Explore the culture and archaeology of Northern Peru on this eight-day adventure. Discover La Ruta Moche, the “road” along the northern coast of Peru, which includes the kingdoms of Moche, Chimu, and Lambayeque, with impressive archaeological sites that are among the most famous in South America. See a horse show, take a city tour, and visit the temples and Chan Chan in Trujillo. Then, check out the Archaeological Complex and the Museum of the Lady Cao in El Brujo. Spend time learning about Sican culture, and head to Túcume to enjoy traditional activities after visiting the iconic pyramids.

Highlights

  • Visit the Sun and the Moon Temples and Chan Chan in Trujillo
  • Discover El Brujo and the Museum of the Lady of Cao
  • Tour the popular Museum of Tumbas Reales in Chiclayo
  • Discover traditional activities and visit the Pyramids of Túcume

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Trujillo Trujillo
Day 2 Caballo de Paso Show & City Tour Trujillo
Day 3 Mochica Culture, Temple Tour, Huanchaco, & Chan Chan Trujillo
Day 4 Transfer to Chiclayo, Visit El Brujo & Museum of the Lady of Cao Chiclayo
Day 5 Discover Archaeological Collud & the Museum of Tumbas Reales Chiclayo
Day 6 Sican National Museum, Forest of Pomac & Pyramids of Túcume Chiclayo
Day 7 Cultural Activities in Túcume Chiclayo
Day 8 Depart From Chiclayo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Trujillo

Welcome to Peru!
Welcome to Peru!

Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. Get settled, and enjoy the evening in Trujillo on your own.

Day 2: Caballo de Paso show and city tour

Go sightseeing around Trujillo
Go sightseeing around Trujillo

After breakfast, take advantage of some free time around Trujillo. 

Around noon, a driver will pick you up at the hotel to take you to lunch at a local restaurant with regional and national dishes. Then, attend a typical “Caballo de Paso" horse show in town. Following the show, return to your hotel for a break. 

Then, a driver will pick you up at your hotel for a city tour of Trujillo, a colorful town. Discover its history through the colonial and republican buildings, churches, and majestic cathedral. At the end of the tour, visit the archaeological museum to learn about the development of the Northern Coast.

Following the active day, dinner and the evening are at your leisure.

Day 3: Mochica culture, temple tour, Huanchaco, and Chan Chan

Learn about Mochica culture
Learn about Mochica culture

After breakfast, take a ride to Moche's countryside to learn about Mochica heritage.

First, visit a pottery and crafts workshop to view crafts in production. See the techniques and materials that were rescued by the inhabitants of Moche´s countryside. Then, the folkloric group “Los Caimanes” (The Alligators) will present a sample of traditional music using Mochica instruments, such as the pututo, a ceramic trumpet.

Next, continue on to the Sun and Moon Temples. The Moon Temple has a number of temples within its grounds; it also has 130,000 square feet of polychrome murals. Its rich iconography and aesthetics are of outstanding universal value, which reflects a pattern that was built in about seven centuries. In addition, it represents an exceptional testimony of the Moche cultural tradition, as it materializes political power through religious ideas.

Afterward, visit the Huaca Arco Iris (Rainbow Temple), or Dragon. Its structure presents a series of stacked platforms from east to west. This temple was used for religious celebrations in honor of the rainbow and other natural phenomena related to rainfall and soil fertility. 

Then, have lunch in Huanchaco. This village is well-known for its artisanal fishermen who still fish in boats called "reed horses," which were used hundreds of years ago by the Moche.

Finally, pay a visit to the archaeological complex of Chan Chan, the Nik-An Palace. Chan Chan has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the capital of the Chimu Empire that flourished in the region after the fall of the Moche Empire and covers an area of approximately 5,000 acres.

Return to Trujillo for the evening at leisure.

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Day 4: Transfer to Chiclayo, visit El Brujo and the Museum of the Lady of Cao

Chiclayo
Chiclayo

Today, begin with the transfer to the city of Chiclayo.

On the road, visit El Brujo´s Archaeological Complex and the Museum of the Lady of Cao. This is one of the most valuable archaeological sites on the Northern Coast of Peru. It has a long cultural sequence of occupation that began in the pre-Ceramic period (3000 CE). However, Mochica culture has left much evidence in this area. 

Two discoveries have given greater meaning to this complex. On the one side is a large adobe pyramid 100 feet high, where Mochica culture is represented in high relief, captivating new images as “The Decapitator.” On the other side sits the Lady of Cao. In her tomb, pottery and ornaments of gold, silver, and copper were discovered. She is the first ancient Peruvian female mummy known as an aristocratic warrior. 

Following the exploration, continue on the Chiclayo for the night.

Day 5: Discover archaeological Collud and the Museum of Tumbas Reales

Tour the Museum of Tumbas Reales
Tour the Museum of Tumbas Reales

After breakfast, transfer to the archaeological site of Collud, which represents the rise of the first civilization of Northern Peru from more than 4,500 years ago. In this pre-Hispanic site, you can see architectural forms, like circular and curved walls, curved rectangular structures, altars of fire worship, squares in shapes of half-crosses, and others.

Collud identifies one of the oldest American traditions, the fire-worship, and was home to one of the most sophisticated temples in Peru at that time. It was the origin of crop domestication, political organization, and the symbolism of mural art. 

Continue on and visit Huaca Rajada. In this archaeological complex, visit the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, who was one of the most powerful rulers of his time and also had absolute power of life and death over his people. The tomb of the Lord of Sipan is the best remaining example of the splendor and power of the Moche ancestors. Archaeologists have discovered plenty of fine gold, silver, and copper jewelry from the area over time. 

Next, take a break for lunch at a local restaurant.                            

In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Tumbas Reales, one of the most impressive and modern archaeological museums in South America. The museum displays the wealth with which the Lord of Sipan was buried: gold and silver, fine weaves, religious emblems, and military power, along with a large number of ceremonial utensils.

Following the tour, the evening in Chiclayo is yours to enjoy.

Day 6: Sican National Museum, Forest of Pomac, and Pyramids of Túcume

Pyramids of Tucume
Pyramids of Túcume

After breakfast, transfer to Ferreñafe Village to visit the Sican National Museum, which is dedicated to the Sican culture. The museum shows, in detail, the historical process of the culture, customs, and activities of Sican people; see burial garments, ornaments, and patterns. In addition, view the famous mask with the winged eye, crowns, necklaces, and ceramics.

Continue with a visit to the historical sanctuary of the Forest of Pomac to see the Huaca Las Ventanas and Huaca Loro pyramids. At these sites, archaeologists are still discovering the secrets of the Sican people. These two pyramids, along with 15 others, are part of the Sican Archaeological Complex – Forest Pómac (formerly known as Batan Grande Reserved Zone), which is one of the most important archaeological sites in all of South America. These pyramids were an administrative and religious center of the powerful Sican culture.

Following the tour of the pyramids, take a lunch break at a local restaurant. 

In the afternoon, head to the Valley of the Pyramids in Túcume. This archaeological site was the last capital of the Lambayeque and Chimu kingdom that flourished before the arrival of the Incas in Northern Peru.

This complex is one of the most important pre-Hispanic monuments of the North Coast of Peru, and extends about 220 acres. It has 20 monumental architectural buildings associated with other buildings: beds, mounds, patios, canal systems, walls, and other structures that are a reflection of a system of planned growth and a complex social structure. Here, the lords of Túcume resided with the luxuries of semi-gods in huge palaces decorated with drawings of mythical and ritual content, furnished with exquisite jewelry and surrounded by priests, administrators, servants, and skilled craftsmen.

In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima.

Day 7: Cultural activities in Túcume

Enjoy hands-on and cultural activities in Tucume
Enjoy hands-on and cultural activities in Túcume

Have breakfast and transfer to the community of Túcume in the morning.

Enjoy cultural activities throughout the day. Start with a dyeing workshop with artist Julian Bravo, who was recently awarded by the regional government for his products. Learn how to make natural colors out of roots, insects, or fruits and view the process of dying fabrics made of native cotton. The artist then guides you while dyeing your own fabric and shows you how to make different patterns, which is an ancestral technique.

Then, have lunch within the local community.

In the afternoon, make traditional masks for one of the dances of the community; the dance of the diablicos, the devils. Make your own mask, with the help of a local named Cesar, and then assist in a show of the diablicos with their costumes and masks.

Head back to your hotel in Chiclayo, and enjoy your final night in Peru at leisure.

Day 8: Depart from Chiclayo

Farewell, Peru!
Farewell, Peru!

Enjoy breakfast on your last day in Chiclayo. Then, a driver will transport you to the airport to catch your departure flight home or the connecting flight to your next adventure.

Safe Travels!

Map

Map of Archaeology & Culture in Northern Peru: From Trujillo to Chiclayo - 8 Days
Map of Archaeology & Culture in Northern Peru: From Trujillo to Chiclayo - 8 Days