We will be arriving in Peru this time next week (weeeeeeeee!) and have three weeks before we need to be in Arequipa. We want to explore north of Lima in this time and have no real plans as yet (although are hoping to make it up to Chachapoyas to visit Kuelap). Does anyone have any suggestions? i.e. what should we try not to miss / where we perhaps shouldnt prioritise if time is short?
Any thoughts muchly appreciated!
Scenerywise, the north of Chile is much like Bolivia at the same latitude, only the latter is about 5 times cheaper... I'm not sure whether this is already on your itinerary later on, but I would opt for lake Titicaca instead, or else simply stay in southern Peru, plenty to see there.
I would suggest a trip up to Huaraz. From Huaraz you can head to either the Cordillera Blanca or the Cordillera Huayhuash for some world class trekking.
The Cordillera Blanca offers beautiful scenery with glacier fed blue lagoons, and jagged Andes peaks like Alpamayo which has been called by some the most beautiful mountain in the world.
The Cordillera Huayhuash is home to Siula Grande which was made famous by Joe Simpson's Touching the Void... which is one of the best mountaineering books and was also made into a fantastic movie of the same name.
Lots of trekking companies run out of the Huaraz area so finding a guide to take you on a trek shouldn't be a problem.
You can look both of them up on Wikipedia for more information.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 19, 2008, at 5:32 PM by adv3nture ]
i spent a couple of weeks north of lima last summer, and would suggest sticking to the coast.
The only real "city" is that a trujillo, famous for its beer but nothing much else. I spent 3 nights in an interesting beach town called huanchacho, great for camping and surfing and with close access to the pre incan ruins of Chan Chan and the Moche pyramids, though summer (South american winter) is out of season and can be a little quiet.
Another interesting beach town is punta sal, not much in the way of exploring but a peacful beach location if you want a break.
Alternatively you could go south and visit pisco with its famous local drink (you've gotta try a pisco sour), or visit Ica or the Nazca lines, these are particularly impressive by 4 seater plane, a bumpy sickly ride costs around 30US.
If you really feel adventourous get a return flight from lima to iquitos, the jungle town, thats whay i did. It is amazonia at its finest, you can even take a trip down the river and spend time in a lodge. isnt as expensive as you think.
Arequipa is beautiful, especially the convent. Need anymore advice feel free to message back
Beats me where I got the idea that you wanted to visit northern Chile...
Anyway, I can recommend Chiclayo which is nice and not so touristy. The Sipán excavations and museum nearby are excellent. Trujillo doubles as the peruvian capital of beer as well as pollution; I suggest you don't go there. Huaraz on the other hand is an excellent suggestion; what is also very nice (and very untouristy, but maybe it doesn't fit your plans) is going south from Huaraz through the Andes. You can go all the way to Cusco that way, really recommendable.