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Somewhat of a hidden gem for many, many moons, the laidback city of Chachapoyas is starting to get the recognition it deserves. The once-isolated city in northern Peru has an interesting backstory for nature enthusiasts: Chachapoyas was the hub from which the Spanish launched exploratory journeys through the Amazon region, and its surrounding mountains and valleys, waterfalls, and secret ruins make it a romantic addition for the modern-day adventurer who wants to see a part of the planet that still feels untouched.
Sitting at an elevation of almost 2.5 kilometres high, Chachapoyas is the capital of the Amazonas region and is known for its coffee plantations, orchid farms, and sugar cane production. Travelling here feels like you are isolated from the rest of the country, and I mean this in the most positive manner possible: In a world of oversaturated digital connectivity, social media obsession, and the blessing and the curse that comes with always being online, Chachapoyas is the perfect place to backpack to when you just want to get away from it all, refresh your mind, and embark on an adventure.
Valencia Travel Cusco’s Chachapoyas tour, The Wonders of Chachapoyas and Gocta Waterfall, is a six-day adventure that will take you on the most authentic, localised adventure that money can buy through Peru’s dark horse city. You will have the chance to see one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, Gocta, which was only discovered in 2002, and stands at 771 metres tall. That such a prominent natural landmark was discovered only relatively recently, is testament to just how remote the city of Chachapoyas and the surrounding region actually is. The Sarcofagi of Karajia is also a key highlight for lovers of ancient culture. These enormous pre-Inca statues stand upright on the face of a jaded cliff wall, and are referred to by locals as “the ancient wise men”. The keyword here you may have noticed is sarcophagi and yes, what that means is that like the ancient Egyptians, these structures actually contained mummies.
The tour also includes a visit to Kuelap Fortress, which is one of Latin America’s biggest ancient monuments, which sits 3 kilometres above sea level. Archaeologists believe that based on its structure, fortified walls, and the imposing watchtower, that the Kuelap Fortress was used as a lookout post for defence against enemy invasion. Valencia Travel Cusco will also take you to the tombs of Revash—red and white houses plotted together as a sort of miniature village along the cliff face, located around an hour’s drive from the village of San Bartolo. And as if that wasn’t enough to give you an immersive experience in Chachapoyas and its hilly surrounds, The Wonders of Chachapoyas and Gocta Waterfall tour concludes with a visit to the Leymebamba Museum, which contains more than 2,500 artifacts, including over 200 mummies which are so well-preserved that their expressions—while haunting—give you a chance to revisit history as good as any experience can (until time travel is invented, of course).
Chachapoyas is one of Peru’s hidden treasures (that most likely still has hidden treasure, somewhere in its Incan ruins that are still covered in foliage). I implore all of you to seriously consider this tour on your next trip to Peru, because the city and the surrounding ancient region will mesmerize you to no-end.
And after all, why do any of us travel, if not to be amazed?