From the city of Chachapoyas, take a day-trip to Kuelap Fortress, which the Chachapoyas tribe built to defend against the Huari and other hostile peoples, roughly 500 AD. From the ruins, hike on well-marked paths to find eerie stone tombs in the shape of people, housing the mummified remains of Chachapoyas royalty. Some tours include a ride on a cable car that stops close to the mountaintop fortress at which point you may continue on by horseback to the summit. Multi-day tours combine a trip to the magnificent Gocta waterfallsu2060—which ranks amongst the tallest waterfalls in the worldu2060—where you may spot toucans and monkeys.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Kuelap Fortress is an ideal spot for history lovers.
- Acclimate yourself to altitude before arriving.
- The high elevation means the weather may change in an instant; bring appropriate clothing.
- Some of the hiking paths are steep.
- Bring sun protection and water for hydration.
- If going to the falls, bring swimwear and a towel.
How to Get There
Kuelap Fortress is located in the northern Amazonas region of Peru, about 44 miles (70 kilometers) south of Chachapoyas. Most visitors take a taxi or come as part of an organized tour since the attraction is quite remote, but also near other sites that may be combined on a trip. Fly into the airport in Chachapoyas, since the bus ride from the next closest airports, in Chiclayo and Cajamarca, takes about 10 hours.
When to Get There
The fortress is open daily, from morning until evening, and never sees that many tourists. Peak season in the Amazonas area is during the dry season, which runs from April to December. The rainy season is from November to April, and while rain is frequent during this time, the jungle is at its most green and lively, and the waterfalls of Gocta are at their most full and spectacular.
Gocta Waterfalls While in the area, catch a refreshing moment at the Gocta Waterfalls. Tumbling from a dizzying height of 2,529 feet (771 meters), the bi-level cascades are approachable by a path you may hike or take on horseback. Take a few hours in the morning to navigate the network of wooded trails winding from the village of Cocachimba through the forest valley to the natural rock amphitheater at the bottom of the falls.
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