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Routes and Tips - Chachapoyas: Odyssey of Stone


Location: Chachapoyas, the capital of Amazonas department, lies in the far south of the territory. It takes about30 hours to cover the 750-mile bus trip from Lima. Chachapoyas is 4 hours from Kuélap, Karajía and Jalca.

How to get there: If you want the bus trip to be as painless as possible you might try going via Chiclayo or stopping over in Cajamarca.  The best time of year to go is June to September.

The journey from Leiebamba to Celendín, by way of the Maranon Canyon, is one of Peru's most spectacular drives.  The Maranon River forms one of the world's deepest canyons, and you will descend through different ecosystems from over 10,000 feet in altitude to the town of Balsas at 4,000 ft.  After crossing the river you then ascend back through the various habitats to nearly 10,000 ft above sea level.

Cajamarca was a major center of the Inca Empire.  It is most famous for being the place of first contact between Pizarro and the Inca army, which he defeated in a one-sided battle shortly thereafter, and captured Atahuallpa, the last of the independent Inca monarchs. Although the Inca city was razed to the ground, Cajamarca boasts many beautiful colonial buildings, as well as the Inca-era "Ransom Room," where Atahualpa was kept as a prisoner of the Spanish before being garroted.   

Other attractions: To get to Kuelap it is advisable to get a 4 wheel drive that will get you to within a short walk of Malca-Pampa, the main fortress gateway. To visit the Karajía tombs you must take a bus to Luya or Lamud, where you can hire a guide or a donkey, if you want to save yourself a tiring climb. You will need a whole day and a rented vehicle to see Jalca Grande, one of the zone's most picturesque typical villages.

Accommodation: Most hotels in Chachapoyas are quite Spartan but so are their rates. 

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 Day 01  Chiclayo/Chachapoyas In the morning you will depart from Chiclayo by private car/bus with air conditioning.  You will arrive in the late afternoon in Chachapoyas. Box lunch and dinner included. Overnight at Hostal El Chillo.  

Day 02 Chachapoyas After breakfast you will visit Kuelap, a spectacular pre-Inca walled city hidden atop a precipitous mountain. Although Kuelap was discovered 60 years before Machu Picchu, it is not as well-known to the outside world. Nevertheless recent amazing discoveries in nearby areas that relate to Kuelap and to its history have captured the attention of archaeologists, international magazines and film companies. Box Lunch. Following your visit to Kuelap, you will return to Chillo for the night.  On the way you will have the opportunity to stopover to observe the burial towers of Macro, an outpost of the Chachapoyas culture built into cliffs overlooking the Utcubamba River.  It's unique location allowed for contact via signal fires with the fortress, high above in the mountains and visible through a cleft in the valley hills. Dinner and overnight at Hostal El Chillo.

 Day 03   Chachapoyas After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion to visit the colorful funeral buildings of Revash perched on a ledge up high on a cliff.  You will return to Chillo for one last night. Dinner and overnight at Hostal El Chillo.

Day 04  Chachapoyas/Leimebamba This morning you will drive towards Leimebamba. On the way you will stop at Las Palamas where a light trek will start to La Congona, a spectacular settlement pattern of the Chachapoyas. In this area you will be able to discover outstanding friezes and defensive towers still virgin in the jungle.  After picnic lunch continue to Leimebamba for dinner and overnight at local hostal.

Day 05 Leimebamba/Celendín Morning visit the museum of Leimebamba with the pre-Inca mummies recently discovered in the Laguna de Los Condores.  Then continue to you will drive to Celendin,  crossing two cordilleras and several different habitats, such as cloud forest, agricultural land, desert-like areas and the Marañon Canyon. Box lunch on way.   Overnight at Celendin Hotel.

Day 06   Celendín/Cajamarca After breakfast you begin the journey to Cajamarca.  You will stop for lunch in this lovely colonial town.  In the afternoon will be an excursion to the Ventanillas de Otuzco, a pre-Inca cemetery that features a gallery of secondary burial niches (located 5 miles from the city).  Upon your return, you will enjoy a tour of Cajamarca. Farewell dinner and overnight at Hotel Laguna Seca

Day 07  Cajamarca/Lima You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. 
Prices per person, minimum 2 paxssengers in double accommodation 

 Private departures, basis double room  

For prices and departure dates  please inquire

Rumbos OnlineVolume I/Issue 5, Page 66
Updated, Lola Salas 2003

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