North Coast

  • 10 Days to Two Weeks

The first stop north of Lima could be Caral, where the oldest known civilization in South America arose about 5000 years ago. Further north, spy ancient engravings of human sacrifice at Sechín and continue to Trujillo. Nearby attractions include the Moche pyramids of Huacas del Sol y de la Luna and ruins of the once-mighty Chan Chan.

Off the sleepy beaches at Huanchaco, surfers paddle out to the breakers while local fishers trawl the coast. To the north, the surf spot of Puerto Chicama boasts one of the world’s longest left-hand breaks. Then it’s Chiclayo, with world-class museums nearby showcasing riches from the important archaeological site of Sipán.

Craft-market hub Piura boasts great dining possibilities, while the witch doctors of Huancabamba are hidden away in the Andes. Peru’s best beaches lie along the Pacific shoreline further north, with resorts such as Colán, Máncora, and Punta Sal, where you can feast on fresh seafood and dance the balmy nights away.

The journey ends at Tumbes, a gateway to Ecuador and jumping-off point to Peru’s endangered mangrove swamps, which teem with wildlife (mind the crocs!).