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Machu Picchu Travel Menu

Machu Picchu tours - Kuelap - Chachapoyas expedition tour - Peru travel

Kuelap Ruins - Chachapoyas Tour

The fortress of Kuelap (or Cuélap), associated with the Chachapoyas culture, consists of massive exterior stone walls containing more than four hundred buildings. The structure, situated on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley in northern Peru, is roughly 600 meters in length and 110 meters in width. It could have been built to defend against the Huari or other hostile peoples however evidence of these hostile groups at the site is minimal. Radiocarbon dating samples show that the structures construction started in the 6th century AD and occupied until the Early Colonial period (1532-1570), however through the pre-Columbian, conquest and colonial periods we have only the four brief references to Kuelap. In lieu of newly discovered documents, there exists no other testimony concerning the site until 1843! .

This prime example of Chachapoyan architecture, Kuelap, remained ignored by the outside world until 1843, when Juan Crisóstomo Nieto, a Chachapoyas judge, made a survey of the area and took note of Kuelap's great size, guided by villagers who had known of the site for generations.

The monumental ruins of Kuelap are situated at 3000 m above sea level. Judging from its sheer size, Kuelap's construction required considerable effort, rivalling or surpassing other archaeological structures in the Americas in size. The structure is almost 600 m in length and its walls rise up to 19 m in height.

The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered their civilization shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, the Chachapoyas were one of the many nations ruled by the Inca Empire. Their incorporation into the Inca Empire had not been easy, due to their constant resistance to the Inca troops. 

Day 1 - 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 2 - Chachapoyas
After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion by horse to visit the colorful funeral buildings of Revash perched on a ledge up high on a cliff. Box Lunch. Then you will continue to Leimebamba to visit an amazing collection of pre-inca mummies discovered in the Laguna de los Condores.

Day 3 - 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. Dinner and overnight at Hostal El Chillo.

Day 4 - Chachapoyas
Morning trek to Chachapoyas 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. Free afternoon for relaxation. or take a tour (at extra cost) to Karajia and the mysterious Sarcophagi carved into the hillside.

Day 5 - Chachapoyas / Chiclayo
After an early breakfast you will return to Chiclayo by road. Box Lunch included. Late afternoon arrival and transfer to selected hotel.