Ted’s Travels – Chachapoyas, Kuelap and Gocta
A long time ago I explored this area by local minibus, we left Chiclayo on the Pacific Coast early in the morning on the paved road up and over the Andes and down into the Amazonas department. From there the road deteriorates into a corrugated track… The only consolation was the great natural beauty of the waterfalls and cliffs, wide canyons and the views of the mountains and valleys below.
Among the clouds, the mighty fortress ruins of Kuelap are hidden at 3,000 metres above sea level. Home to the ruling Chachapoyas people, the Kuelap ruins is one of the largest ancient stone structures in the world. Back then It took us about two hours to drive up to the ruins, as part of the road was washed away. Once there you will be amazed by the hundreds of homes, places of worship and impenetrable fortified walls that were built around AD 500 to 1100. Nowadays one can catch a cable car and admire the views from the sky.
The area is worth at least 5 days or more and you can combine a visit to the Amazon at Tarapoto. If your clients are in for a bit of a walk they can go to the Gocta falls, which is the third tallest in the world at 771 metres high, but it takes a 2.5 hour by foot. Something less adventurous is a walk to the cliff tombs of Revash from the village of San Bartolo, these tombs are perched delicately on the almost inaccessible cliffside.
Within this breathtaking scenery, your clients can stop by the different towns and rural villages home to traditional artisans and craftsmen, traditional weavers, hand-made ceramics and wood carving.
Before or after Chachapoyas suggest to your clients a visit to the museum just outside Chiclayo in Lambayeque where they can learn about the Mochica and Sican cultures and the Lord of Sipan tomb, it’s truly remarkable. We can also suggest an overland transfer to the seldom-visited town of Cajamarca where they can visit the Royal Inca Baths and explore the museums where the first encounter of the Atahualpa and Pizarro occurred, but that’s another story!
Inquiry us today about our Northern Peru itineraries and we can tailor this unique destination according to your clients’ interests.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au