Treasure of the Ancients
Treasure of the Moche, Chachapoyas, Incas & Chimu
- North Peru
- Base City:
- 8 days 7 nights
- US $2844*
- Northern Kingdoms
- Horse Riding
- Motorized Excursions
- Ruined Civilizations
If you have an interest in archaeology and a taste for adventure then read on and experience the still mysterious and relatively unknown northern kingdoms. Tourism is new here but we have taken every care to provide as comfortable a stay as possible We have air-conditioned vehicles, expert guides and the best accommodation we can find.
You will switch between walking on foot and/or horseback with light motorized excursions and longer road journeys. You will be visiting astounding locations rarely seeing more than a handful of other tourists at each destination.
The pyramid-building Moche and Lambayeque civilizations have their artistic treasures displayed in wonderful museum collections. You will follow their story across many centuries as you traverse the Chachapoyas region. You will see the fortified mountaintop settlements and colorful tombs locked into the shapely limestone cliffs. The ancient Chachapoyans repelled the Incas until they were finally overcome. This is apparent as you will see the mummies and beautifully-crafted artifacts of an Inca-Chachapoyan realm where the Incas at one time ruled with local nobility.
At the end of your journey we will reach Cajamarca. This is the historic place where the Incas in turn met their downfall at the hands of the Spanish. You will then return to sea level to the valley city of Trujillo, which contains many historic Spanish colonial buildings, a picturesque beach resort, and some of the most famous and spectacular sites of the Moche and Chimú cultures.
- Cracked Pyramid
- Royal Tombs
- Huaca Rajada
Day 1 Lima to Chiclayo
The “Cracked Pyramid”, Túcume, and the Royal Tombs of Sipán
Early in the morning you will fly from Peru’s capital to the city of Chiclayo in the north. After some rest, you set off for a pyramid that in 1987 made world headlines as hiding one of the most sensational finds of recent archaeology. The construction is named the Huaca Rajada, which means the “Cracked Pyramid” because of deep gulleys weathered into its side. From this building came ancient treasure from a multitude of deeply buried tombs of the pre-Inca Moche culture. The Moche lived in the valleys of Peru’s north coast 1,500 years ago. To get here we drive east into the Reque valley surrounded by fields of sugarcane before arriving at the village of Sipán. You will now see the tombs together with fantastic reconstructions of the burials of priests and chieftains with their sacrificed guards and companions.
You will then visit Chiclayo for a delicious lunch of Peru’s northern cuisine then continue to Lambayeque. Here you will visit the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum. The Sipán museum is styled like a Moche pyramid and was built to contain the priceless artifacts unearthed at Sipán. One looted item from the tomb was recovered at an auction in the U.S having a reserve price of $1.6 million.
- Moche Collapse
- Sipán Museum
You will now be driven to today’s final destination of Tucumé. Here you will follow the sequenced steps leading to the collapse of the Moche as they started to abandon their culture. You will return to Chiclayo for the night.
- Amazon River
- El Chillo
Day 2 Chiclayo to Chachapoyas
Across the Andes to the Amazon
Today you are driven across Peru’s coastal plains to join the Trans-Andean route. This road winds to the lower level of the Peruvian Andes where you pass through the continental divide enter the Upper Amazon basin.
Now you will cross the the Marañon thought to have been the source of the Amazon River. You will pass into the department of Amazonas. Amazononas was the home of the enigmatic and powerful Chachapoyas.
You will sleep in a hotel in El Chillo waiting for morning when we journey on to Kuelap.
- El Chillo
Day 3 Chachapoyas
Kuelap, the great walled city of Northern Peru
We explore the region as we travel through Choctamal, Longuita, and Kuelap to try and understand the people who called this area home, the Chachapoyans. We actually know what they called themselves, however, the Incas who eventually conquered these warrior people knew them as Chachaphuyu, Cloud People, after the area where they lived.
You will return to El Chillo for dinner.
- Andean town
- Santo Tomás
Day 4 Chachapoyas to Leimebamba
Journey to the cliff tombs of Revash, and on to a traditional Andean town
Travelling through the village of Santo Tomás, when you approach farmlands you will soon meet your wranglers and the sure-footed horses that will carry you to Revash. You will see two adjacent sets of caves that exhibit cottage-sized buidlings coated in still-bright mineral-oxide paintwork. Some of these give the impression of cottages and others appear like flat-topped apartments. They each display a figure though the mark the prominence of their occupant.
We now venture to to Leimebamba where you will learn about this settlement established by Incas during their conquest. Still exhibiting antique charm, its balconied houses with their narrow streets might surprise you as along here you will see more parked horses than cars.
We visit museums to see their well displayed artifacts including a mass of priceless objects discovered in 1997. A large picture window shows a view of the climate controlled “mausoleum” housing more than two hundred salvaged mummies.
- Marañon Canyon
- Natural Environments
- Mango Trees
- Adobe Farmhouses
Day 5 Leimebamba to Cajamarca
Crossing the Marañon canyon
Today you will take a break from archaeology to explore some of the natural environments of the Andes. You will traverse dairy country, go higher into the landscape. Crossing the smooth slopes densely covered in a beige bunch-grass named ichu, you will cross a high pass at 3,500m. After a long descent you will suddenly be among the warm lower valley flooded with mango trees, coconut palms, papaya and banana plantations. You will soon reach the village of Balsas close Marañon.
We cross the mighty river into the Department of Cajamarca then climb into an arid canyon environment of tall cacti and misshapen trees. After a while you will reach farmland again to see the country of wheat, barley and oat fields. When we begin to see adobe farmhouses and the farmers inhabiting them you will see both farmers and children wearing their characteristic large, broad-brimmed Cajamarca straw hat. We willl now relax in the city of Celendín for lunch then continue on to the regional capital of Cajamarca. You will arrive here in late afternoon at the suburb of Baños del Inca. You will then relax at the spacious Laguna Seca Hotel offering you a welcome rest with a room with its own large hot tub and unlimited piping-hot thermal spring water.
- Spa Facilities
- Private Hot Pool
- City Center
- Burial Grounds
Day 6 in Cajamarca
Colonial Spain and the last days of the Inca empire
Your stay at the hotel with hot springs allows some earned relaxation complete with a delicious dining experience, spa facilities, and a spacious private hot pool in every room. The springs here are famous as they were the site of the first encounter between the Inca emperor Atahualpa and the Spanish who had come to conquer his empire. The Inca was enjoying a hot soak at the moment of victory over rival armies when a small group of mounted Spaniards rode out from Cajamarca to visit him. They arranged a fateful “unarmed” meeting in the city square the next day, and the rest is history.
Today you are driven to the city center and to the hilltop known as Colina Santa Apolonia. This was a sacred mountain to the Cajamarca, who were an ancient people later conquered by the Incas. Now you can look over the modern city of 250,000 inhabitants then we descend the steps into the old city center.
You will have lunch at a fine local restaurant then pay a visit to Otuzco to see a rock formation where “windows” were left in the Cajamarca by the Cajamarca where they buried their dead. You will return to the hotel to relax before dinner.
Day 7 Cajamarca to Trujillo
From mountain city to coastal desert
Starting early, you are aiming to reach Trujillo by mid-afternoon. This is to visit some of the city’s highlights before dinner.
You will stop for an open air picnic lunch at a scenic spot overlooking the magnificent lake behind Gallito Ciego dam.
Once in Trujillo you will have time to get your bearings in the city center. Here you will visit a former colonial mansion where rebellious local citizens proclaimed independence from Spain in 1820.
- Adobe pPlatforms
- Huaca de la Luna
- Huaca del Sol
- Chan Chan
Day 8 Trujillo to Lima
Adobe platforms of Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol, and Chan Chan
Today you are driven a short distance to the Huaca de la Luna and the Huaca del Sol. These are two large flat roofed pyramids built by the Moche at some point between 0 and 600A.D. Archaeologists here uncovered deliberately buried, colourful friezes that hadn’t been exposed to day light for 1,500 years. There are blood lusting fanged gods in the form of spiders, snakes, cats, octopi along with dancers, warriors, naked prisoners, and depictions of ritual combat.
We visit the seashore and pause to see the Huaca del Dragón, a pyramid built by the Chimú. The Chimú were a dynasty in this part of Peru that reached power after the Moche until eventually conquered by the Incas.
We stop for seafood and can see fishermen still paddling to sea as they kneel on one-man reed rafts. These rafts have been used for millennia to collect the fruits of the Pacific Ocean.
You will now visit the center of Chan Chan, the great Chimú city, which is the largest adobe city ever built. An elite settlement of nine enormous palaces that belonged to a sequence of rulers of the Chimú. The population of Chan Chan once reached 50,000 people. The population consisted of many artists and craftsman, who made the intricate goldwork, textiles and pottery that the Chimú are known for.
We return to Trujillo in time for our evening flight to Lima.
Treasure of the Moche, Chimu, Chachapoyas & Incas Rates
Fixed departures from Chiclayo: Please enquire.