Once passed up for the south, the north coast and northern highlands are increasingly becoming some of Peru’s most sought-after destinations for a variety of travelers. There are beaches, mountains, green fertile valleys, dry desert, and tremendous archaeological sites and museums. Aside from the coast, where getting up and down the Pan-American Highway is quick and buses are frequent, travel elsewhere in the region, particularly in the mountains, often requires time and patience.
Like the rest of Peru, there's incredible history behind the cities and towns you see today. It was first inhabited more than 13,000 years ago. Later, the Chavín and Moche people built colossal cities near the coast, to be replaced over time by civilizations like the Chimú and Chachapoyas. Eventually, all these were overtaken by the Inca, followed by the Spanish. Luckily, the extensive ruins and elaborate colonial-era mansions and churches are being preserved in many areas of the north.
A place of extraordinary natural beauty, the northernmost reaches of Peru have magnificent mountains, rare equatorial dry forests, and vast deserts. The steep, forested hills emerge from the highlands, and trekkers and climbers from around the world converge to hike the green valleys and ascend the rocky, snowcapped peaks towering more than 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) above the sea. The coast offers spectacular white-sand beaches, year-round sun, and an abundance of fresh seafood.
As Peru becomes a more popular international destination, tourism in the north is awakening, but is still light-years behind Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. Come now and explore the relatively virgin territory that provides a rich peek into the cultural, historical, and physical landscape of Peru.