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People in Landscape

inhabiting the Andes - with Dr Nicholas James

6-18 April 2018: See the dazzling range of Peru’s geography from desert coast to the soaring peaks of the Andes; learn about the remarkable Moche and Chimú coastal cultures; and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas - markets, picturesque villages, salts pans and terraces.

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Itinerary summary

Friday 6 April 2018 - Arrival day: We will meet flights arriving between 1800 and 1900 (British Airways arrives at 1855 on current schedules). Other flights can be met on request. Welcome dinner at the Sonesta Hotel El Olivar, a friendly hotel in the residential district of San Isidro with a small rooftop pool where you will spend two nights.


Lima was the centre of Spanish power in the Americas for three centuries. Today it is a bustling modern city which still retains some of its historical ambiance. Superb museums provide an excellent insight into the delights awaiting the traveller in the rest of the country.

Saturday 7 April: A privately-guided tour of the capital exploring its modern and historical sides. The tour includes a visit to Casa de Aliaga (a fascinating and historic private house, home to the same family for 17 generations), Santo Domingo convent, and the Larco Museum where the group will be accompanied by the curator. The day ends with an evening visit to Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid with seven platforms in central Lima, dating from 500AD.

The north coast

600km north of Lima, coastal Trujillo’s superb colonial architecture and fascinating pre-Columbian ruins await. Near Trujillo is Chan Chan, built by the ancient Chimu culture and the world's largest adobe city. Also nearby are the step pyramids that comprise the Temples (huacas) of the Sun and Moon.

8-11 April: After a morning visit to Lima’s Archaeological Museum, the oldest and largest museum in Peru with over 100,000 artefacts, fly north to Trujillo for two nights at the Hotel Libertador. The main building has a pretty colonial façade, while guest rooms are of a more recent construction. It is very central and ideally placed to explore the city centre.

Visit Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon), Chan Chan (the largest adobe structure in the Americas, whose use and control of water is particularly fascinating), and the fishing village of Huanchaco where locals still use and make traditional tortora reed boats. Huanchaco is also the birthplace of ceviche, fresh fish cured in lemon juice.

Drive north and spend two further nights at the Casa Andina Select Chiclayo, a comfortable hotel with a pool. From here visit the site of Huaca Rajada, where in 1987 the tomb of the so-called Lord of Sipán was discovered by Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva. Visit one of the excellent local museums (such as the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum), and then Túcume, with 28 pyramids visible from the highest point.

Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu

North-west of Cusco the fertile Urubamba valley (also known as the Sacred Valley) winds westwards, with picturesque villages, local markets and ruins framed by towering peaks.

12-14 April: Fly to Cusco (change of planes in Lima) and driven to the Sacred Valley for 2 nights at the Posada del Inca, Yucay, a converted 300 year old monastery in a very central position in the Sacred Valley. Visits here will include the enigmatic pre-Inca terraces at Moray, local markets, and the spectacular Maras salt pans.

Take the train to Machu Picchu and spend a night at El Mapi Hotel by Inkaterra, with a comprehensive exploration of this awe-inspiring sight: superb Inca craftsmanship perched amidst verdant vegetation high above the winding Urubamba river.


According to legend, Manco Capac plunged his golden staff into fertile ground, finding the ‘navel of the earth’, and founded the capital of the Inca Empire. Today Cusco is probably Peru's most attractive city, a fascinating fusion of the past and present that most visitors find very hard to leave.

15-17 April: Spend 3 final nights in Cusco at the Abittare Hotel, a small characterful hotel a short walk from the main square in Cusco's historic centre. Guided visits will include the Qoricancha temple; the cathedral, and nearby sites such as Sacasayhuaman, Kenko and Puka Pukara.

Wednesday 18 April: Fly to Lima (early afternoon arrival). The recommended group flight with British Airways departs Lima at 2155 and arrives London Gatwick at 1615 the following day.


Prices start at £4,480 per person sharing a double/twin room, including internal but not international flights. Do contact us for availability, flight quotes, and booking conditions.

The trip scholar is Dr Nicholas James, Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Magdalene College, Cambridge. See our alumni pages for further details.

This tour is for alumni of either Oxford or Cambridge Universities or those with a close connection to either.

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