900 feet) above sea level always amaze first time visitors. We'll explore the many ceremonial constructions, aqueducts and brilliant layout as a group with plenty of opportunities to wander on you own. We then return private transport back to Chachapoyas, soaking in the electric scenery made all the more so by the setting sun. Night in Casa Vieja.
Day 10, Tuesday: Chachapoyas - Moyobamba. We drive back down the Utcubamba Valley to Pedro Ruiz. From there we take the road that heads east to the Amazon plains. To get there we drive over the cloud forest covered Abra Patricia and the road leads on to lunch spot at Yacumama. We take a short walk round the small lakes and through the forest there whilst they prepare lunch. Later carry on to Moyobamba where we visit an orchid house. Night in Puerto Mirador.
Day 11, Wednesday: Moyobamba - Tarapoto. Leavng the hotel early we drive 45 minutes to the Rio Mayo where we board a launch to take us to the guards post of the Tingana Reserve. At the guards post we eat a typical breakfast of the area then get in canoes to head quietly in to the forest area. Chances of seeing monkey, sloth and many birds. Later return to guards area for lunch, before boarding the launch again to get back to Port Moyobamba. Return to Moyobamba and then carry on to Tarapoto. Hotel Rio Shilcayo.
Day 12, Thursday: Tarapoto - Lima. Breakfast at the hotel and then, transfer to the airport and flight to Lima.
Day 13, Friday: Lima. Breakfast at the hotel, and transfer to the airport.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru History Whiz Archeology/History Sightseeing