• Best-value way to visit northern Peru highlights in comfort. 

  • Chan Chan, Tucume, Gocta, Kuelap and Amazon jungle included.

  • Small group departures using private transport and best hotels in region. 

  • Price: from £1,424 / $US1,880 per person (based on double occupancy). 

Peru is rightly proud of its natural heritage, which encompasses Costa (Pacific Ocean), Sierra (Andes Mountains) and Selva (Amazon Jungle). And this Northern Peru route will enable you to sample in depth all three wildly-different environments in twelve days, travelling overland in a comfortable private vehicle. 

Beginning in the Colonial city of Trujillo and then driving north up the PanAmerican Highway to Chiclayo, we have a chance to experience this coastal desert environment, with its wealth of pre-Inca archeology and delicious seafood. We then head eastwards and upwards into the Andes, and the various rain forest systems of Amazonas and San Martin provinces.

In the cloud forest of Chachapoyas can be found both natural wonders, such as Gocta Falls, and man-made, notably Kuelap Fortress

As we continue eastwards, deeper into Amazonia, the climate becomes warmer and the jungle becomes denser, replete with flora and fauna, sure to delight the serious birdwatcher and casual naturalist alike. 

This route has long been appreciated by backpackers with time on their hands, and a willingness to rough it on long-distance buses and in basic accommodation, in order to witness the area's fabulous highlights. Now, though, you can enjoy this little-visited area, without sacrificing your comforts or breaking the bank, on our group departures, that still use private transport and the best accommodation available, and are guaranteed to depart with just two people. 

If you prefer to do this in a private service, with dates and itinerary to suit, just ask us how. 

Please note that there are departures that go from Tarapoto to Trujillo. Click here for more details. 

Itinerary

Day 1 / COLONIAL TRUJILLO & HUACA DE LA LUNA

Pick up from Trujillo airport, bus terminal or hotel.

Walking city tour around Trujillo Colonial centre.

Lunch and visit to Huaca de la Luna archaeological site and museum.

Dinner & Overnight at Trujillo 3* Hotel.

Day 2 / TRUJILLO - TUCUME: CHAN CHAN, EL BRUJO & SEÑORA DE CAO

Breakfast and visit to Chan Chan citadel, the largest mud brick (adobe) city in America.

After that we'll be heading north to visit to El Brujo & Señora de Cao museum and archaeological site.

Lunch en route as we drive to Los Horcones de Tucume Hotel.

Dinner & Overnight at Los Horcones.

Day 3 / CHICLAYO: THE LORD OF SIPAN

Breakfast and departure to visit Tumbas Reales Museum, in Lambayeque, where the Lord of Sipan is exhibited.

Lunch in Pimentel, overlooking the ocean, where fishermen come ashore on reed rafts known as Caballitos de Totora.

Afternoon visit to Huaca Rajada and back to Los Horcones.

Dinner & Overnight at Los Horcones.

Day 4 / TUCUME - GOCTA: FROM PACIFIC DESERT TO GREEN NORTHERN ANDES

Breakfast and visit to Tucume Pyramids (the largest pyramid complex in the Americas) and museum.

Departure towards the Andes of Chachapoyas.

Stop at Abra Porculla, the lowest Andean mountain pass between the Caribbean to Patagonia, for a boxed lunch.

We continue our spectacular drive in the afternoon, hoping to arrive at our lodging in time to see the sunset in front of Gocta Waterfall, one of the highest in the world, in the heart of the Peruvian northern Andes.

Dinner & Overnight at Gocta Lodge.

Day 5 / GOCTA WATERFALLS

Breakfast.

From Gocta Lodge there is an amazing view of the Falls, but the trail leading to them is even more breathtaking. It is a two hour hike (each way), passing through Andean orchards and lush forest full of bromeliads and orchids. NB. There is the option to do this trail on horseback (at a small extra cost).

Lunch at the lodge, followed by a free afternoon to rest or explore the local village of Cocachimba

Dinner & Overnight at Gocta Lodge.

Day 6 / KUELAP FORTRESS 

After breakfast we start driving along the Utcubamba valley, between bromeliads and cacti, towards Tingo. Here we begin to ascend, through traditional Andean villages, to Kuelap Fortress, located at an altitude of 3,000 m (9,842 ft).

Guided visit of Kuelap archaeological site, followed by lunch in the village of Maria.

Return to Gocta Lodge

Dinner & Overnight at Gocta  Lodge.

Day 7 / LEYMEBAMBA: MAUSOLEUMS & MUMMIES

Breakfast and departure towards the high Utcubamba valley.

On the road to Leymebamba, we stop to visit Revash Mausoleums, involving a two hour hike.

Back on the road again, we arrive at Leymebamba for lunch and an afternoon visit to the Mummies Museum.

Return to Gocta Lodge for dinner & overnight.

Day 8 / KARAJIA'S SARCOPHAGI

Breakfast and tour to Luya Valley.

Chachapoyas culture was the only one in the Americas to build sarcophagi for burials, which are located on massive cliffs, often carved and decorated. We visit the Karajia sarcophagi.

In the afternoon we visit the Colonial capital of the region, Chachapoyas.

Dinner & Overnight at Gocta Lodge.

Day 9 / GOCTA - TARAPOTO: FROM THE ANDES TO THE AMAZON

Breakfast and early departure towards the lowlands.

First stop at the Marvelous Spatuletail Visitors Centre, to watch this amazing hummingbird amongst many other colourful species.

Second stop at Moyobamba to visit an orchid botanical garden, and enjoy our boxed lunch.

We finally reach Pumarinri Lodge, following the Mayo and Huallaga valleys and canyons, in the late afternoon.

Dinner & Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge.

Day 10 / TARAPOTO: RAINFOREST, WATERFALLS & MIGHTY RIVERS

Breakfast followed by a morning hike through the Amazon rainforest, observing a variety of forest features from palm trees, vines, epiphytes and hardwood trees to bullet ants, morpho butterflies and poison dart frogs.

At the end of this walk we have a refreshing swim at Pucayaquillo Waterfall. Lunch.

In the afternoon, boat trip along the Huallaga River, between the Estero and Chumia rapids, and a forest walk in the Cordillera Azul National Park.

Dinner & Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge.

Day 11 / TARAPOTO: AMAZON PEOPLES & CULTURES

Breakfast and depart towards Chasuta, a native village on the banks of the Huallaga River, to visit the native pottery centre, Wasichay, and a community chocolate workshop.

After that, we take a boat to visit an organic cocoa plantation on a Shilcayo River island. We also learn about other tropical crops and a sustainable use of the rainforest. Snack box en route.

Return to Pumarinri for a late lunch followed by a free afternoon. A chance to use the lodge's pool, perhaps. 

Dinner & Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge.

Day 12 / TARAPOTO: AMAZON VALLEYS & CANYONS

Breakfast and morning walk on the Coca Circuit and other trails in the grounds of the lodge, looking for poison dart frogs.

Transfer to Tarapoto airport for onward travel. 

End of tour.