Miriam Gayoso, one of our alumni, emailed me today with the news that the website for the Northern Circuit in Peru has launched. Peter Nizette and I were funded by the British Ambassador to Peru, John Illman, in the late 1990’s and did the initial scoping for this circuit which has opened for tourism the excellent pre-Colombian archaeological sites of the north along the coast including Tucume and Sipan, Kuelap and Laguna de los Condores.
Three of the ICRT alumni have worked on the circuit, realising an ambition long held in the north to establish a circuit which will rival the Machu Picchu circuit in the south ? Machu Picchu is recent history; the Incas (1450-1532) are famous largely because they were defeated by the conquistadores. The northern Circuit is rich in archaeological sites: Tucume occupied by Lambayeque/Sican (800-1350 AD), Chim? (1350?1450 AD), Chan Chan the largest pre-Colombian city in South America, constructed by the Chimu in around AD 850 and occupied by them until 1470 when they were conquered by the Inca; the highlight of the circuit is Kuelap, situated on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley is a stone fortified hilltop town associated with the Chachapoyas culture ? the Warriors of the Clouds, their mummies can be seen at the Leymebamba Museum.
Much of the work which Peter and I did was on product development, the economic linkages and the economic development which tourism could bring to the north. Miriam Gayoso, Alfredo Narvaez and Jorge Chavez all studied with the ICRT and played a prominent role in completing the development of the circuit which is a great introduction to the Andes ? the circuit goes from sea level to over 3,500m – twice.
It is in my view a much better experience than Machu Picchu ? if you are travelling to Peru do NOT miss it.
For details of the Northern Circuit check out www.ctnperu.net