Itinerary

Day 1

U.S. / Lima

Fly independently to Lima, Peru and overnight at Ramada Costa del Sol. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2

Lima / Trujillo

After breakfast, our guide leads a morning briefing before visiting the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. The museum’s collection documents the development of every major culture and civilization in Peru, from the first hunter-gatherers to modern times. Enjoy lunch at Associacion de Criadores de Caballos de Paso de La Libertad with a horse show and marinera dance performance. Fly to Trujillo. Founded in 1534, Trujillo was named after the city in Spain where Conquistador Francisco Pizarro was born. Considered the cultural capital of Peru, Trujillo retains much of its colonial charm, which you can discover during a welcome dinner. Spend the next two nights at the Hotel Libertador. (B,L,D)

peru travel trujillo

 

Day 3

Trujillo

Start the day exploring Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna — the Temples of the Sun and the Moon. Huaca del Sol, the largest pre-Columbian structure in Peru, is a stepped pyramid of adobe brick that once soared 194 feet into the air and rests on a base measuring 500,000 square feet. The smaller Huaca de la Luna is riddled with rooms that contained ceramics, jewelry and famous polychrome paintings. The Temple of the Moon is an exquisitely decorated temple that represents the spiritual center of the Moche culture. The monument consists of a series of temples built one on top of the other for many years. Within the site archaeologists have found, among a wealth of ceremonial objects, about 40 skeletons of sacrificed soldiers. In the upper reaches of the adobe ramparts one can view the remains of enormous walls decorated with figures of multi-colored divinities, the most important of which being the Moche “God of the Mountains.” Continue on to the Huacas de Moche Museum, where an archaeological project preserves the findings on the Huaca de la Luna site. Continue to Huanchaco Beach, watching local fishermen riding totora reed canoes much like their early ancestors. After lunch, enjoy a guided exploration Chan Chán, the largest adobe city in the Old World and the capital of the Chimu Kingdom. Chan Chán’s nine-square-mile complex includes nine major sub-cities, each of which was built by a different ruler. (B,L,D)

peru travel chan chan

 

Day 4

Trujillo / Chiclayo

This morning travel to the coastal city of Chiclayo. This lively commercial center is surrounded by pre-Columbian sites representing the Moche, Chimú and Lambayeque people. Visit the Tumbas Reales Museum, where on our guided tour we see many of the artifacts found at the Sipán Tombs. Sipán is one of the most important sites in the Moche culture, and in 1987, excavations revealed a royal mausoleum on an adobe platform 230 feet long, 165 feet wide and 33 feet high. The wealth of gold and precious items made this an historic find, but the tomb also offered additional insight into the culture’s technology and belief systems. Buried along with the king, who was presumed to be a sort of living deity, were companions joining him on the journey into the afterlife, including a warrior, priest, three female concubines, a dog, llamas, a child, 212 food and beverage vessels, and a guard with a copper shield, gold helmet and amputated feet. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before heading to Chaparri, where we spend two nights at the Chaparri Lodge. (B,L,D)

peru travel tomb of sipan

 

Day 5

Chaparrí Nature Reserve

Chaparrí Nature Reserve, a private reserve tucked into an area of Pacific dry forest, is home to projects protecting the Andean spectacled bear and endangered white-winged guan. During a day of nature hikes among the carob trees, watch for the white-winged guan, the park’s flagship species, which is a turkey sized bird that is considered rare outside of Chaparrí but is numerous within the reserve. Other animals we are likely to observe include deer, Sechuran fox, king vulture and ocelot. During our nature walks with the local guides, we learn about the endemic species that call this semi-arid desert home. Watch for the brightly colored military macaw, a bird rarely seen outside of Chaparri Nature Reserve. (B,L,D)

peru travel spectacled bear

 

Day 6

Tucume / Jaen

Travel to Tucume, where we visit this vast complex of Lambayeque ruins. Dating from 1000-1350 AD, Tucume is home to an impressive, prehistoric urban site which encompassed 26 pyramids. Drive toward Jaen, the capital of the Jaen Province in Peru’s Cajamarca Region, in the Northern Highlands. Along the way, our naturalist guide will stop for birding, looking for Marañon crescentchest, Marañon slaty antshrike and more. Overnight at the Hotel El Bosque. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Cocachimba

This morning we head into the Andes to the eternal spring climate of Gocta Lodge, where every room enjoys views of the Gocta Waterfalls, a towering, two-tiered waterfall that is almost as tall as Angel Falls. After lunch and a brief siesta, head out on a naturalist-guided hike, where we look for the area’s famed endemic marvelous spatuletail hummingbird. Other species of interest are Andean cock-of-the-rock, speckle-chested piculet, emerald toucanet and masked trogon. (B,L,D)

peru travel tucume pyramids

 

Day 8

Cocachimba: Kuelap

Spend our morning at Kuelap. It took over 200 years and 40 million cubic feet of stone to build the titanic ramparts of this impressive pre-Inca city; however, little is known about the people who built this marvel. Archaeologists have dubbed them the Chachapoyans or Sachupoyans. Before returning to Gocta Lodge, stop for a visit at a local home. Once we return to the lodge, enjoy another naturalist-guided birding excursion looking for the marvelous spatuletail hummingbird. (B,L,D)

peru travel gocta waterfall

 

Day 9

Pomacochas Lake / Huambo Private Reserve

En route to our accommodations at the Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge, we stop at local farms near Pomacochas Lake. Walk trails around the lake, where we may observe torrent duck, Andean solitaire and Inca flycatchers. At the private Huambo Reserve, we may spot male marvelous spatuletails at feeders as well as a number of other hummingbird species. Continue to the Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge, where we spend our afternoon hiking trails to observe the prolific local birdlife. Lucky birders may be able to see Lulu’s tody-tyrant or the area’s endemic rusty-tinged antpitta, ochre-fronted antpitta and long-whiskered owlet. Plus, there is also a chance to spy the endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey. (B,L,D)

peru travel keulap

 

Day 10

Lamas / Tarapoto

Late this morning, depart our lodge for the colorful village of Lamas. Spend most of our morning meeting the locals and browsing through the lovely artisan shops. Visit the private Waqanki Orchid Center, hiking in this area of primary and secondary cloud forest. During our nature walk, search for black-throated hermit, gray-breasted sabrewing, rufous-crested coquette and as many as 12 other hummingbird species. Continue to Tarapoto, the “City of Palms,” and a true tropical crossroad of mountains and lowland Amazon forest. Spend the next two nights at Rio Schilcayo, nestled in 12 acres of green gardens. (B,L,D)

peru travel poison dart frog

 

Day 11

Tarapoto: Huallaga River / Cordillera Escalera National Park

Depart this morning for the Pumarinri Lodge, perched on the edge of the Huallaga River. This lodge, just 657 feet above sea level, is nestled in a canyon that crosses the last Andes Mountains before going into the Amazon. Before lunch, set out by boat across the river and venture into the forests of Cordillera Escalera National Park. A short hike through the forest is an opportunity to spot insects, birds, medicinal plants, giant trees and ferns, and colorful frogs. Our walk ends at the peaceful Canoayacu Creek, where we can enjoy a relaxing swim. After lunch, join our local naturalist guides for a birding excursion before visiting the small fishing port of Chumia. Return to Tarapoto for a festive farewell dinner in a local restaurant before spending tonight at the Hotel Rio Schilcayo. (B,L,D)

Day 12

Lima / En Route

Enjoy a morning nature walk before flying to Lima to meet your independent overnight flight to the U.S. (B, Meals Aloft)

peru travel tarapoto

 

Day 13

U.S.

Arrive in the U.S. and meet your independent connecting flight home. (Meals Aloft)