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Tico Tico: Culture of the Northern Andes

14 days from £2,338pp

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Tico Tico: Culture of the Northern Andes:
Trip Dossier

On this adventurous itinerary you will be rewarded by magical landscapes, archaeological treasures, and encounters with welcoming people who will give you an insight into life in the region. The remote highlights of the north of Peru attract fewer visitors than the south, and as such there is a lower level of tourist infrastructure and some long road journeys, but each day offers a fascinating insight into the country’s rich cultural history.

A taste for adventure and discovery is a must; this is a trip through the authentic South America which has remained unchanged for decades.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

UK clients depart, arriving Lima, Peru, the same day.

Day 1

Overnight in the capital.

Day 2

Fly to Trujillo and explore the city.

Day 3

Visit the Chimú site of Chan Chan, fishing village of Huanchaco and the Moche pyramids at Huacas del Sol and de la Luna.

Days 4-5

Journey to colonial Cajamarca, Explore the town and its fertile landscapes.

Day 6

Drive to Leymebamba.

Day 7

Visit the Chachapoyan museum. Continue to El Chillo.

Day 8

Journey to the ruins of Kuelap. Continue to Chachapoyas.

Day 9

Visit the archaeological site of Karajía.

Day 10

Excursion to the Gocta Falls.

Day 11

Drive to Chiclayo, on the north Peruvian coast.

Day 12

Visit the museum of Sipán and the ruins at Túcume.

Day 13

Fly to Lima. Optional excursions in the capital.

Day 14

Depart for international flight or extension.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Detailed itinerary

UK clients depart, arriving Lima, Peru, the same day.

Day 1

Overnight in the capital.
 
Those passengers arriving on an international flight will be met by the tour leader or a local representative and escorted to the group hotel. The drive to the hotel through Lima encapsulates the invigorating bustle of this city of extreme contrasts. Lima, the City of Kings, was once the capital of Spanish America, and the remnants of its glorious past can still be seen in the faded grandeur of the colonial churches and splendid, traditional wooden balconies in the city centre.

The explosive growth of the last 50 years, so typical of capital cities in the developing world, has transformed Lima into a lively and chaotic low-rise city. Away from the busy centre, there are some superb traditional restaurants as well as archaeological museums filled to the rafters with pre-Columbian treasures. In crowded streets, throngs of traffic race out towards Miraflores on the coast, a modern middle-class suburb where your hotel is located. There will be a walking tour of Lima's colonial centre or those wishing to get further afield there is the opportunity to continue south to the archaeological site of Pachacamac, built entirely from adobe and one of the largest sites that the Spanish found when they arrived in 1533.

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Lima

Day 2

Fly to Trujillo and explore the city.
 
Take a flight to the coastal town of Trujillo (70 minutes). The centre has some excellent examples of colonial architecture and its environs are speckled with extraordinary pre-Inca archaeological sites which reflect the eventful history of the region before the arrival of the Spanish.

Although the Incas are the best-known of Peru's pre-Columbian civilisations, the earlier cultures which flourished on the coast have provided the most impressive archaeological discoveries. The abundant food supplied by the irrigated valleys and the seas rich in fish created wealth here and freed up labour for the construction of vast temple complexes alongside intricate textiles and jewellery. Spend the afternoon wandering around the colonial centre, including the attractive Plaza Mayor and the cathedral.

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Trujillo

Day 3

Visit the Chimú site of Chan Chan, fishing village of Huanchaco and the Moche pyramids at Huacas del Sol and de la Luna.
 
A short journey takes you to Chan Chan, extraordinary ruins consisting of nine vast adobe compounds established by the Chimú civilisation in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is located on a sweeping beach and the buildings blend seamlessly into the sand. The motifs on the walls depict fish and sea birds, illustrating their importance in the life of the Chimú. Each new ruler built a separate compound here and the site covers a colossal 20 km².

Nearby is the seaside town of Huanchaco where fisherman skilfully surf the waves on traditional reed boats which have been used for centuries. Continue to the captivating Moche sites of the Huacas de la Luna and del Sol. The Moche (AD100-800) people are famed for their realistic portrait pottery and the richness and beauty of their gold and silver jewellery. Huaca del Sol was extensively looted by the conquistadors, but excavations continue to unearth extraordinary artefacts, as well as gory evidence of human sacrifice.

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Chan Chan

Days 4-5

Journey to colonial Cajamarca, Explore the town and its fertile landscapes.
 

We drive along the desert coast before heading into the verdant landscapes of the highlands on the winding road to Cajamarca (7-8 hours). This peaceful colonial town is your base for explorations into the surrounding area. It was here that Atahualpa, one of the last Inca Emperors, was held at ransom; after he had filled one large room with gold and two with silver, he lost his life to Pizarro and his band of Spanish conquerors. It is a delightful place to wander and there is time to visit said Ransom Room, a number of interesting colonial churches and to climb Santa Apollonia hill for a lovely view over the town. The reserved yet friendly inhabitants are easily distinguished by their dress: Stetson-style hats and ponchos.

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Cajamarca

Day 6

Drive to Leymebamba.
 

A scenic drive takes you into the mountains and to Leymebamba passing glistening lakes, deep river gorges and thriving valleys (10 hours).

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Road to Leymebamba

Day 7

Visit the Chachapoyan museum. Continue to El Chillo.
 

There is a morning museum visit, which details the life and death of the Chachapoyan people. Tombs re-discovered in 1997 revealed 219 mummies, which are kept and studied here. You will gain an insight into some of the history of the ruins that you encounter over the next few days in the Land of the Cloud People. An optional walk takes you to Revash (3-4 hours). Follow a scenic, shady trail into the mountains to see the cliff tombs with carved windows peeking out of the mountainside, which resemble small houses and have red pictographs dating back to AD1200. Continue by road for a further hour to Chillo.

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museum of mummies

Day 8

Journey to the ruins of Kuelap. Continue to Chachapoyas.
 

A sinuous road leads from Chillo to the ruins at Kuelap (2.5 hours). This extraordinary site is haughty in its grandeur and scale; a walled city perched high on a mountain top. A greater quantity of stones was used for its construction than for the great pyramids of Egypt. Explore the many ceremonial structures and aqueducts, and sit for a while to absorb the majesty of the site and the beauty of its location way above the river valley. Little is known about the pre-Inca Chachapoyan culture, but each year more ruins are being uncovered and investigated. Evidence thus far suggests that the Chachapoyans were among the most advanced of all pre-Inca cultures. Drive to your hotel in Chachapoyas (3.5 hours).

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Kuelap

Day 9

Visit the archaeological site of Karajía.
 

Head west by road and on foot to the burial sites of Karajía (2.5 hours). The Chachapoyans buried their chiefs in decorated clay sarcophagi which are adorned with imperious carved heads. These were then placed in cliff crevices which faced east towards the rising sun. The surrounding countryside is one of rolling farmland, in which small, traditional villages are connected by muddy tracks. Return in the evening to Chachapoyas.

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Karajia

Day 10

Excursion to the Gocta Falls.
 

Follow a meandering mountain road to the small community of Cocachimba, where a 3-hour walk down a steep trail leads to the base of the Gocta Falls: a burst of spring water which emerges from dense vegetation in the mountainside cascading 771m into a deep and inviting pool. The Gocta cataracts are presently ranked as the 16th-highest in the world (it was originally claimed they were the 3rd-highest), and they were only discovered in 2005 by German Stefan Ziemendorff, and his team of Peruvian explorers. Even if you don’t make it all the way it’s a lovely walk, and there is plenty of time to relax in Chachapoyas in the afternoon.

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Goc

Day 11

Drive to Chiclayo, on the north Peruvian coast.
 

A scenic journey takes you through the Chamaya and Huancabamba valleys to the continental divide. At 2,140m, this is the lowest part of the Andes between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. At lower levels the landscape turns to desert plain before we reach the city of Chiclayo (10 hours). The lively city is home to an extremely friendly population and hosts one of the largest and most colourful markets in Peru. Stalls sell magic potions, lucky charms and a variety of local herbal remedies.

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Chiclayo witches' market

Day 12

Visit the museum of Sipán and the ruins at Túcume.
 
The Sipán museum is one of the best in Peru and houses one of the country's great treasures. The 'Lord of Sipán' was a Moche nobleman who was buried in a pyramid in around AD200. His tomb was unearthed by grave robbers in 1986 and subsequent excavations have revealed stunning burial goods of gold, silver and copper, and exquisite cloths. The aridity of the coast perfectly preserved these ancient remains which are greatly revered by natives.

Continue to Túcume to see the ruins of a city built over 1,000 years ago. Explore the site at sunset to experience the full impact of this mysterious and evocative complex. A short climb to the viewpoints on Cerro la Raya (or El Purgatorio) gives an extraordinary panorama over all the 26 major pyramids, the platform mounds, walled citadels and residential compounds that flank a ceremonial centre and the ancient cemeteries.

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Lord of Sipán

Day 13

Fly to Lima. Optional excursions in the capital.
 

Drive to the airport for a flight back to Lima (70 minutes), for a final night in the capital. Time permitting there will be a chance to visit some of the famous museums the city has to offer.

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Day 14

Depart for international flight or extension.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Essential information

Transport

2 flights (longest 1 hour), 6 road journeys (longest 10 hours, most 1-3 hours).

Accommodation

On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels/guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Where these do not exist, accommodation is necessarily purely functional. All properties are well maintained and almost all will have a private bathroom with hot water. (If you prefer greater comfort please see the Classic Journeys or Private Journeys on their respective pages on our website).

Examples of hotels used on this holiday include:
• Lima: Hotel El Tambo I
• Trujillo: Hotel Paraiso
• Cajamarca: Hotel Cajamarca
• Leymebamba: La Casona
• El Chillo: Hostal El Chillo
• Chachapoyas: Casa Vieja
• Chiclayo: Intiotel

These hotels are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Meals

Breakfast daily; lunch day 8; dinner day 7.

Included excursions

• Lima: walking tour
• Trujillo: Chan Chan and Huacas del Sol y de la luna
• Cajamarca: walking tour
• Leymebamba: museum
• Chachapoyas: citadel of Kuelap
• Chachapoyas: sarcophagi at Karajía
• Chachapoyas: Gocta Falls
• Chiclayo: Lord of Sipán and Túcume

Summary of nights

14 days, 13 nights: Lima 1; Trujillo 2; Cajamarca 2; Leymebamba 1; El Chillo 1; Chachapoyas 3; Chiclayo 2; Lima 1.

Included in the journey price

• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and insurance
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
• Some domestic flight taxes

Optional excursions

There are optional excursions available throughout this tour, which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $100 USD should cover participation in most of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences.

• Cajamarca: visit the pre-Inca aqueducts of Cumbe Mayo
• Cajamarca: hike to the burial chambers of Revash from Leymebamba
• Lima: the Inca ceremonial centre at Pachacamac
• Lima: Larco Museum

Travelling alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge.

Currency

The unit of currency in Peru is the sol.

Budget

A budget of around $35 USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than the amount covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by visitors who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3 USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6 USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

International departure tax from Lima is included in the ticket price. Domestic flight taxes are approximately $6 USD each and may be payable locally.

Journey grade

There are some early mornings and very long days of travel on this trip. All walks are optional, and you can discuss with your tour leader which are suitable for you.

Climate

The rainy season in the Andes runs between November and March when there are showers most afternoons. The dry season is in June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (from freezing point to 10°C). April, May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells.

On the coastal strip it is generally warm and dry with hazy sunshine with temperatures averaging 22-26°C. Generally the further north you go along the Peruvian coast, the warmer it gets, and from November to April it can be extremely hot. Lima is covered in a dull grey mist for much of the year, although the sun does break through between November and March. It almost never rains in Lima, and temperatures are moderate. The rest of the coast is sunnier than Lima and for most of the year it is warm enough to wear a t-shirt during the day and perhaps a light jumper at night.

Altitude

Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2.500m). You may notice the effect of high altitude; symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches and breathlessness. If you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of being adversely affected.

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.

Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell make a good combination. Trousers or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block and sun glasses. You should also take swimwear.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health pages. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Clients with a different nationality should enquire or check with the relevant consulate.

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 USD per person. This must be done by you personally. Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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