Lost Cities of Peru

This off-the-beaten track journey into northern Peru explores the ruins of lost pre-Inca civilisations amidst spectacular mountain scenery.

Before Machu Picchu there was Kuelap, Caral and Chan Chan. Peru’s fascinating indigenous heritage extends far beyond the hillside fortresses of the Inca period with which international travellers are usually most familiar. This three-week luxury tour focuses on the crumbling vestiges of northern Peru’s lost civilisations and the magnificent landscapes of these lesser-known destinations. With the knowledge of your expert local guides on hand at all times, you will explore breath-taking ruins left by the Chimu, Norte Chico, Chachapoyas, Moche and Chavín cultures, visiting striking natural attractions along the way, such as the cascading Gocta waterfalls and the snow-capped peaks of the dramatic Cordillera Blanca. Your archaeological tour of these forgotten regions will culminate in a relaxing stay on the pleasant beaches of Máncora on the north coast, where you can unwind in your indulgent luxury hotel before returning home after this unforgettable trip.

Trip highlights

  • 2 nights in Lima at Hotel Atemporal with a historical tour of the city and private street food experience.

  • 3 nights in Huaraz at Cuesta Serena with a guided trek in the Cordillera Blanca and tour of Chavín de Huantar.

  • 3 nights in Trujillo with tours of the Sun & Moon Temples, the Huaca del Dragón, Huanchaco and Chan Chan.

  • 2 nights in Chiclayo with tours of El Brujo, La Dama de Cao, the Huaca Rajada, the Tucume pyramids and the Royal Tombs of Sipan.

  • 4 nights in Chachapoyas at Gocta Lodge with a hike to the stunning Gocta waterfalls.

  • 1 night in Leymebamba at Kentitambo with a guided tour of Kuelap’s hilltop fortress.

  • Included visits to the Quiocta Caverns, Revash, the sarcophagi of Karajía and the Leymebamba Museum.

  • 3 nights in Máncora at KiChic with days at leisure to enjoy the beach.

Map of your holiday

Day by Day itinerary

DAY 1

Lima, Peru

Arrive into Lima

Arrive into Lima and transfer to your hotel in the trendy Miraflores district for the next two nights.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel Atemporal

DAY 2

Lima, Peru

Explore Lima

This morning you will explore Lima’s colonial centre with your guide before heading out in bohemian Barranco in the afternoon for a street food tour with a local expert.

DAY 3

Caral ruins, Peru

Transfer to Huaraz

Early this morning you will begin a scenic overland journey towards Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca where you will spend the next three nights. En-route enjoy a tour of the ruins of Caral, the oldest settlement in the Americas, built by the Norte Chico civilisation.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel Cuesta Serena

DAY 4

Chavin de Huantar, Huaraz, Peru

Explore the Chavín ruins

Enjoy a private tour of the ruins of Chavín de Huantar built around 500 BC in the mountains. Lunch will be included.

DAY  5

Cordillera Blanca Hiking, Huaraz, Peru

Full day trek through the Cordillera Blanca

Today you will set off on a 7-hour trek (round-trip) to enjoy the scenic splendour of the Cordillera Blanca. Your route will afford you stunning views of the Llanganuco lagoon and Laguna 69 as well as sweeping vistas of the cordillera’s main peaks: Huascarán, Pisco, Chopicalqui and Huandoy.

DAY 6

Trujillo, Peru

Transfer to Trujillo

Set off on a scenic overland journey from Huaraz to Trujillo where you will spend the next three nights of your trip. Lunch will be included en-route.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel Costa del Sol Trujillo Centro

DAY 7

Sun and Moon Temple, Trujillo, Peru

Tour of Trujillo and Sun & Moon Temples

Enjoy a full day tour of Trujillo’s colonial city centre and the ruins of the Sun and Moon temples. After your lunch (included), you will also visit the archaeological museum with your guide to learn more about these lost pre-Inca cities.

DAY 8

Chan Chan, Trujillo, Peru

Visit Chan Chan

This morning you will visit the Huaca del Dragón or ‘Dragon Temple’ before having lunch in the fishing village of Huanchaco and learning more about the town’s traditional culture. In the afternoon, head to the impressive ruins of the Chimu city of Chan Chan with your guide.

DAY 9

Huaca Rajada, Peru

Transfer to Chiclayo

Leaving Trujillo behind, you will set off for Chiclayo, visiting the El Brujo archaeological complex and Dama de Cao Museum en-route to learn about the Moche people who once inhabited the region.  After your lunch at a local restaurant you will arrive in Chiclayo and visit the Huaca Rajada temple ruins.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Casa Andina Select Chiclayo

DAY 10

Sipan, Peru

Tour of the Tucume pyramids and the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum

Enjoy a full day tour of the Tucume pyramids and the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, where the preserved remains of members of the Mochica and Moche nobility are exhibited alongside their opulent treasure. Your lunch will be included during your visits.

DAY 11

Gocta Lodge - Luxury holiday to Peru

Transfer to Chachapoyas

Early this morning you will set off on an overland journey to Chachapoyas. You will have lunch on the way as your route takes you through arid deserts, the slopes of the Andes mountains, the valley of the Marañón River and the dramatic Utcumbamba Canyon.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Gocta Lodge

DAY 12

Gocta Waterfall, Peru

Tour to the Gocta Waterfalls

Enjoy a full day guided nature hike to the magnificent Gocta Waterfalls, considered the third highest in the world.

DAY 13

Kuelap, Peru

Visit the Kuelap ruins

Today you will explore the stunning ruins of Kuelap, often described as an up-and-coming alternative to Machu Picchu. This unique pre-Inca mountainside fortress was built by the Chachapoyas culture with their distinctive circular buildings. You will have lunch included at a local restaurant and spend the night in the nearby town of Leymebamba.

DAY 14

Revash - Luxury holiday to Peru

Visit Leymebamba & Revash

This morning you will visit the Leymebamba Museum, famous for its collection of over 200 pre-Inca mummies discovered on the shores of the nearby Lake of the Condors. In the afternoon you will have a picnic lunch and visit Revash, a representative Chachapoya funerary complex.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel Kentitambo

DAY 15

Karajia, Peru

Tour of Karajía and Quiocta

Enjoy a private tour of the cliffside sarcophagi of Karajía and the subterranean caverns at Quiocta before returning to Chachapoyas for one last night.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Gocta Lodge

DAY 16

Lima, Peru

Fly back to Lima

Today, your guide will transfer you to the airport in Jaén for a flight back to Lima, where you will spend the night.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel Atemporal

DAY 17

KiChic, Mancora, Peru

Fly to Talara

Fly from Lima to Talara on the north coast of Peru and transfer to your hotel for three nights of seaside relaxation.

Pin Suggested accommodation – Hotel KiChic

DAYS 18 – 19

Mancora, Peru

Beach time at Máncora

Days at leisure in Máncora to enjoy the beaches of the north coast.

DAY 20

Aeroplane home

Fly Home

Transfer to the airport for your onward flights home.

The price for this itinerary is $9,970.

This is a per person price, based on 2 people travelling and sharing a room.

What’s included

  • 19 nights in luxury accommodation as listed above

  • Private transfers and tours with an English speaking guide and driver

  • All internal flights in economy class seating

What’s not included

  • International flights (discuss your specific requirements with us)

  • Travel insurance

  • Any visas you may require

This is a guide price. Please enquire and we will provide a full personalised quote for you.  All our itineraries are tailor-made to your own requirements so can be modified however you wish.

WHERE TO STAY

Our favourite luxury hotels

Atemporal

Located in the chic Miraflores district of Lima, Atemporal combines super cool eclectic design with a five-star service. Housed within a revamped 1940s mansion, this grand hotel is the perfect base for exploring the city.

KiChic, Mancora, Peru

KiChic

Situated right in front of the beach, and less than 2 miles from the surfer town of Mancora, KiChic is perfectly located for a holiday on the Peruvian coast.