I live up here in la libertad. Wanting to get to know the north, I struck out, with a good 4x4 with the ultimate goal of reaching the selva and tarapoto, making a huge circle using only dirt roads wjerever possible.
This was a few years back so my beta may be a bit outdated. We took the road from pacasmayo to cajamarca. Spent some time there, well worth it, then onto celendin, also well worth it. Now i wish we also put in the exta effort to go to chota but......next time eh:-) from there a crazy descent into the canyon of rio maranon and eqully as crazy ascent on the other side. All types of conditions were encounterd on this part of the drive and it took a very long time just to descend and ascend the other side, mostly due to fog. Finally hitting paved road we rolled into sunny tarapoto, which got cloudy and rained every aftenoon. The return took us through moyobamba and chachapoyas well orth spending time in both places, and after some creative getting lost, how many time did we ask for directions only to get the "de frente" or just a wave of the hand, somehow made it back to chiclayo about few weeks late spent lots on gas, always had plenty of water and red bull, ran into some strange giant military checkpoints in the middle of nowhere...a bit scary for me as it says you are enetering or exiting tierra del nadie:-) brought plenty of food as somtimes services were nonexistant. Sleeping bags too....take care and get after it!