Experience the many splendours of Peru's ancient past on this 16-day tour that takes you to famed sites and hidden gems. In northern Peru, discover traces of pre-Inca cultures, including the mountaintop fortified city of Kuelap, home to the Chachapoyas “Cloud Warriors;” and the eroded adobe ruins of Chan Chan. Round out your exploration of Peru’s fascinating past with an early morning guided visit to magnificent Machu Picchu.

Trip highlights

Cusco Planetarium, Visit the Cusco Planetarium, which is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Llaullipata Ecological Reserve. Use telescopes to gaze up at the southern sky and see thousands of stars. Spot the constellations of the southern hemisphere, and learn about the ancient Incas’ relationship with the cosmos.

Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures along with the Planeterra Foundation and the Multilateral Investment Fund, to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off microenterprises.

Traditional Andean Experience, Exclusive to National Geographic Journeys travellers – and part of G Adventures for Good – visit the “Parque de la Papa” (“Potato Park”), a network of six rural agricultural communities in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Walk through this special community with a local guide for immersive time observing agricultural, weaving, and cultural traditions.

Itinerary - 16 Days

Day 1 Lima

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Day 2 Lima/Chachapoyas

Board an early flight to Jaen, then travel overland to Chachapoyas, gateway to the archaeological sites of northern Peru. "Chacha" as it's known locally, will be our base for exploring the natural, cultural, and archaeological highlights of the region.

Day 3 Gocta Falls

Hike through the cloud forest to Gocta waterfall, one of the world's tallest cascades, 771 meters (2,156 feet) high. Ancient legends that discouraged local community members from talking about the falls, which did not begin receiving visitors until 2005 and are still relatively unknown. Take in Gocta’s mesmerizing spray; then opt for a longer hike to its base, or enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 4 Kuelap Fortress

This morning, get immersed in the culture and history of the Chachapoyan people at Kuelap, a fortified city made up of more than 400 circular buildings and complexes. Ride a cable car up to the site, thought to have been an important cultural center for these pre-Inca "Cloud Warriors." Learn about coffee harvesting at a sustainable coffee farm before tasting coffee from the area. Later, try to spot some of the 130 bird species that live in the surrounding ecological reserve, including the spatula-tailed hummingbird.

Day 5 Chachapoyas/Chiclayo

Today, drive to Chiclayo. This coastal town, founded in the 18th century, was once an important trade route between the coast and the jungle and is rich with archaeological sites and cultural history. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own.

Day 6 Chiclayo

Enjoy a visit to one of the most archaeologically rich museums in Peru: the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum. In the afternoon, explore the tombs of Huaca Rajada and Lord Sipán, a series of burial chambers used by the pre-Inca Moche culture.

Day 7 Chiclayo/Trujillo

Drive down the coast to colonial Trujillo, stopping along the way at the tomb of the Dama de Cao. Tour the site and hear about the mummy discovered here in 2006, thought to be the remains of the Lady of Cao, a high-ranking Moche ruler. In the afternoon, explore Trujillo to discover baroque churches and local markets.

Day 8 Chan Chan/Lima

Visit the Temples of the Sun and the Moon. Later, enjoy a visit to Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world's largest adobe city. The former capital of the Chimu people, Chan Chan covers 26 square kilometers (10 square miles) and was once home to about 50,000 people. Fly back to Lima this evening.

Day 9 Lima

Enjoy a free day to explore Lima's capital city.

Day 10 Lima/Urubamba

Board an early flight to Cusco then head to the scenic Sacred Valley. Explore the pre-Inca salt pans of Las Salineras and tour the Maras and Moray ruins. Enjoy a traditional pachamanca-style meal of local specialties.

Day 11 Urubamba

Continue exploring the Sacred Valley with a visit to the “Parque de la Papa” (“Potato Park”). An exclusive experience for Journeys travellers and part of G Adventures for Good, you'll walk through this rural community with a local guide to learn about potato cultivation, weaving, and the importance of both to Andean culture. Also, explore the Ollantaytambo and Pisac ruins and visit the G Adventures-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo.

Day 12 Urubamba/Aguas Calientes

Catch an early transfer to Ollantaytambo station and board the scenic train to Aguas Calientes with the option to visit the market.

Day 13 Aguas Calientes/Cusco

Enjoy a guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins. Get free time to explore on your own or take an optional visit to the Inca Bridge before returning to Cusco by train.

Day 14 Cusco

Explore historic Cusco with options to visit museums or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding, or mountain biking. This evening, take in a different view of the night sky at the Cusco Planetarium. Enjoy a presentation on the southern sky, contemporary astronomy, and the ancient Inca relationship with the cosmos. Check out the on-site museum and use their telescopes to admire the stars.

Day 15 Cusco/Lima

Fly back to Lima and spend an afternoon in Peru's bustling capital.

Day 16 Lima

Depart at any time.

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