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Tourism in the city of Chachapoyas

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When one aims to travel to the Peruvian Amazon, the most commented option is always the Amazonas region, since it has a wide range of activities and experiences to do. For example, if you want to connect with nature, you can visit the Gocta Waterfall, an extensive veil of water that never ceases its activity and that attracts travelers from all over the planet.

 

There is also the possibility of traveling to the past, with a tour of the Kúelap Fortress, a city that belonged to the ancient inhabitants of the Chachapoyas culture and where you can still visit the vestiges of this enigmatic place that has administrative spaces, religious, ceremonial and even houses, where its citizens took refuge from any enemy attack.

 

To get to these two wonderful places, you have to make a key stop, which is the starting point for new adventures and experiences: the city of Chachapoyas. This is the capital of the province with the same name and also of the Amazonas region, which is why it is considered one of the busiest tourist spots in all of northeastern Peru.

 

Accessing the city of Chachapoyas is quite simple, since it has several routes to reach this site, with an air terminal in between. From Lima, the capital of Peru, a direct flight takes only 1 hour and 45 minutes, approximately. You can also make a flight with a stopover: travel to Jaén (1 hour and 15 minutes, on average) to take a bus to Chachapoyas, which takes about 3 hours.

 

Touring Peru by road is also a viable option, if you like adventures on four wheels and you have time, since the extensive trip lasts 22 hours (with constant stops to use basic services).

 

Chachapoyas has it all

Once in the city, prepare yourself and calculate the times during your stay, because there are so many activities and places to discover that time may be short. The first thing you will see will be the Plaza Mayor of the city of Chachapoyas, which attracts attention due to the bronze pool that is located in the central part. This was built in the middle of the 19th century. Also, you can visit the Plaza de la Independencia, which bears its name in honor of the battle of Higos Urcos and in which they pay tribute to the Chachapoyan independence army that gave its life for freedom.

 

Tourists who admire the old buildings and profess the Catholic religion can take a look at the Temple of the Assumed Virgin, the Temple of Our Lady of Bethlehem and the Temple of the Lord of Good Death, in which some elements of the colonial period. Other viceregal-themed buildings are the Casa de las Dos Rosas and the Casa de Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza, a hero and forerunner of Peruvian independence who grew up within these walls.

 

For history lovers, there is the option of going to the Gilberto Tenorio Ruiz Exhibition Hall, in which four rooms display goods from the Chachapoyas culture that -mostly- were donated by former local residents. In addition to these historical objects, you can appreciate the flora and fauna of the region, lithic goods and mummies, which turn out to be one of the most amazing attractions due to the quality in which they are preserved.

 

A city in the clouds

Located at 2,483 masl and nestled in the mountains of northern Peru, Chachapoyas earns the title of the nation's best kept secret. The city is the capital of the department of Amazonas, and therefore the nerve center of many activities for travelers who seek adventure and at the same time soak up the cultural and historical past of the area.

 

The Chachapoyas were a pre-Inca archaeological culture, who lived in the heights of the cloud forest of the Utcubamba Valley. The Spanish translation of the Quechua word Chachapoyas is literally "people of the clouds."

 

Chachapoyan culture

In the second half of the 15th century, the Incas conquered the Chachapoyas, marking the beginning of the end for this rich culture of Ancient Peru. Little is known about the customs and lifestyle of the Chachapoyas, but important archaeological discoveries have been made in the area, such as the Kuelap stone architectural ensemble. With colossal walls and complex interior architecture, to this day it is unknown how long it flourished and when and why it was abandoned.

 

How to get to Chachapoyas?

The easiest way to get to Chachapoyas is by air. There are direct flights between Lima and Chachapoyas that depart on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with the airline Atsa Airlines. The ticket has an approximate value of $130 round-trip on its cheapest ticket. A cheaper option would be to fly to the city of Cajamarca ($70 round trip), and from there take a bus or bus to Chachapoyas, in a beautiful 4-hour journey through the Peruvian jungle.

 

What to do in Chachapoyas?

The first thing is that you can walk the streets of your city, see the main square and the historic center, in order to have a notion of its people and the culture of the inhabitants of Chachapoyas. Then, the main attractions in the area are all quite close to the city. You can discover all the places that we will show you below through tours that you hire in the center of the city, or you can do them on your own following our instructions.

 

Yumbilla waterfall

At 895 meters high, the Yumbilla Waterfall is the third largest in the world. Unlike its much more well-known sister, the Gocta waterfall, this waterfall is almost always free of large groups of tourists, which provides a more intense immersion in nature.

 

How to get there: From the bus terminal in Chachapoyas, you can take a bus in the direction of Pedro Ruiz, an hour and a half away. From Pedro Ruíz you should go by motorcycle taxi to Cuispes, asking the driver to drop you off at the entrance of the tourist office and the path to the Yumbilla Waterfall. The trail takes about 5 hours round trip.

 

Gocta Waterfall

A place that photos just don't do it justice. The immense Gocta Waterfall (771 meters high) is the fourth highest in the world and also the most famous in northern Peru. It is located in the middle of the cloud forest, surrounded by imposing vegetation and peeking through magical layers of mist.

 

How to get there: From Chachapoyas you must take a bus to Bagua or Pedro Ruíz and tell the driver that you are going to Cocachimba. The bus will leave you at a point on the road where you can hire a motorcycle taxi to take you to Cochachimba and the tourist office where the trail begins. The walk lasts around 5 hours round trip. If you prefer not to walk, in the sector there are muleteers who will bring you closer to only 2 kilometers from Gocta.

 

Kuelap

An unmissable place if you are interested in local history and pre-Hispanic cultures. Kuelap is the largest archaeological center of the Chachapoyas, which today is rescued and even in the process of being discovered. One of the most striking aspects of the visit to Kuelap is the opening of the cable car that takes you from Tingo to the architectural remains, on a 20-minute trip over a valley with breathtaking views.

 

How to get there: From the Chachapoyas bus terminal, buses leave almost every hour to almost the entrance to Kuelap, or to the cable car entrance. The cable car, round trip is 20 soles, and the entrance to Kuelap is 20 soles.

 

Karajía Sarcophagus and Quiocta Cave

The immense Cueva de Quiocta is a perfect place to learn a little more about the interior of mother earth. Walking through the darkness of the cave is a unique experience. Nearby are the Sarcófajos de Karajía, anthropomorphic statues erected on the walls of a cliff. They correspond to the Chachapoyas culture and scientists have discovered excellently preserved mummies inside.

 

How to get there: Both attractions are part of the full day tours that the agencies in Chachapoyas have in common. We recommend getting to know them like this, since making the journeys on your own is more expensive and will surely take you longer if you don't know the area.

 

Revash Mausoleums

Looking at these small colorful houses in the middle of a ravine is an amazing experience. The Revash mausoleums are a necropolis belonging to the Chachapoyas Culture and it is believed that they were collective tombs.

 

How to get there: You must travel by bus from Chachapoyas to San Bartolo, from this picturesque town you start a 5km walk until you reach Revash.

 

Sonche Canyon

Located in the charming town of Huanca, the Sonche Canyon offers one of the most incredible views of the surroundings of Chachapoyas.

 

How to get there: Huanca is only 10 km from Chachapoyas, and you can take a taxi or bus to get there. From Huanca you can take a motorcycle taxi to the viewpoint of the canyon and ask the driver to wait for you so you don't have transportation problems on the way back.

 

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