Highlights and main attractions of Northern Peru

Whilst many decide to stick to the south of Peru and its better known attractions, the north holds a veritable treasure trove of natural attractions and the area is becoming more and more popular with those looking to seek out some of the more unexplored gems.

Some 550 kilometres away from Lima, Cajamarca and Trujillo are usually the starting point for northern adventures, with regular flights from Lima. Cajamarca is a charming Andean town in the sierra with a mix of colonial architecture, scenic countryside and rich history of pre-Columbian and Incan times. 

In particular, the pre-Incan walled city of Kuelap and archaeological riches of Cerro Olan and Vilaya within the Amazonas region are aching to be explored.

Where is Northern Peru?

The best places to explore in Northern Peru

Trujillo, along the coast, is called the ‘city of eternal spring’ for its agreeable climate and also has a variety of colonial mansions. It is also the gateway to the Moche Valley, whose Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon date back over 1,500 years. The Temple of the Sun is a pyramidal structure of 43 metres, whilst the Temple of the Moon is formed of six superimposed temples built during different periods, both equally captivating. Chan Chan, the largest adobe (mud-brick) city in the world at a huge 7.7 square miles, is located in the Trujillo area, and is a network of cities within a city, with inner patios, temples, residences all in one impressive citadel.

Chiclayo is further north up the coast and your base for exploring the nearby Sipan Complex, a pre-Hispanic un-looted Moche tomb that was only discovered in 1987 and was described as the richest complex of tombs found anywhere in the world for a century.

For those with a sense of adventure and a love of sweeping panoramas, Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca in the northeast region offers some of Peru’s most rewarding trekking. From day hikes such as Laguna 69 and its impossibly turquoise lagoon, to Santa Cruz which is a four day trek passing idyllic rivers in the heart of the mountain range, with some points up to 4,750 metres high – not for those who suffer at altitude!

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