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An itinerary for those who want to travel further afield and explore Peru's virtues beyond Machu Picchu. Peru's north is far less travelled than the south, meaning that this opportunity is off-grid and intrepid. On this journey, we engage with gorgeous destinations that are less frequented by tourists yet inundated with incredible cultural and natural experiences.
Against the general flow, journey up from Lima on a flight to the land of the cloud warriors - Chachapoyas. Here you will stay for a few nights in eco-cabins surrounded by organic gardens and winding pathways leading to spectacular vistas. Discover Gocta, one of the world's tallest waterfalls and find the vast remnants of pre-Incan settlements at Kuelap.
Travelling west from Chachapoyas by train is a stunning way to watch the scenery change from verdant valleys to desert terrain in Chiclayo. It is here that you will learn about the Chimú and Moche peoples and see a magnificent array of artefacts and archaeological marvels.
From the mystical desert land to a bohemian resort on the coast, finish up in Máncora, nestled into the northern corner of Peru's expansive coastline. This is a perfect spot for surfing, whale-watching and reclining by palm-fringed blue waters.
This ten-day introduction to Peru's north is a great way to ease into less-discovered spots of this diverse country. All of our lodges are top stays in unique destinations, and our experiences range from nature immersion to cultural lessons.
Today you will arrive on your international flight into Lima. You will be greeted by our Wayfairer Travel representative at the airport and swiftly taken by a private transfer to your luxury hotel in Barranco, Hotel B.
Settle in for a quiet evening in a Belle Époque mansion tucked away in the bohemian district of the bustling city. Enjoy rooftop cocktails and browse the on-site art gallery before resting well ahead of tomorrow's onward endeavors.
This morning you'll have the chance to visit some of Lima's pre-Inca archaeological sites. The Huaca Pucllana is a great adobe and clay pyramid located in Miraflores, just a short drive from your hotel. Before the Wari Culture, the Incas, and colonisation Lima was occupied by the Lima Culture, a society that built great pyramids in this desert land. The name Pucllana comes from Quechua, Pukllay, which in Spanish would mean place to play.
Today you will have the chance to visit this magnificent archaeological site located close to the coast in Miraflores before your domestic flight up to Jaén.
Upon arrival in Jaén you will be met by our Wayfairer representative and driven to our lodge near the small town of Chachapoyas.
This morning rise early in the verdant surroundings of your Chachapoyas lodge for a hike through the cloud forests to Gocta Falls.
This waterfall is the third highest in the world, and there are various trails to get there. The walk is 5.5 km through sugarcane fields with traditional presses, and pathways lined with orchids, lichens and mosses. Bring binoculars for sightings of the Andean cock of the rock, the emerald toucanet and various hummingbirds. You will be accompanied by a local guide from the Communal Association who will explain the varied eco-system, as well as the history of the communities surrounding the falls.
On your way back to your lodge this evening, enjoy a swim in Gocta Andes Lodge's infinity pool overlooking the falls you have just visited and enjoy a much-deserved sundowner.
After breakfast this morning, you will be met by your private driver and taken to the ancient fortress, Kuélap. You will drive to Tingo Nuevo via Macro, and from here, it's a scenic cable car ride and hike up to the fortress.
Kuélap is the most important archaeological site in Peru's northern Andes. This stone complex has a monumental character, and at over 3,000 meters above sea level, it features huge platforms which are built on the rock outcrop at the top of Barreta Mountain. It is estimated that construction by the Chachapoyas people (the Cloud Warriors) began in the 6th century, coinciding with this culture's success. Kuélap pre-dates Machu Picchu by over 600 years, and it was occupied until the 16th century. The colossal walls and complex architecture signify the function of these buildings as a well-organized population centre whereby there were significant administrative, religious, ceremonial and residential areas.
Not only will this day trip provide historical teachings but also spectacular vistas of the cloud forests. Remember to wrap up warm, though as temperatures can drop at the altitude!
This morning enjoy your last breakfast in the eco-lodge before being picked up by your driver and taken to the train station. You will embark on a journey from Chachapoyas to Chiclayo.
This lengthy journey is one of Peru's finest for diverse scenery. Descend from the cloud forests down the great Utcumbamba Canyon. Follow the Marañón River and trail down the Andean foothills before venturing into the world's driest desert. This spectacular journey is a way to see the diversity of Peru's biosphere change from minute to minute before your very own eyes.
Upon arrival in Chiclayo, you will be escorted by our driver to your hotel in the city, your base for the next two days of exploration.
This morning you will be taken by our specialist on an excursion to the magnificent mud-brick burial platform - Huaca Rajada. This was where the world-famous Tomb of the Lord of Sipán was discovered in recent years. Chiclayo is famous for its ancient shamanism and burial rituals. Here you can discover more about the ancient Moche civilizations' history and admire fabulous gold artefacts, and precious stones.
In the afternoon, you will be taken for a tour of the brand new Tumbas Reales Museum in Lambayeque, which holds treasures that are over 1,000 years old in an interesting modern exhibition center which is exciting and dimly lit. Learn about the varying cultures of Peru's great past before heading out for lunch in Chiclayo's top restaurant, Fiesta.
This morning you'll set off on a desert road trip up the Pan-American Highway to Máncora.
Your driver will take you to remote astronomical observation spots along the way and broaden your knowledge of the desert cultures that used to dwell here.
Upon arrival in Máncora, you might be pleasantly surprised by the laid-back bohemian feel of this Pacific-facing town. Our accommodation here, KiChic is in a prime location with an infinity swimming pool fronting onto the beach and an outdoor beach shack bar perfect for relaxing in luxury.
Today wake up in paradise! Máncora is considered Peru's best beach destination due to the laid-back feel and gorgeous white sandy beaches.
Set off on a private boat to watch humpback whales dive and twirl in the Pacific Ocean's currents before heading back for an evening of surf.
Use this free day to chill out in your surroundings and enjoy the outstanding cocktails at the bar of KiChic. Feel the benefits of a healthy dose of vitamin D, and recline, fully recounting all the fantastic memories of your journey through Peru's north.
Sadly, today you will have to bid farewell to Peru... But only until next time for the next leg of a north Peru adventure. Hasta luego!