Northern Peru is far less visited than the south but there are plenty of archaeological gems, wonderful scenery, rare wildlife and quirky places to stay. Distances between attractions tend to be greater so do expect a few long journeys but it's all worth it!
In the northern most tip of north west Peru this tropical outpost is within reaching distance of the Ecuadorian border. Only a short flight from Lima but the tropical heat is a marked contrast! The decoration in the main plaza is unusual but very jolly and just a great spot to people watch.The main excursions from Tumbes are visiting Cerro de Amotape National Park and the mangroves. The National Park stretches north into Ecuador as does the beautiful dry forest. It takes about an hour to reach the park and there is an excellent mirador as you enter. The Mangroves are about 40 minutes away and is a pleasant way to explore the small channels and tributaries spotting birds and wildlife.
Tucumé and Sipan
Around Chiclayo are some really interesting archaeological sites. Tucume is best visited with a guide and digs are still happening to discover more about the pyramids. Some of the smaller buildings have wonderful carvings depicting stories. The famous Lord of Sipan treasure is housed in the museum (away from the actual ruins), it is absolutely fascinating and well presented too.
Chaparri Ecolodge is just perfect, a tranquil haven in the foothills of the Andes. Only a two hour drive from Chiclayo, it has been built with the help of the local community and they now help run the lodge and guide. The rustic lodge has been made with natural materials and everything has been thought of in terms of environmental impact, the food is very good too! There is a natural swimming pool full of fish and the hummingbirds feed from the water early in the morning. There are walking trails to spot wildlife such as peccories, foxes, deer, condors, and even spectacled bears. The endemic and endangered white winged guan can be found on the lodge grounds.
This section of northern Peru combines well with a visit to the archaeological site of Kuelap (long bus journey or transfer!) and the magnificent Gocta waterfalls. Hiking in the Cordillera Blanca is also a great option.