Northern Peru Chachapoyas & Chan Chan
12 days / 11 nights
Weekly Departures Year Round
Please ‘contact us’ to book this tour
Our Northern Peru Chachapoyas & Chan Chan trip spotlights less visited ancient ruins and Peru’s northern cloud forest. After that, Colonial Trujillo on the central west coast and its surrounding pre-Inca sites will fascinate any intrepid traveler. Well off any tourist circuit, we begin at the thriving northern jungle town, Tarapato, land of the waterfalls. Venture to Chachapoyas heart of Peru’s Amazon Cloud Forest. Trek for 3 days to the recently discovered tropical waterfall of Gocta at Cocachimba and the distant ruins of Kuelap. See coastal Peru with a stop in Chiclayo nicknamed “The City of Friendship” and visit Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the principal mud city in the world.
*As on all Adventures to Peru tours, you’re taken care of from beginning to end: airport transfers are included!
*Seasonal: Recommended departure dates (April-November)
Prices are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Prices are subject to change. Prices based on 3.5% cash discount. Prices based on a group minimum of 2 adult travelers. Deposit is 50% of total. Remaining balance becomes due 60 days prior to tour departure.
See Booking Terms and Conditions
2-3 star hotels (10 nts), camping (1 nt)
Minimum 4, Maximum 12
All breakfasts are included, (B,L,D) while on Kuelap trek
Key: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
Private bus, public bus, domestic flight
1. Trip will run year round, however recommended departure dates are between April-November.
Day 1 Lima
Day 2 Tarapoto
Day 3 Chachapoyas
Day 4 Karajia / Cocachimba
Day 5 Gocta, Tingo
Day 6 Kuelap / Chachapoyoas
Days 7-8 Chiclayo
Days 9-10 Trujillo / Chan Chan / Temples Moon & Sun
Day 11 Lima
Day 12 Lima Departure Day
Day 1 Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time. An Adventures to Peru representative will greet you at the airport and private transfer to your hotel. There are no planned activities today so check-in and enjoy the city. This afternoon you are free to explore colonial and modern Lima, with visits to the Government Palace, cathedral, Plaza de Armas and the Archaeological Museum. Or hang around the bustling commercial districts of and Miraflores and Barranco.
Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon and the Atacama Desert coastal area. On this trip we visit all three.
Day 2 Lima / Tarapoto (B)
We’ll have the morning free day to explore Miraflores, the bustling upper-class commercial district of Lima. Optional activities in Lima such as a city tour, museum visits or shopping can be arranged by your tour host. An afternoon flight will take us from the metropolis of Lima to one of Peru’s thriving northern jungle towns, Tarapato. Tarapoto is located in the province of San Martín, nestled in a valley between two mountain ranges. At an elevation of approximately 350 meters above sea level, Tarapoto enjoys a hot, tropical climate and has abundant and interesting flora and fauna. This small city has been dubbed the “Land of Waterfalls” due to the incredible waterfalls found in the area. This afternoon, time permitting, we’ll visit Lamas, a nearby indigenous Quechua speaking village seemingly lost in time.
Day 3 Tarapoto / Chachapoyas (B)
The morning is dedicated to visiting one of the famous attractions in area, the Ahuashiyacu waterfall, plunging 35 meters and forming a beautiful lagoon at the bottom. Close by is a bird sanctuary housing species of birds and animal species endemic to the region.
An afternoon bus departure takes us from Tarapoto, climbing through the beautiful eastern Andean foothills to the calm town of Pedro Ruiz, then 1 hour further to Chachapoyas. Chachapoyas is a quiet, friendly town nestled in a huge area of cloud forest between the Maranon and Huallaga Rivers. Check into the hotel and we have a briefing to prepare for the coming days in Karajia, Gocta and Kuelap.
Day 4 Chachapoyas / Karajia (B,L,D)
We set out from Chachapoyas on a 2-hour drive over breathtaking roads and incredible scenery of the Northern Andes. We stop in the village of Luya for supplies and continue 30 minutes, where we’ll begin our hike. After approximately 2 hours of moderate hiking we arrive at the ancient burial site of Karajia. We encounter 3-meter tall anthropomorphic plaster coffins re-enforced with wood frames located high under a cliff. Learn about the history of this region and the burial site. After lunch we set off for the 2-hour hike to our vehicle on the opposite side of the valley and travel to our campsite for the night. Along the way we pass again through the village of Luya again where we can make a brief stop at the local market. Once at our campsite, enjoy an evening of good food, good company, and a good night’s sleep!
*Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
*Today’s walking distance approximately 6 km
Day 5 Cocachimba/ Gocta Waterfall (B,L,D)
Our day starts early with a hearty breakfast before embarking on a full day (5-6 hours) of moderate / semi-difficult hiking. We will enjoy the enchanting waterfalls and with some luck spot toucans, hummingbirds, monkeys, and much more as we hike through the dense jungle. Our final destination is the base of the recently discovered Gocta Waterfall, verified to be the third highest waterfall on the planet (measured to be a height of 772m). This waterfall, with 2 drops, has been known by locals for centuries and was only brought to the world’s attention in 2002 following an expedition by German explorers to the region. You can go for a swim but it is chilly. Otherwise, relax, have your box lunch and absorb the magic. Then it’s back to Cocachimba and on to our next campsite. We may stop along the way for viewing distant ruins and other sites of interest by telescope, time and weather permitting.
*Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
*Today’s walking distance approximately 10 km
Day 6 Tingo / Kuelap (B, L, D)
Following breakfast this morning, we begin our 6-7 hour hike to the Chachapoyan archaeological site of Kuelap. Little is known about this pre-Incan site and the Chachapoyan people themselves (also known as the Cloud Forest people). Kuelap is a massive fortress built on the top of a mountain and is sometimes referred to as the “Machu Picchu of Northern Peru”. This site is surrounded by a 30m high wall and measures 584m by 100m in size. Construction of the site is estimated to have taken approximately 200 years to complete and taken millions of cubic feet of stone. Kuelap is comprised of three levels containing over 400 circular buildings. Who the Chachapoyan people could have been protecting themselves from remains a mystery. We have a few hours to explore the site and learn about the history from our local guide. Standing at the outer wall’s edge of this site you can enjoy the incredible view of the valley below, spreading out approximately 1,200m below. Also impressive is the thin ribbon of road that hugs the near and far walls of the treed canyon. A short walk of about ten minutes will bring us to our waiting vehicle for the 4-hour return trip to Chachapoyas. Take advantage of a hot shower, enjoy a local dinner and sleep well!
*Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
*Today’s walking distance approximately 12 km
Day 7 Chachapoyas / Chiclayo (B)
No activities are planned for the morning following breakfast, enjoy time to relax and enjoy what the town of Chachapoyas has to offer. At 1:00pm we depart by bus and travel down from 1,700mtrs to sea level to the coastal city of Chiclayo. Chiclayo acts as a central hub for commercial and tourist activities in Northern Peru. Nicknamed “The City of Friendship”, Chiclayo certainly lives up to its name, as you will find the locals to be welcoming and friendly. Take time to enjoy what the city has to offer. We arrive in the late evening in time for dinner and a chance to rest for the following full day.
Day 8 Chiclayo (B)
We spend the full day today in Chiclayo. We’ll take you to visit the coveted Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum. Opened in 2003, this museum showcases the most important archaeological remains from the Mochica Culture, including the contents of the tomb of a Mochica leader called “El Señor de Sipán”, found in 1987. Other things to do around Chiclayo are a visit to Mercado Modelo’s “witch doctor’s market”, with a large selection of herbs and tools used by shamans. If you prefer a visit to the ocean, travel 14 km to nearby Pimentel Beach. This fishing town is well known for seafood and surfing. Watch the fishermen in the famous totora reed boats paddling out through the waves as their ancestors have done for hundreds of years. Enjoy one last evening in Chiclayo before departing the following morning.
Day 9 Chiclayo / Trujillo (B)
Travel 4 hours south of Chiclayo by bus to the colonial city of Trujillo. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. Set 10km from the Pacific Ocean, Trujillo is rich in colonial architecture with beautiful wrought-iron grillwork and splendid, imposing facades. Visitors can wander the many quarters and venture to the Plaza de Armas. On the weekends a colorful flag raising ceremony and parades make the Main Plaza de Armas a popular destination. Other not-to-be-missed venues include optional visits to the museums and churches.
Day 10 Trujillo (B)
This day of sightseeing will include a guided visit to the ancient Chimu capital of Chan Chan. Considered the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the principal mud city in the world, Chan Chan will truly mesmerize with its maze of palaces, temples and alters. Afterwards it’s off to another archeological site that is even older than Chan Chan. The Temples of the Sun and Moon appear like two pyramid-shaped Huacas (Sacred site or place) overlooking the south bank of the Moche River. Evening in Trujillo.
Day 11 Trujillo/Lima (B)
The morning to enjoy breakfast and prepare our things. We say goodbye to Trujillo and the north as we catch a 1-hour our flight back to Lima. Enjoy one last Pisco Sour with our farewell dinner and a night out on the town for those interested.
Day 12 Depart Lima (B)
Adventures to Peru will collect you from the airport and private transfer to the airport.Adios amigos!
Adventures to Peru local tour host
Excursion to Ahuashiyacu waterfalls in Tarapoto
Private guides and staff on 3 day excursion around Chachapoyas
Guided trek to Karajia burial grounds
Guided trek to Gocta Waterfall
Guided trek to Kuelap
Visit to Señor de Sipan Museum in Chiclayo
Guided excursion to mud city of Chan Chan
Guided excursion to temples of the Sun & Moon
Airport arrival AND departure transfers
All accommodations, camping
All land transport along the route
2 domestic flights
Domestic airport taxes
Guide service as per itinerary
Entrance fees for included excursions
Meals on Chachapoyas trek
Sleeping bag and deluxe Thermarest sleep mattress while on trek
Reconfirmation of ongoing flights out of Peru
What’s Not Included
Visa and passport fees
All meals (see above)
International departure taxes and excess baggage fees