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Peru: Lost Treasures Of The Cloud Warriors

Group Tour

14 Days From $4,053

Overview

In the north of Peru, far away from the country’s most famous attraction - Machu Picchu - can be found an amazing collection of pre-Columbian sites which are amongst some of the most fascinating and little-known in the entire Americas. For not only were these the lands of the Inca, they were also home to the Moche, the Chimu and the cloud warriors of Chachapoyas.

This astonishing odyssey into Peru’s ancient past takes us high up into the Northern Highlands, where the awesome mountain ...
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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
12 x Lunches
8 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will predominantly be travelling by minibus, but will also include two domestic flights and lots of opportunities to get out on your own two feet.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in a combination of good quality hotels and eco-lodges, as well as some more basic but still characterful places up in the mountains. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Peru: Lost Treasures Of The Cloud Warriors
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN LIMA

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN LIMA

One of the country’s most eclectic and vibrant cities, Peru’s historic ‘City of Kings’ is a rich amalgam of contrasts and contradictions. One of the gastronomic centres of the Americas and home to the grand architecture of the Plaza de Armas, Lima can trace its colonial beginnings to the middle years of the 16th century, when the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, founded the city and named it in honour of the Magi of biblical legend. Over the years Lima has survived earthquakes, pirate attacks and wars of independence, to become the capital of the country and the fourth largest city in Latin America - a fitting starting point for a journey that will take us back to the Pre-Columbian beginnings of this incredible land.

Girasoles Hotel or similar

DAY 2: LIMA - TRUJILLO

DAY 2: LIMA - TRUJILLO

Depending on flight schedules there should be time this morning to explore some of Peru’s fascinating capital, a veritable melting pot of cultures, with the influences of Europe, Africa and Asia very much in evidence before we take an onward flight to Trujillo. This northern city is a colonial gem and is also home to the cultural remains of the Chimu and Moche civilisations and the largest adobe pyramids in Peru.

Hotel Casa Andina or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: IN & AROUND TRUJILLO

DAY 3: IN & AROUND TRUJILLO

Just to the south of Trujillo lie the huge pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, towering testaments to one of the most remarkable pre-Inca cultures in the Americas. The Moche people were master craftsmen, whose pottery is still considered amongst the finest ever created by the ancient Peruvian civilisations. The Huaca del Sol was once the largest man-made structure in the western hemisphere, reaching a height of over 45 metres. Its neighbour, the smaller Huaca de la Luna was considered to be a ‘religious pyramid’ and the recent discovery of over 6,000 square metres of murals and reliefs provide an incredible legacy to a culture that died out over 1200 years ago. After a full morning’s visit to these remarkable sites, we’ll return to Trujillo for lunch. In the afternoon we visit the impressive Chimu ruins of Chan Chan. The remains of Chan Chan are far and away the most extensive of Trujillo’s archaeological ruins. This once great imperial city covers an area of some 28 square kilometres and, at its hiatus, was the largest adobe city on the planet. Today the nine meter high perimeter walls encircle the crumbling remains of palaces and temples, workshops and gardens that once lay at the heart of an empire that stretched along the coast for over 1,000 kilometres.

Hotel Casa Andina or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: DRIVE TO CHAPARRÍ

DAY 4: DRIVE TO CHAPARRÍ

Today we head north along the Panamerican Highway to the city of Chiclayo. After lunch we head west to the entrance of the Chaparri Reserve: a private conservation area of 34,412 hectares that is a haven for Andean bears and condors. On arrival if time allows we will take a short walk to soak up the local atmosphere.

Chaparri Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: CHAPARRÍ - CHICLAYO

DAY 5: CHAPARRÍ - CHICLAYO

Largely dominated by sparse dry forest and semi-desert, this remote setting is the first privately owned reserve in the country. Run by the local community, this natural paradise is home to a wide variety of animal and birdlife including many species that are endemic to the Tumbesian dry forests. These include the Andean or spectacled bear (think Paddington Bear!), the guanaco and the Andean condor. Indeed, Chaparrí can boast the only dedicated Andean bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Peru, which comprises a specially designed facility that is currently home to seven bears. Later we drive on to the city of Chiclayo, our base for the next two nights.

Sunec Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: IN & AROUND CHICLAYO

DAY 6: IN & AROUND CHICLAYO

Chiclayo began life as a rural community, founded by Spanish priests in the 1560s. Since then it has grown to be a major northern hub, lying at the centre of the country’s rice and sugar cane production. Today the town enjoys the benefits of a wonderfully ornate colonial heritage and a quite spectacular archaeological pedigree. In the morning we shall visit Ventarron – an astonishing small temple complex where construction started in 4000BC. One can see the oldest murals in the Americas that were painted around 2500BC. Then we carry on to Sipan (Huaca Rajada is the preferred name now) which lies some 35 kilometres to the south-east of the town to see the twin pyramid complex and Moche tombs. After lunch there is time to see the Royal Tombs Museum in Lambayeque which houses what is considered by many to be amongst the best examples of pre-Columbian art ever found. We return to Chiclayo later in the afternoon.

Sunec Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7: CHICLAYO - CHACHAPOYAS

DAY 7: CHICLAYO - CHACHAPOYAS

Today we head into the northern highlands and the lands of the Chachapoyans, the ‘Cloud People’ of legend, whose monumental cities and great fortresses testify to an archaeological legacy of incredible richness. The Chachapoyan Empire can be dated back to around 800AD, spreading across the jungle landscapes and developing major urban centres like Kuelap and Gran Pajaten, before finally being incorporated into the Incan Empire during the 15th century. To date there have been some 39 sites discovered throughout the region and it is believed to contains no fewer than five ‘lost’ cities, leading one author to describe it as “...overwhelming Machu Picchu in grandeur and mystery”. Our final destination for today is Chachapoyas, an important trading city that once lay at the crossroads between the coast and the jungle, providing an ideal base from which to explore this incredible cultural landscape.

Hotel Xalca or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: AROUND CHACHAPOYAS: VISIT THE RAYMILLACTA FESTIVAL AND KARAJIA

DAY 8: AROUND CHACHAPOYAS: VISIT THE RAYMILLACTA FESTIVAL AND KARAJIA

Today coincides with the Raymillacta Festival - a local celebration that sees villagers from the surrounding communities converging on the city to commemorate the ancient traditions and customs of the people that they once called the ‘Warriors of the Clouds'. After watching the start of the colourful procession, we'll travel to the funerary site of Karajia, precariously located on a mountain ledge some 2,600 metres above the valley. This remarkable setting contains six anthropomorphic coffins, stylised human figures that contain the entombed bodies of the dead, gazing out across the valley to the western horizons beyond. Later we'll return to Chachapoyas for yet more festivities - whether dancing, food or music. A great opportunity to share in this annual celebration, the streets really come alive with a blaze of striking costumes.

Hotel Xalca or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: CHACHAPOYAS – GOCTA FALLS - CHACHAPOYAS

DAY 9: CHACHAPOYAS – GOCTA FALLS - CHACHAPOYAS

Today we drive out to the majestic Gocta Falls, the third highest waterfall in the world (although this is a point of some debate at present). Only recently ‘discovered’, the falls cascade down through some 771 metres, flowing into the waters of the nearby Cocahuayco River. Given its impressive height, it is remarkable that these falls have remained unknown to the outside world for so long, but it wasn’t until 2005 that a team actually came across them. The area around the falls provides us with some stunning trekking today, leading us past fields of sugar cane and corn and along trails that echo to the sounds of yellow-tailed woolly monkeys. These forests are home to giant ferns and orchids and at the base of the falls a swimming hole is believed to contain the protective spirit of a white-haired mermaid.

Hotel Xalca or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: CHACHAPOYAS - KUELAP - CHILLO

DAY 10: CHACHAPOYAS - KUELAP - CHILLO

Rediscovered in 1843, the spectacular pre-Incan fortress of Kuelap sits on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley. Begun during the 7th century, it is thought to have been under continuous construction spanning several hundred years until it's abandonment shortly after the Spanish conquest. Sprawled across the mountain summit and measuring over a kilometre in length, the site is considered one of the finest examples of Chachapoyan architecture left in the country, its formidable walls rising up to some 17 metres to protect the some 400 stone, cylindrical buildings within. By the time the Incas arrived in the 1470s, Kuelap had become little more than an isolated mountain fortress, but in its day it had been one of the most formidable pre-Columbian cities in the Americas. After visiting the site we continue on to Chillo and our overnight accommodation in the heart of the Utcubamba Canyon.

Hotel El Chillo or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: CHILLO - REVASH - LEYMEBAMBA

DAY 11: CHILLO - REVASH - LEYMEBAMBA

Today we pay a visit to the ruins of Revash and the pleasant town of Leymebamba, home to the Museo Leymebamba and the mummies of the Laguna de los Cóndores. The mausoleums at Revash date back to the middle years of the 13th century and lie amongst the calcareous rock formations of the Cerro Carbón, to the south of Chachapoyas. The walk up to the ruins takes us up along a trailing mountain path that climbs up to these impressive painted adobe houses and cave paintings. After our visit we then drive on to the town of Leymebamba, where we visit its stunning collection of over 200 mummies that were excavated from the late Inca burial grounds that once lay to the south.

La Casona de Leymebamba or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: LEYMEBAMBA - CAJAMARCA

DAY 12: LEYMEBAMBA - CAJAMARCA

The beautiful colonial town of Cajamarca lies to the south-west of us, across a landscape of wide canyons and mountain valleys. Set on the edge of a lush valley, in the heart of Peru’s dairy country, the town once lay at the centre of the Cajamarca culture (500-1000 AD), before being turned into an important Inca religious settlement. Its charming colonial centre belies the fact that this town is steeped in the blood of the Incas, being the spot where that once great empire came to a final, bloody end at the Battle of Cajamarca. It was here, in November 1532, that Francisco Pizarro launched a surprise attack on the entourage of the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa, capturing him and slaughtering thousands of his followers in the process, an event that the Incas failed to recover from. In 1986 the town was declared a ‘Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas’ by the Organisation of American States. Today’s full day drive is one of the most scenic in the entire country and is not for the fainthearted!

Hotel Portal de Marques or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: IN & AROUND CAJAMARCA

DAY 13: IN & AROUND CAJAMARCA

The town is home to a number of Catholic churches including the beautiful Complejo Belén and the baroque setting of its 18th century cathedral. We’ll have an opportunity this afternoon to spend some time exploring the town, after first paying a visit to the pre-Inca ruins at Cumbe Mayo, just to the south-west of the town. Set amongst the mountain landscapes and volcanic rock formations of Los Frailones (The Stone Monks), the aqueducts of Cumbe Mayo are said to be amongst the oldest man-made structures in South America and once collected water from the Atlantic watershed and carried it for some nine kilometres across the mountains to the Pacific watershed. On returning to Cajamarca we then have some time to enjoy the city at leisure, taking in the Plaza de Armas (where Atahualpa was executed) and perhaps visiting the old colonial maternity hospital, which is now the Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum.

Hotel Portal de Marques or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: FLY TO LIMA WHERE TOUR ENDS

DAY 14: FLY TO LIMA WHERE TOUR ENDS

A further morning in Cajamarca allows time for some final exploration before our afternoon flight (times subject to change) back to the ‘City of Kings’ today, where our journey ends.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Mid-Range

Good quality service and overall comfort

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Events

The Raymillacta Festival

A local celebration that sees villagers from the surrounding communities converging on the city to commemorate the ancient traditions and customs of the people that they once called the ‘Warriors of the Clouds’ – we’ll return to Chachapoyas to witness this colourful event which involves processions and dancing, food and music.

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Chaparri Ecological Reserve

On this tour you will explore the Chaparri Ecological Reserve.  This dry forest reserve is managed by the local community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape in partnership with a local conservation development organisation, Asociacion Naymlap.  The reserve boasts various flora and fauna, including the spectacled (or Andean) bear, of which there are no more than 500 in Peru.  The rescue and breeding programme saves abandoned or abused bears with the aim of releasing them back into the their natural habitat.  There are also a small population of wild spectacled (or Andean) bears in the reserve.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
IB 6651 Madrid Airport (MAD) 13:20 Lima Airport (LIM) 18:05
IB 7443 London Heathrow (LHR) 07:20 Madrid Airport (MAD) 10:50
IB 7758 Lima Airport (LIM) 19:45 Madrid Airport (MAD) 14:20
IB 3172 Madrid Airport (MAD) 15:50 London Heathrow (LHR) 17:15

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Peru.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

NB. Please note that as of January 2016 US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel to or via the USA must have a biometric passport. In addition, anyone  who has travelled to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen or Somalia since March 2011, is required to apply for a US visa (rather than just an ESTA). If you are affected by this, the process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here:-
www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Cusco & Machu Picchu

If you’ve never been to Peru before then don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit these South American gems. Depending on whether you want to walk the Inca Trail or not. Allow 4-10 days.

Southern Circuit

If you have time for a more thorough exploration of Peru, then a week should allow you to travel south from Lima via the “mini-Galapagos” at Paracas, the Nazca lines, the colonial city of Arequipa with its nearby Colca Canyon and Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Allow 7 - 10 days.

Amazon Rainforest

You may be surprised to learn that 60% of Peru is Amazonian rainforest and various eco-lodges offer the opportunity for exploration of this unique environment. Allow 3-5 days.

Neighbouring countries

If you’re coming from Europe, then South America is a long way to go and you may want to consider combining this trip with a visit to Bolivia or even Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Allow 1 - 3 weeks.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Given the diverse nature of Peru’s topography it is hard to give accurate climate forecasts, but in general this tour runs in the dry season. Daytime temperatures in the mountains are expected to be in the early to mid-twenties, although nights will be considerably cooler. On the coast temperatures should be slightly higher during both the day and night. However, given the fact that much of the trip will take place in the mountains, you should come expecting weather that can change quickly and may include rain. 

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that access to many of the mountain sites involve walks along trails varying in duration from a few minutes to a few hours. Whilst all walks can be opted out of, you should ensure you are in as good a state of health as possible in order to get the most out of the trip.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except perhaps at Chaparri Lodge, where the number of rooms is limited and so single rooms may not be able to be guaranteed.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 12628 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

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