Frieze at the Temple of the Moon, near Trujillo

Northern Peru's pre-Inca cultures are fascinating

The Temple of the Moon is one of the great monuments of pre-Inca Moche culture. The face on this polychrome frieze represents the Moche god Aipaec.

Photo by David Rock / iStock Photo

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Sipan and Chan Chan Extension

Ancient Wonders of Northern Peru

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $980  
Length: 4 days
Arrive: Lima, Peru
Depart: Lima, Peru
Lodging: 3 nights hotels
Meals: Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Cultural explorations and walking tours
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Visa Requirements

A visa is not required for U.S. citizens visting Peru. A tourist card will be issued to you on the flight to Lima.

Our Trips using this Extension


Hiker's Journey to Machu Picchu
Inca Trail Private Journey
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge
Peru Explorer
Peru Private Journey

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

Discover Peru’s mysterious pre-Inca Moche Empire as you explore massive earthen pyramids dedicated to the Sun and Moon (Huacas del Sol and de la Luna), among the biggest monuments ever built in the New World; roam the lanes of Chan Chan, a 13th century Chimu capital in adobe and the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas; and gaze on the incredible golden treasures of the Lords of Sipán, unearthed with the discovery of the Royal Tomb of Sipán in 1987, the richest unlooted tomb ever found in the Americas.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Lima / Chiclayo

Fly via Lima to Chiclayo in northern Peru. Overnight at hotel...meals on your own

Day 2
Sipán / Tucume / Lambayeque Museum Trujillo

Explore the colossal pre-Columbian site of Tucume, center of the Lambayeque culture, with its 26 earthen pyramids. Later, visit the National Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan (note: closed Mondays), home to rare and beautiful Moche gold masterworks as well as artifacts from Chimu, Chavin, Lambayeque, and Vicus cultures. The Moche were excellent metalworkers who created complex sculptures through the art of lost-wax casting. They also developed ways to accomplish electrochemical plating long before the harnessing of electricity.

Or, explore the Royal Tomb of Sipán, the mud-brick burial platform of the Moche ruler Huaca Rajada, where the extraordinary golden treasures of the Moche people were discovered in 1987 by looters digging into a pre-Incan pyramid. Although few pieces from this original tomb were ever recovered, Dr. Walter Alva, Director of the Bruning Museum, and his wife, fellow archaeologist Susana Meneses, immediately began excavation of the site’s three huge pyramids. They soon discovered two additional tombs that have proven to be the richest unlooted tombs ever excavated in the Western Hemisphere.  We will also visit the Sican Museum, a treasure of pure gold artifacts discovered in the tombs that revealed their culture's surprising command of metallurgy and its exquisite artistry in gold and silver, in addition to its known excellence in ceramics. Continue to colonial Trujillo for overnight...BL

Day 3
Chan Chan

Explore Chan Chan, capital of the Chimu Empire (heirs to the Moche). Sprawling over ten square miles, it is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the largest mud city in the world. The center is dominated by ten huge, high-walled complexes—the palaces of the Chimu kings. The Chimu kings were held to be gods, and they retained all of their property and privileges after death, thereby necessitating a new palace for each successive king. One of the complexes has been sufficiently reconstructed so that visitors can explore a bewildering labyrinth of ruined adobe walls, many adorned with fine adobe friezes depicting fish, seabirds, fishnets, rainbows, and moons, bearing testimony to the Chimu’s extraordinarily sophisticated fishing and farming systems developed in response to the arid terrain that typifies much of northern Peru. Later, visit important Moche sites in the Moche and Chicama valleys, including the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, among the largest labor projects ever undertaken in the New World. Overnight in Trujillo...BL

Day 4
Lima / Depart

Morning tour of the city of Trujillo, a traditional colonial city with a charming ambiance. We’ll visit the old town and the Plaza de Armas to see some of the distinctive architecture with its lovely wrought-iron ornamentation, elegant historical homes, and many churches.

Alternately, visit Paijan, a nearby ranch that raises Peruvian Paso Fino horses. You’ll see a colorful demonstration of the elegant pacing horses bred here, famous for their smooth gate and easy ride. Transfer to airport for evening flight to Lima...BL

Extension Cost

Prices are for 2015
$980 per person, double occupancy
Solo Traveler: $1550
Single supplement: $260
Internal airfare: $475 (subject to change)

Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Extension Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations in Chiclayo and Trujillo
  • Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Airport transfers
  • Services of local guides
  • Sightseeing as noted

Extension Cost Does Not Include:

Airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, additional hotel nights in Lima, and other expenses of a personal nature (alsoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

Gran Hotel Chiclayo

Gran Hotel Chiclayo

Day 1 (1 night), Chiclayo, Peru

Chiclayo’s largest and most comfortable hotel, the Gran Hotel is a business-style hotel. Amenities include two restaurants, a bar, and a pool. ...
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Libertador Trujillo

Libertador Trujillo

Days 2 to 3 (2 nights), Trujullo, Peru

Located right on the historic main plaza of Trujillo, this hotel earns its four stars with comfortable rooms, a good restaurant, a sauna, and a ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.