This tour offers you a visit of the most precious Peruvian architectonic jewels made by pre-Colombian civilizations!! Firstly, we visit the fascinating and huge fortress of Kuelap that is often called the “Machu Picchu of the Northen Peru”! It was made by the enigmatic Chachapoyas Cloud People at about 750–800 AD. The fortress is the largest stone structure of both Americas!! It is estimated that only 5% of Chachapoyas sites have been excavated!!
After that, we continue to Machu Picchu itself!! This majestic Incan city was constructed by the greatest Incan ruler - Pachacutec in the 15th century AD, but kept hidden to the Spanish conquerors and the surrounding world until 1911! Moreover, you reach this Incan city trekking when following the impressive Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!!
The common thing to the both pre-Colombian jewels is the fact that they were erected in highland jungles of Andes - Kuelap in the north-eastern Peru and Machu Picchu in the southern Peru.
The tour starts with a flight from Lima to the Northern Peruvian city of Chiclayo and touring Moche pre-Incan civilization monuments. Then, it takes you to the region of Chachapoyas to explore sightseeings of the amazing Chachapoyas culture such as the Kuelap fortress within the Kuelap Tour and burial sites and museums during the Chachapoyas Tour as well as during a travel to the Cajamarca City. When in Cajamarca, you start learning about the Incan culture when undertaking the City Tour and visiting the Baños del Inca. Then, you fly back to Lima to later continue flying to Cusco. There, the second part of the tour starts so you can look forward to observing the Sacred Valley of the Incas and hiking to Machu Picchu following the famous 4 days Inca Trail Trek!!
Day 01: Arrival to Lima
Day 02: Flight to Chiclayo/Sican Museum Tour
Day 03: Moche Tour
Day 04-05: Chachapoyas Tour
Day 06: Kuelap Tour & Leymebamba Tour
Day 07: Travel to Cajamarca
Day 08: Cajamarca City Tour + Baños del Inca Tour
Day 09: Cumbe de Mayo Tour
Day 10: Flight to Lima
Day 11: Flight to Cusco
Day 12: Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour
Day 13-16: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Day 17: Cusco City
Day 18: Departure
Crew: Tierras Vivas Representatives in Lima, Chiclayo and Cusco, professional bilingual Tour Guides as well as a Cook and Porters for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Accomodation: 3 and 4* hotels (14 nights), campsites (3 nights).
Meals: 17x breakfast, 4x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon tea during the Inca Trail (Please allow USD 150-200 for meals not included).
Transportation: 3x domestic flight, transportation by a tourist vehicle and by private van during local transfers, 1x train (Expedition Class).
Camping equipment: You can view our Classic Inca Trail camping here.
Check our policy and booking procedures of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. If you prefer not to hike the Inca Trail or the trail is fully booked, you can choose one of these options to be involved in your Chachapoyas - Inca Trail Tour:
Thank you for choosing Tierras Vivas for your trip.
The first day is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so that you can arrive at any time. When you arrive to the airport at Lima, our Representative waits for you holding a sheet with your name and takes you to your hotel.
The capital of Lima is also known as the "City of the Kings" as it was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535! The Plaza de Armas (main square) is a heart of old Lima. There can be found the Cathedral, Governmental Palace and Archbishop´s Palace.
Today, we take you back to the Lima´s airport to take your flight (1.5 hour) to the north-Peruvian city of Chiclayo. Upon arrival, you are welcomed by our Representative and transfered to your hotel where you accommodate yourself and get ready for the following tour which is a visit to the National Museum of Sican placed in a nearby village of Ferreñafe. There you can admire golden and silver jewels found a nearby tomb situated in Huaca El Loro (the Parrot´s House) in the Bosque de Pomác (Pomac Forest) - Batan Grande.
Then, we return to the hotel in Chiclayo and the rest of the day is free.
The city of Chiclayo is situated 770 km north of Lima and 509 km south of the borders with Ecuador. The city is the capital of the Lambayeque Region and it is called the “City of Friendship”.
Among its main sightseeing belongs the Cathedral placed in the Principal Park (Parque principal) build in a neoclassic style in 1869. Other interesting monuments are the Municipal Palace (Palacio municipal) constructed in 1919 in a Republican style (to the north of the Principal Park), the Veronica´s Chapel (Capilla La Verónica) built in 19th century and proclaimed a national history monument, St Antony Basilica (Basílica San Antonio) representing a modern architecture (built in 1949), Elias Aguirre Square (Plazuela Elias Aguirre) situated in front of the old railway station of Eten built in 1924 and decorated by the Peruvian sculptor David Lozano. You can also visit the Model Market (Mercado modelo), a very busy trading place where you can even find a big number of medicinal plants used by local shamans, especially, during the “Healing Months”. You can find these shamans there as well!
In the morning, we travel southeast towards "Huaca Rajada" (or the village of Sipan) where the royal tomb of the Lord of Sipan was found. We visit this archaeological site and its museum there. Then, we continue to the village of Lambayeque to have lunch in a restaurant (not included in the tour). Afterwards, we continue towards the Tucume Pyramids to tour this archaeological complex as well as visit its site museum. Finally, we return to Lambayeque to explore the impressive "Lord of Sipan Museum" where you can admire golden and silver jewels found in the tomb of this Moche ruler. Around 6 pm, we return to Chiclayo.
A long way awaits us on the first day of the Chachapoyas Tour as we travel towards the mountain town of Chachapoyas. On the way, you enjoy majestic views of changing country as we start at the coastal desert and continue into Andean highlands via several semiarid valleys. Later on, we reach the lovely Utcubamba Valley, an exuberant valley of the same-named river. At sunset, we get to the picturesque town of Chachapoyas where we overnight in a lovely hotel.
The following day, we travel up the Utcubamba Valley towards Karajia (48 km northeast of the city of Chachapoyas), a burial site of the Chachapoyas civilization. There, seven 2.5 meter tall Chachapoyan mummies in sarcophagi are situated on an inaccessible cliffside above a river. The sarcophagi are done of clay, grass and sticks having accentuated jawlines. They are painted white and body details are decorated with red and ochre yellow colors. The sarcophagi are very particular for these people of ancient Peru as they have human skulls on the top of their heads. The mummies were originally eight, but one was destroyed by earthquake in 1928. The age of the sarcophagi were dated to the 15th century using radiocarbon method.
Afterwards, we continue to another burial site - Pueblo de los Muertos (the Town of the Dead). The site is placed on a mountain cliff where remains of these people of ancient Peru rest in sarcophagi of a conical, anthropomorphic form. We can also found cave paintings there representing zoomorphic figures. From there, the splendid Utcubamba Valley and the Gocta Waterfalls can be observed. We return to the Chachapoyas Town in the late afternoon which gives us a bit of time to explore its historic centre.
The word Chachapoyas comes probably from the Quechuan words “Sacha Puyus” = cloud forest. For that reason, the Chachapoyas were called the “Cloud People” (or also the “Warriors of the Clouds”). This impressive culture developed about 750–800 AD in a highland cloud forest of the Amazonian Andes in the province of Amazonas. The Chachapoyas Cloud people mastered fighting techniques, exceled in agriculture, and especially, in architecture and stone works! A prime example of Chachapoyan engineering and one of the best preserved and most famous monuments throughout the province of Amazonas is the fortified city of Kuelap! Peru Kuelap and other urban centers developed probably for a defensive purpose to protect the Chachapoyas Cloud People against the Wari culture covering most of the coast and highlands during the so called Middle Horizon Period. The urban centres are placed on tops of hills and rocky cliffs while Chachapoyas burial sites can be found on hardly accessible cliffs of river canyons, where a human foot have not entered for centuries! Unlike history of other Peruvian cultures, for example, the dessert empires of the Moche, the Nazca, the Chimu or even the famous Incan Empire, the Chachapoyas culture flourished almost since the beginning of AD to the Spanish conquest era. It is sure that their resistance to the Incan occupation nearly to the second half of the 15th century is an indisputable evidence of their ingenious military tactics and shrewdness!
After breakfast, we leave by a tourist vehicle towards the antique city of Peru Kuelap (about 3 hours). When we get to the archaeological zone of Malca Pampa, we start walking for about 20 minutes to reach the Kuelap City and receive a 3 hour guided tour from our experienced Tour Guide explaining us about historic process of the city as well as about its interior organization. We can view there ceremonial area, its main temple, circular houses, lower town and upper town. After the Kuelap Tour, we enjoy lunch (not included in the tour) to later continue to the locality of Leymebamba. There we visit the Mallqui Centre Museum that houses over 2,000 objects, 200 mummies and an interesting collection of “Quipus” recovered and brought from the mausoleums of the Lake of the Condors. In addition, the museum exhibits textiles, ceramics and arms of ancient Peruvian cultures. Then, we are given a quick city tour of Leymebamba before returning to our hotel in Chachapoyas.
Kuelap is a huge fortress of the Chachapoyas people and it is called the “Machu Picchu of the Northen Peru”! The fortress involves over 400 buildings and massive stone fortification reaching up to 18 metres in height, 110 metres in width and 600 metres in lenght making it the largest stone structure of both Americas!! The fortification was probably built around 800 AD for a protection purpose against attacks of the Wari. The fortress is covered by orchids and bromeliads. Other interesting Chachapoyas monuments include the burial sites of Revash, the Gran Pajáten settlement, ruins of Cerro Olán, Gran Saposoa, the complex of Atumpucro, the Lake of the Condors (or the Lake of the Dead) and much more. It is estimated that only 5% of sites of the Chachapoyas have been excavated!!
In the morning, a travel to the city of Cajamarca awaits us. On the way, we stop at Balsas that pride with a museum housing a large collection of mummies. We can also see a garden of orchids there. Then we continue our travel observing tremendous sceneries passing two mountain ranges and the Marañon Canyon! We reach Cajamarca (2,650 m.a.s.l.) in early evening and overnight in a lovely hotel.
Cajamarca is the most important city of the northern Peru´s Andes and it is a capital of the same named department. It possesses an equatorial climate. The city was inhabited in pre-Incan times and even then, it was considered as an important centre. In 1532, it became famous for a capture of the last Inca´s ruler Atahualpa during the Peru´s conquest finishing the glory of the Incan Empire - Tawantinsuyo like that!
After breakfast, we climb up to the Santa Apolonia Hill to observe the Cajamarca City from a bird´s eye view. Then, we explore the old part of the city visiting its main square (Plaza de Armas), San Francisco Convent, Cuarto de Rescate (a house where the last Inca Atahualpa was captured by subterfuge of Spanish conquistadors), the Belen Monument Complex and some museums. Then, we continue to the 6 km far away spa - Baños del Inca, a favourite place of Inca rulers such as Pachacutec, Tupac Yupanqui, Huascar and Atahualpa. Its waters reach 79°C and have healing effects that are considered as the most significant of the continent!! You have a chance to enjoy these healing waters too!! In the end of the day, we return to Cajamarca to overnight.
Today we visit Cumbe de Mayo, an archaeological pre-Inca site located about 19 km southwest of Cajamarca at an altitude of around 3,500 meters above sea level. There can be found ruins of ancient aqueduct measuring about 8 km! The aqueduct gathered rainfall and transported it to the Pacific Ocean. It is believed that it was built around 1,500 BC which would make it the oldest structure of South America!! The name of Cumbe de Mayo has its roots in the Quechua phrase “Kumpi mayu” meaning "well build water channel". There can be found petroglyphs on the aqueduct and nearby caves too! This remote highland zone is also a site of the so called "Stone Forest" formed by volcanic rocks carved by erosion. These formations are called Los Frailones (Friars) or Los Monjes de Roca (Rocky Monks) as well. Cumbe de Mayo was not only an irrigation aqueduct, but also a ceremonial centre of the water cult (similar to Qenko in Cusco or Saywite in Apurimac). During the day, we also trek on a part of the Inca Road. Finally, we return to our hotel at Cajamarca.
Transfer to the airport of Cajamarca to take a flight to Lima. You are picked up there by our Representative and taken to your hotel to either rest or explore the city on your own. In this way, we start the second part of the tour that takes us from Lima to Inca Trail!
In the morning, we take you to the Lima´s airport for your flight to Cusco City. Our Representative awaits you in front of the Cusco´s arrival airport hall holding a sheet with your name. After he/she welcomes you in Cusco, he/she takes you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore around this fascinating city as well as to acclimatize to its high altitude.
The Cusco City is the oldest continuously inhabited city of this continent as well as a hub of the South American travel network! The city attracts people from all around the world, who arrive not only to visit a unique destination, but also to experience an antique culture that differs a lot from the occidental 21st century´s way of life. One could easily spend a week just in and around this site. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and it is not necessary to go far to see other major Inca ruins! This is a city steeped in history, traditions and legends!
Every year, Cusco is visited by thousands of travelers, who come to delve into its noble, but tragic past. It is a perfect base for optional explorations around the city´s surroundings as well as for a range of outdoor activities.
Cusco also has got numerous colonial churches. The most important of them is the Cathedral on the main square. Its construction started in 1559 and it took 100 years to finish!! The Cathedral can pride on the biggest depository of Colonial art of the city! A vault containing remains of the famous Incan historian - Garcilaso de la Vega is just past the entrance. Other churches that are worth seeing are La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.
Today, our Tour Guide takes us into the Sacred Valley of the Incas that was an important source of food for the Incas. The Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that keeps supplying the Cusco City with lots of its production. We visit the majestic ruins of Pisaq as well as its current famous handicraft market. Then, we stop in Urubamba, considered to be the capital of the valley, to have a buffet lunch offering Andean cuisine (not included in the tour). Afterwards, we continue to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo with its Incan fortress before getting ready for our following hike, one of the highlights of the tour!
Ollantaytambo is your first taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. We spend the night in this small town before heading for the start of this famous Machu Picchu hike the next morning!
Hiking Inca Trail on this 4-day trek is physically challenging, but worthwhile!! Its difficulty is within ability of the most reasonably fit. This 44-km (27 mile) Machu Picchu hike is often steep including 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4,200 m (13,776 ft). Temperature at nights may fall below zero so it is important to get ready for that! It also sometimes rains, even during a dry season!
Today, we start this Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike by a morning trip to Km 82 - the initial hiking point. It is very important to not forget your passport with you because it is checked at the entrance as well as you get a stamp of the Inca Trail on it!! Our Porters and Tour Guide are a guarantee that the Machu Picchu hike is without any worries, so you enjoy its awesome Incan ruins (Llactapata, Runkuraqay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarka, Wiñay Wayna) and spectacular mountain scenery every day as much as you can!! The Inca Trail hiking finishes with a climb of antique Inka steps to Inti Punku (Sun Gate) to watch the Sunrise above the long-expected citadel of Machu Picchu!! Then, you enjoy a 2 and half an hour guided visit of the so called "Lost City of the Incas"!! Afterwards, you have an opportunity to climb either the peak of Huayna Picchu (45 minutes up and the same time back) or the Machu Picchu Mountain (1 and half an hour hike) on your own to take some panoramic pictures of Machu Picchu!! In the afternoon, you descend to the town of Aguas Calientes. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike ends up by taking a return train to the Cusco City. Arrival in the evening.
Please note! Inca Trail is closed during Februaries due to general maintenance. Also, closures sometimes may occur as a result of inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. In this case, we may hike the 4 day Lares Valley Trek.
FREE OPTION: Those, who are not able or interested in hiking to Machu Picchu, can get back to Cusco or just stay at the Sacred Valley of the Incas and spend the following 2 days there. In this case, they reach Aguas Calientes by a tourist train (Expedition Class). They overnight in a hotel and they take a shuttle bus the next morning to Machu Picchu where they reunite with that first group consisting of the Inca Trail hikers. This option is for no additional cost!!
IMPORTANT: If you decide not to do the trek, you must advice us enough time in advance (usually, a couple of weeks ago) in order to secure your train tickets!! Otherwise, we are not able to guarantee you this option for free!!
If you have any query, please do not hesitate contacting us!
Today is a relaxing day so you can explore the fascinating capital of the Incas, visit its markets, buy some souvenirs, do some optional activities as well as get ready for the last night in the city!
Transfer to the Cusco´s airport to take your flight to Lima.
Please note: A return flight to Lima can be arragend upon request!
Meals budget: Please allow USD 150-200 for meals not included.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single Room" option for this tour, you receive your own single room for all overnights and a single tent for the 4 days Inca Trail Trek.
Local flights: There are three local flights included in the cost of your tour. It is very important that we have got your passport details at the time of booking in order to process all air tickets! National flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to each flight departure!
A kind of luggage you need to take with depends on a kind of tour you plan to undertake, a part of the country you like to visit, a year season and a length of your trip. In general, you should pack as lightly as possible because you carry your own luggage during most of our tours (however, there are not long walking distances – up to 30 minutes). We recommend you to keep weight of your luggage under 10 kg (22 lb.).
Most of travelers use a suitcase. However, a big backpack would be more suitable. In any case, please do not forget a small rucksack that you will need for daily travels (to carry your bottled water, camera, snacks, etc.). It is better to avoid a wheeled luggage and use luggage with shoulder straps.
Vestment to take with you depends on a year season in Peru and a part of country you are going to visit.
When visiting coastline of the Northern Peru and surroundings of Lima, then you need to pack some light cloths (for example, shorts, skirts, dresses, T-shirts), flip-flops, sandals, a head cover as a protection against the Sun (a hat or a cap), sun protection cream, sunglasses, mosquitos repellent and swimsuit, of course.
If you plan to visit Peruvian mountains (Andean mountain range or Altiplano), then we recommend you to take some trousers suitable for hiking, shorts, T-shirts and trekking shoes for the days; and sweaters, fleeces, hats, scarves and warm jackets for the nights. You also should take a sun protection cream, sun glasses and in some cases, mosquito repellent (depending on a route chosen). It is very convenient to have a light rain-gear available in a daypack (e.g. a waterproof poncho or jacket and/or waterproof trousers) as weather changes quickly and rains can suddenly occur.
If you like to see the Amazonian rainforest (Manu, Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, etc.), then the most important item of your luggage must be a mosquito repellent (20 DEET as a minimum recommended)!! Except that, you should take some light clothing with long sleeves and long trousers (to put into your shoes as a kind of protection against insect). You should not forget some waterproof cloths (especially, if you plan to visit the rainforest during a rainy season), comfortable and closed footwear, long socks and a hat.
Originally founded as San Juan de la Frontera de los Chachapoyas, it is the capital of the department of Amazonas. This region is famous for its misty forests, its paramo and privileged microclimates. Favorite and abundant habitat of orchids, Andean bears and Cock of the rocks. Here are the enigmatic remains of Kuélap, a citadel built between the regions of the Andes and the jungle of Peru, where mysterious tombs and sarcophagi await, an inheritance from the time when the Chachapoyas culture reigned. Chachapoyas Tour