At Into Latin America we are always keen to show that there is a lot more to Peru than Machu Picchu. We are therefore delighted with the new BBC documentary series, The Lost Kingdoms of South America. Presented by Dr Jago Cooper, the series showcases the incredible archaeological remains left by the pre-Inca Chachapoyas, Chimu and Moche in Peru, and Tiwanaku in Bolivia. Here is our quick guide to how you too can discover some of South America’s Lost Kingdoms!
The Chachapoyas people inhabited a mountainous region in North –East Peru from possibly as early as the 6th Century up until the arrival of the Inca. Visit the 2, 500 foot Gocta Falls, the mummified remains at the Museum of Leymebamba and sarcophagi at Karajia and Pueblo de los Muertos but the big draw here is the incredible mountain top fortress of Kuelap.
How to get to Chachapoyas:Comfortable First Class buses with reclining seats leave for the 10 hour journey from the city of Chiclayo, northern Peru. Chiclayo has direct flights daily from Lima.
Where to stay in Chachapoyas: The popular Casa Andina now has a beautiful hotel in Chachapoyas in a restored colonial mansion and with gorgeous mountain views.
Tiwanaku is an impressive site of huge stones set high in the Bolivian altiplano, or high steppes. Still important in traditional ceremonies today, Tiwanaku is one of the most important sites in South America and represents a powerful pre-Inca civilization that dominated the Lake Titicaca region between around 500 and 900 AD.
How to get to Tiwanaku:Tiwanaku is located 45 miles west of La Paz, near the shores of Lake Titicaca. The site is easily visited as a day trip from La Paz or as a stop on a tour between La Paz and Peru.
Where to stay near Tiwanaku: Stay in La Paz, the city of Puno,Peru or the pretty lakeside town of Copacabana in Bolivia. With more time, stay a night on the sacred island of Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca.
Chan Chan, capital of the Kingdom of Chimor, is the largest adobe city in the Americas and itss seafront location makes it a spectacular site. Chan Chan is just a 5 minute drive from the important colonial city of Trujillo in northern Peru, and on the edge of the surf town of Hanchaco.
How to get to Chan Chan: Trujillo is served by daily flights from Lima or comfortable First Class buses from Lima make the journey in 8 hours.
Where to stay near Chan Chan: The LIbertador Hotel in Trujillo puts you right in the main square and is a beautifully restored mansion. If you feel like something more relaxed, head for the boutique Caballitos de Totora in Huanchaco.