The capital of the Amazonas Region

Chachapoyas is a city in northern Peru with a population of approximately 20,279 people. Situated in the mountains far from the Peruvian coast, Chachapoyas remains fairly isolated from other regions of Peru. There is daily service by bus to Chiclayo and Cajamarca. Although there was a local airport, flight service was limited.


To See & Do

Kuelap – an ancient stone city with walls up to 12 m high – the largest pre-Inca ruins in South America. Some older information you may find says that you need to walk for several hours to get there but there is now better access by car. There’s a 1 km walk to the site which takes about 20 mins. If it’s raining the path will be very muddy, so take decent shoes. They’re currently paving the track and should be finished soon (as of Dec 2010). About 2 hours drive from Chachapoyas. Tours will usually make a short stop on the way to view the ruins of Macro, a group of pre-Inca dwellings and burial chambers built on the side of a mountain – they’re viewed from across the valley.There are many important archeological monuments in the areas surrounding the town that were built by the Chachapoyans. Some of these are ancient stone citadels that were built on the tops of mountains with commanding views and leaving more land open for cultivation. One of the best examples of one of these citadels is Kuelap which is three miles from the village of Tingo and one hour by dirt road from Chachapoyas.

Kuelap is a prime example of Chachapoyan architecture. The Kuelap fortress is located at the summit of a hill at the altitude of more than 3,000m above sea level. It is made up of massive stone walls that curved around. Its complexity surpassed other archaeological structures in the Americas in size. The structure is almost 600m long and its walls, 19m high. The fortress has very narrow entrances and to enter it, one needs to climb up a narrow flight of stone-steps. There are more than four hundred buildings within. These constructions inside are mainly cylindrical, with pointy grass roofs. The decorated walls have friezes that seem to symbolise eyes or birds. Get a taxi to take you here. It is possible to take a microbus. Near the market around Jr Libertad and Jr Ortiz Arrieta, you can hear some guys calling out ‘Kuelap’. The microbus will take you to Kuelap and even wait for you before it embarks on the return trip.There are kombis daily & taxis from Chachapoyas to Kuelap. Most leave from their respective stations 2 to 3 blocks from the main square.

It is a majestic Chachapoya architectural work located in the upper part of the Utcubamba River Valley, nearby the hamlet of Kuélap, Province of Luya, in the Department of Amazonas, at an altitude of 3000 m.a.s.l. The fortress of Kuélap was built and inhabited by the Chachapoyas, between 1000 and 1400 a.D. called “The Fortress” and built on top of a high mountain, it is Peru´s mountainous jungle´s most important archaeological complex which presents itself to visitors, like an unconquerable place, surrounded by cliffs and precipices, on three of its four sides.The Archaeological Complex of Kuélap is composed of two gigantic superposed artificial platforms, on top of which was erected a metropolis occupying an approximate surface of 450 hectares.
The contention walls that form the above mentioned platforms, give the impression of gigantic fortified walls, protecting that site, as they reach up to thirty meters high, in some stretches. Furthermore, that impression is strengthened by the presence of architectural elements identified as watch posts.

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The Chachapoyas of Peru   •   Locations & Activities


City of Chachapoyas

History