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Pre-Columbian Peru (EA 83)

This tour take us to the Northern Peru to the dry forest of Chaparri to observe the Andean Bear, White-winged Guan, and many endemic species of birds. Later we visit the Cracked Pyramid, Royal tombs of Lord of Sipan, Tucumeand Sican Culture, Temple of the Moon and the Chimu city of Chan Chan. A great complement before visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu

  • Available throughout the year


Day 1: Lima-Chiclayo-Chaparri Lodge
We take an early morning flight from Peru's capital to the northern city of Chiclayo Peru. After arrival, our guide will take us to the dry western portion of the Andes, to Chaparri Lodge where subtropical and tropical wildlife is possible to see, including the Andean Bear, White Tailed Deer, Andean Condors, White-winged Guan, and many other birds. The Chaparri Reserve is managed by locals that help protect one of the most threatened ecosystems in Northern Peru. The community, involved in biodiversity conservation uses tourism income to help fund forest conservation, health program, and education. Afternoon exploration of the Chaparri Reserve guided by locals. Great time for photography along conditioned trails of Chaparri Lodge. Night at Chaparri Lodge (L, D)
Day 2: Chaparri Lodge
Morning walk through the extensive trail system of Chaparri Lodge to find more wildlife. Back to Chaparri Lodge for lunch. Night in Chaparri Lodge. (B,L,D).
Day 3: Chiclayo, Lord of Sipan, Museums and Tucume
Early car trip from Chaparri Lodge to Chiclayo Peru. Transfer to your hotel. After some rest time we set off for the mud-brick pyramid that made world headlines in 1987 with one of the most sensational finds of recent archaeology. Known as the Huaca Rajada -- the "Cracked Pyramid", because of the deep gulleys weathered into its flanks -- this eroded adobe platform yielded fabulous ancient treasures from a series of deeply buried tombs of the pre-Inca Moche culture, who lived in the valleys of Peru's north coast 1,500 years ago. To get there we drive east up the broad, flat Reque valley past fields of sugarcane studded with varicolored pastel foothills of the great Andean chain, then arriving at the modern village of Sipán. Here we see the tombs themselves, with superb reconstructions of the burials of priests and chieftains, together with their sacrificed guards and companions. A highly informative site museum tells the story of this extraordinary civilization, whom created some of the finest pottery, jewelry and gold working of the Americas -- while also staging macabre costumed rituals of combat, sacrifice and propitiation as they sought to mediate a never-ending struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos. We return to Chiclayo for a delicious lunch of Peru's northern-style cuisine, and then continue on to Lambayeque, where we visit the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum. This modern building, representing the style of a Moche pyramid, was built to house the stunning and priceless objects unearthed at Sipán. (A single looted object from the tombs was intercepted at an auction in the U.S. -- carrying a reserve price of $1.6 million!) Here we see the incredible array of precious symbols and images, stones and shell necklaces, ear-plugs and headdresses that were worn and displayed at Moche ceremonies, and also learn what is known of their meaning. This astonishing visit ends at an "animated waxworks" exhibit of the lords and retinue of the Moche court, allowing us to glimpse and imagine the world of an unfamiliar but dazzling civilization that thrived here at a time when Europe was sliding into the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire. After these sensational experiences we drive to an oasis of calm at Tucumé, today's final destination. Here we see the chronological sequence that followed the fall of the Moche, at a site where their descendants, the Sicán culture, continued to amass millions of adobe bricks for the building of mighty pyramids -- including the longest of its kind in the world, at more than 700m/2,300ft -- but were now influenced by highland tribes, and began to abandon their old ways. The history of this scenic site -- extensively investigated by the famed Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl -- leads us all the way to the Incas, who conquered the region not long before they, in turn, were conquered by the Spanish. We can climb to a viewing platform with superb views of the surrounding pyramids and the dry woodland habitat of the Leche valley. We can also visit the small, intimate and low-tech site museum, to enjoy the excellent collection of excavated objects, dioramas of daily life, and models of the pyramids. We return to Chiclayo Peru for an overnight stay. (B, L)
Day 4: Chiclayo - Trujillo
In the morning, we'll travel with our guide by private car to the City of Trujillo. This half-day journey south down the Pan-American highway offers a shifting panorama of scenes from coastal Peru, alternating irrigated river valleys such as the Jequetepeque and Chicama, with stretches of arid dune and rocky desert. We visit the archaeological site of El Brujo: This site featured in National Geographic magazine after the sensational discovery here of the mummy of a tattooed priestess, buried with a variety of ceremonial and military accouterments. An extraordinary array of multicolored murals dating from seven or more phases of construction depicts both scenes from the daily lives of the Moche, and gory rituals of sacrifice. We arrive in Trujillo in the early afternoon. This city, founded in 1534 on the orders of Francisco Pizarro, maintains a colonial atmosphere, with its spacious Main Square, and marvelous colonial-period adobe buildings in the coastal colonial style, featuring huge barred windows and massive wooden doorways. We continue onwards, driving a short way from Trujillo, to visit the Huaca de la Luna, and the Huaca del Sol, two huge flat-topped pyramids built by the Moche culture between 0 and 600A.D. The Huaca de la Luna is an extraordinary demonstration of what patient long-term archaeology can achieve. Here, at a site that has been well known and frequently looted for centuries, excavations have revealed layer upon layer of ancient construction, uncovering wall after wall of colorful friezes that were intentionally buried by the Moche, and had not seen the light of day for one-and-a-half thousand years. Bloodthirsty fanged deities and exotic gods in the form of spiders, snakes felines, octopi and other marine creatures rub shoulders with lines of dancers, warriors and naked prisoners, and scenes of ritual combat. One wall is covered with such a multitude of mystifying symbols that it has been labeled simply "The Complicated Theme" -- until some future archaeologist can offer a plausible explanation of them. A site museum to display material unearthed here is under construction, and when opened it will be part of this visit. Transfer to the Hotel (B, L)
Day 5: Trujillo-Lima
In the morning we visit to the great Chimú center of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city ever built. It was in fact an elite settlement, a series of nine enormous palaces belonging to successive rulers of the Chimú realm. At its height, the population here may have reached 50,000 people. Many of them were artists and craftspeople, who made the sumptuous gold work, textiles and pottery for which the Chimú were famous. At the Tschudi palace enclosure we enter a labyrinthine a series of courtyards lined with clay friezes of fish and ocean birds, and walled in places with an open mesh work adobe building style believed to represent fishing nets. We visit inner patios, residences, administrative buildings, temples, platforms and storehouses, and a huge reservoir where "sunken gardens" may have produced specialized crops for the Chimu nobility. Then we will go to the airport to take a late evening flight (B, L)


  • Transfer Airport/Lodge Chaparri in/out
  • 02 nights in Chaparri Lodge
  • 1 nights hotel (3-4 star) accommodation in Chiclayo Peru
  • 1 night hotel accommodation (3-4 star) in Trujillo Peru
  • All the tours mentioned in the itinerary
  • Bilingual guide
  • Meals as discrived in itinerary as B=breakfast=lunch, Dinner=dinner

Not Included

  • Snack energy bars
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights Lima-Chiclayo-Trujillo Lima (Aprox US$ 350)

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  • A month ago we visited Tambopata, thanks to the recommendation of David, because his experience working for many years in this area, convinced us to know the jungle of Puerto Maldonado and we do not regret it. It was a unique and wonderful experience. The whole organization was perfect for us, we felt very safe with our specialized guide and traveling by boat. Thank you for the incredible moment visiting Tambopata!

    Gunter & Kornelia Billstein (2019) Germany
  • Our trip to the Tambopata Rainforest was a great experience!

    A wonderful place to get away from the outside world and have a moment with the environment and with ourselves. Thanks to David’s experience who recommended us to visit this beautiful place.

    Esther & Marta Pinedo, Martin Bengoa & Imanol Ruiz (2019) Spain
  • Our trip was over the top!! We have had and amazing time in the north of Peru and Cusco, visiting the Lord of Sipan, Chan Chan Archeological Center, Huanchaco beach, Machu Picchu and doing vivencial tourism in the Sacred Valley with the Yachaqs Community. Very impressed with every place we visited.

    Thank you very much for organizing an excellent time in Peru.

    Terry Hesselden, Arlene Westoby & Beverly Barker (2019) Canada
  • Very impressed by the effort, professionalism and responsibility of each one (guides, drivers, etc). We are very satisfied with our trip in Peru. Knowing the Amazon and Machu Picchu were part of my best experiences.

    Debbie Yip and Grace Goh (2019) Singapore
  • We have been travelling very often but honestly speaking the tour in Peru and the services around has been the best so far! … (the) staff very friendly and the guides experienced: Mauricio and David very passionate about their job, excellent knowledge … of Peru like history, geography, politics, religion, etc, and with our drivers felt safe in all our trip… excellent!! Always supportive and very flexible. Keep it up!! Many thanks

    Claudia Signorelli & Norman Memminger (2018) Switzerland and Germany