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2 Week Northern Tour

As with all our tours you will be met at Lima's International airport and then travel with us to Miraflores. The Hotel Carmel is ideally situated close to all amenities and nightlife. 

The following morning you'll travel in our 4x4 up the coast to BARRANCA, approximately three hours away.  Here you will receive your bikes and the opportunity to make a short excursion to the Chimu Temple ruin near Paramonga and the few kilometres beyond, the small port of Paramonga itself.

We will turn off the main coastal highway (The Panamericana) just 10 kilometres further on from Barranca the next day and head for the 'hills'.   Depending on stops we'll probably be up to 4,000 mts within a couple of hours but any effect of altitude sickness will be eased as our journey takes us gently down through llama grazed plains to Huaraz, the regional capital, and then beyond to the end of the Santa Valley at CARAZ.

CARAZ

This little town was one of the few places that escaped the severity of the disastrous 1970 earthquake.  The town has a colonial atmosphere still and is situated beside the high snow covered peaks of Huascaran and Huandoy.  Snow, visible from the main Plaza, gives the impression that we are really way higher than the true altitude of 2,300 mts.  For this Caraz has an almost idyllic climate.  Local people are often very friendly and the owner of our little hotel here is only too pleased to tell you all about the history of the area.  It's been a fairly long ride to get up here so probably you won't be in any hurry to explore far away from the Plaza the day that we arrive.

Next day however we can go on a bit further North to where the Santa Valley ends and the river cuts down through the spectacular Canon del Pato (Duck Canyon).  Here you can walk across a cable suspension bridge and see evidence of the incredible engineering feats of the Hydro- Electric Company tunnelling through rock to harness water power.  The road is stony but not too difficult and passes through dozens of tunnels. These were railway tunnels for the Chimbote to Caraz train but now the road uses the old railway route.

A 'motorcyclist's' picnic beside the canyon and we can then return to the valley, up higher, and the few kilometres over to Yungay at the foot of Huascaran mountain (6,700mts).  The original village of Yungay was covered by a landslide in 1970 after an earthquake (see TOUR 1. text) now there is a new Yungay founded 2 kilometres further to the North.

After our second night staying at Caraz we suggest a bike or 4x4 excursion in the morning up to see the glacial lake of Llanganuco. and then after lunch back in town riding over to HUARAZ.

HUARAZ

The capital of Ancash Department in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range is a busy city and many climbers and trekkers from Europe stay here giving it a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good places to visit at night whether your preference be for folk penas, discotheques, ethnic restaurants or atmospheric bars.

We make several excursions out from Huaraz including to the snowline at Pastorouri, to the well preserved archaeological site of Willkawain, where there is structural evidence of the thousand year old Huari culture and to the thermal baths at Monterrey just 5 miles out of town.

Leaving Huaraz we go down to the Pacific Ocean for a quiet night's stay at Bahia De Tortugas before setting off next day up the coast to Pacasmayo

Pacasmayo

Pacasmayo is a little seaside town with old wooden buildings along the seafront promenade and a long pier (badly in need of repair ) that fishermen unload their catch onto.  Seventy years ago before the completion of the coastal road from the South passengers disembarked from ships from Lima here and then , if travelling on to Cajamarca, caught the train from the end of the pier to Chilete. From Chilete one could have hired a horse or a donkey or walk the eight hours to Cajamarca. There was no road into Cajamarca until the 1950s in fact. After a nights stay in Pacasmayo we ride back up the high Sierra to Cajamarca a pleasant 4-5 hour ride

CAJAMARCA

We have 4 days staying at Cajamarca but in all directions there are places relatively near that are worth visiting. Two hours away in a high and remote valley ' La Granja' of Porcon is a Christian farming co-operative. The community welcomes visitors and one has the freedom to look around their various workshops (wood, weaving etc), see their domesticated animals, and a bit of their lifestyle. The restaurant selection is somewhat limited but great if you like trout. There is a mini zoo up here too. Take a walk round the path on the hillside to see the many native birds, the spectacled bears, a puma, vicunas, and a family of jaguars (new cub in 2005). No one seems concerned that only fence netting separates you from the jaguars, but then possibly these cats have been taught the respectful ways of the community!

Another excursion will take us across the Cajamarca Valley to Las Ventanillas de Otuzco (Otuzco's pre inca windows).  This is a site where an ancient people carved out square holes into the rock face. Historians assume that they were burial chambers but no one knows for sure. There are several recommend  things to do and see but do try a keep one day for Cajamarca town itself. Many shops sell local and national handicraft. Regional handicraft includes distinctive ceramics, stone figures (inc.chess sets), tapestries and oil paintings. If you want something a bit different to take home why not buy a cloth saddlebag -  useful to sling over your shoulder when riding a bicycle! or sandals made from old car tyres.

Plenty of time in the evenings to stroll around the beautiful Plaza De Armas and enjoy a beer in the various bars, restaurants and discotheques.

We then fly back to Lima from the local Cajamarca airport about 1& half hour flight to connect with your International flight.


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