Surrounded by high altitude Cloud forest, Chachapoyas is a little town founded in the early days of the Spanish conquest of Peru. It was founded as a base from which to explore and exploit the Amazon region. However the real reason to visit now is to discover the fabulous culture and ruins of the once fierce and mighty Chachapoya tribe, known locally as the ‘People of the Clouds’.
- Go swimming at the foot of the mighty Gocta waterfall
- Wander around the ancient stone fortress of Kuelap
- Get a bird’s eye view of Chachapoyas territory from the cable car
- See the remarkable cliff face mausoleums near Revash
- Explore the cloud forest for toucans, orchids and monkeys
The surrounding cloud forests still conceal a number of archaeological treasures, but the most famous and most important in this region is the mighty stone fortress of Kuelap. Located at an altitude of 3000m and dating back to around 500 B.C., it is in a very rugged, mountainous area, but a cable car has been built starting in the village of Tingo, allowing visitors easier access. Kuelap was built by the Chachapoyas and is protected by an eight metre high wall decorated with anthropomorphic figures and animals carved in stone and demonstrates the ability of the ancient inhabitants to adapt to and live in harmony with their surroundings.
Just to the south of Chachapoyas is the little town of San Bartolo, where you can visit the funerary complex of chullpas (mausoleums) at Revash. Constructed of rock and adobe, then plastered and painted pick and cream, they look like little houses high up on the cliff face, but are in fact little tombs.
The region is also home to beautiful cloud forest, which boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are also a number of rivers and waterfalls including the Gocta waterfalls which at 770m high are the third highest in the world. As you hike to the falls you may well see monkeys, toucans and colourful orchids and you can enjoy a well earned swim at the foot of the falls.