Explore Chachapoyas: Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Peru’s Hidden Gem

Explore Chachapoyas Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Peru Hidden Gem

Meet THE CLOUD WARRIORS, During your visit to Chachapoyas, take advantage of your incredible location and access to explore the nature, wildlife, and archaeological treasures of Peru’s hidden gems: the less-traveled Northern Circuit. The Chachapoyas, a pre-Incan civilization, are known as the “Warriors of the Clouds.” Considered the “Machu Picchu of the North,” Kuelap is a grand fortress and one of America’s most impressive ancient stone structures.

1. Best Time to Visit Chachapoyas

Best Time to Visit Chachapoyas

Chachapoyas experiences both a rainy and dry season, but your preferences will help determine the best time to visit. For clear skies and comfortable temperatures, travelers should visit Chachapoyas during the winter, between the months of June and August. If you are interested in seeing the Gocta and Yumbilla waterfalls at their peak beauty, then it is advised to visit during the rainy season from December to July. Each season offers a unique perspective of Chachapoyas’ natural beauty.

2. Things to See and Do

Visit the Ancient Mummies at Museo Leymebamba

Visit the Ancient Mummies at Museo Leymebamba

Near the Laguna de Los Cóndores lies a 500-year-old burial site that began to be excavated in 1997. Archaeologists uncovered 200 mummies along with burial offerings, ceramics, and weapons. The Chachapoya people were talented embalmers, leading to the eerily well-preserved mummies that can be viewed today at the Museo Leymebamba. The museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient practices and artistry of the Chachapoya civilization.

Hike to the Gocta & Yumbilla Waterfalls

Hike to the Gocta & Yumbilla Waterfalls

These jungle waterfalls have two tiers towering at 771 meters, making them a highly impressive sight that you won’t want to miss. A full-day hike can take you to both the upper and lower tiers of the falls in one 15-kilometer circuit, along with a viewpoint that provides an astonishingly clear view of both falls. The recently discovered Yumbilla is even taller, standing at 895 meters and is about a 10-kilometer hike in total, accompanied by a view of two other waterfalls along the way. The trails offer a mix of challenging terrain and breathtaking scenery, perfect for nature enthusiasts.

Visit Canon del Sonche

Visit the Ancient Mummies at Museo Leymebamba

This steep-sided canyon is a must-visit with walls up to 2620 meters above sea level and astounding views of the Sonche River running through the riverbed. Hike to the top of Mirador de Huancas for the perfect view of the impressive landscapes inhabiting the Sonche Canyon. Get a guided tour to have a skilled local help spot the impressive array of birds that inhabit this region. The canyon’s dramatic landscapes and diverse wildlife make it a paradise for photographers and birdwatchers alike.

Fortaleza de Kuelap

Kuelap fortress

Explore the ancient ruins of Kuelap, a massive stone fortress that served as a stronghold for the Chachapoyas civilization. The site features impressive stone walls, ancient dwellings, and breathtaking views of the surrounding cloud forest. The fortress’s strategic location and architectural prowess offer a profound insight into the military and societal organization of the Chachapoyas people. Guided tours are available to enrich your understanding of the site’s historical significance.

Catarata de Gocta

Catarata de Gocta

Marvel at one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, the Gocta Waterfall, which cascades 771 meters into the jungle below. The hike to the falls offers stunning views and an immersive experience in the lush cloud forest. The journey to the falls is as rewarding as the destination, with opportunities to encounter diverse flora and fauna along the way. The waterfall’s sheer size and the surrounding verdant landscape create a mesmerizing natural spectacle.

Caverna de Quiocta

Discover the fascinating Caverna de Quiocta, a limestone cave filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. This cave offers a unique adventure, with guided tours exploring its depths and learning about its geological formations. The cave’s intriguing structures and historical significance provide a captivating experience for geology enthusiasts and adventurous travelers. The tour guides often share local legends and insights about the cave’s history.

Museo Leymebamba

Museo Leymebamba

Visit the Museo Leymebamba to see the collection of well-preserved mummies and artifacts from the Chachapoya culture. The museum provides valuable insights into the lives and practices of this ancient civilization. The exhibits include detailed information about the embalming techniques and the cultural context of the mummies. Interactive displays and knowledgeable guides enhance the educational experience for visitors of all ages.

3. Best Hotels in Chachapoyas

Best Hotels in Chachapoyas

Gocta Andes Lodge: The Gocta Andes Lodge is tactfully oriented so that visitors can experience breathtaking views of the Gocta Falls from the comfort and ease of their private balcony. Take in the incredible views as you experience a taste of the local area with fresh trout from Leymebamba, incredible cheese from Pomamcochas pastures, and smooth coffee from Mendoza. This tranquil basecamp will serve you with the luxury you desire while being in close proximity to memory-worthy adventures. The lodge also offers guided tours and excursions to nearby attractions, ensuring a comprehensive and enjoyable stay.

Gocta Natura Cabins: Hidden within the cloud forest, Gocta Natura Cabins is an environmentally friendly luxury accommodation dedicated to regenerating the forest. The private cabins provide great comfort along with picturesque views of the nature reserve. Experience farm-to-table culture as Gocta’s restaurant curates daily menus based on the produce availability of their gardens. Not only do they focus on the health of the environment but also of their guests, offering activities meant to harness creativity and peace. The cabins’ sustainable design and commitment to conservation make them a perfect choice for eco-conscious travelers.

Casa Hacienda Achamaqui: This eco-friendly, wooden haven offers guests a comfortable stay without harming the local environment. Strategically located, the hotel sits within a 32-mile radius of the National Institute of Culture Museum, Gocta Waterfall, and Kuelap. Casa Hacienda Achamaqui offers a traveler’s connection to nature, being wrapped around a lush forest and an accessible river. The hotel’s restaurant will cater to your needs through delicious food and amazing service. The blend of traditional architecture and modern amenities ensures a unique and comfortable experience.

Hotel Villa de Paris: Nestled in a picturesque location, Hotel Villa de Paris offers a charming and comfortable stay for visitors. With cozy rooms, beautiful gardens, and attentive service, it provides a relaxing retreat after a day of exploring Chachapoyas. The hotel’s central location makes it an ideal base for accessing local attractions and enjoying the town’s vibrant atmosphere. The staff is known for their hospitality and willingness to assist with travel plans and recommendations.

La Xalca Hotel: La Xalca Hotel provides a blend of modern comfort and traditional charm. Located in the heart of Chachapoyas, it offers convenient access to the town’s attractions. The hotel features well-appointed rooms, a restaurant serving local cuisine, and friendly staff to enhance your stay. The ambiance reflects the rich cultural heritage of the region, making it a pleasant and memorable lodging option. The hotel’s commitment to guest satisfaction is evident in its high-quality services and amenities.

4. Best Restaurants

Chachapoyas Best Restaurants

If your taste palette is adventurous, then Chachapoyas is an ideal place to try Peruvian delicacies such as cuy (guinea pig). In this cloud forest, you’ll be able to find many restaurants offering tasty, traditional cuisine, with popular dishes being cecina and trout. The local culinary scene blends traditional flavors with contemporary techniques, providing a unique dining experience.

El Batán del Tayta: From the furry seat covers to the dramatically presented cuisine, your dining experience is ensured to be interesting and delightful. The innovative menu ranges greatly from ‘drunk’ guinea pigs to ant cocktails. Don’t worry if you’re put off by insects and rodents – they offer traditional Italian pasta if you’re feeling less adventurous. Truly, a gastronomic experience like no other, El Batán del Tayta should not be missed on your Chachapoyas trip. The restaurant’s eclectic decor and unique dishes make it a memorable dining destination.

Café Fusiones: This welcoming restaurant has a lovely outdoor courtyard as well as a cozy indoor seating area to enjoy delicious, regionally focused food. Both the coffee and WiFi are strong, making it the ideal location to unwind after a day of exploring. Interested in learning about the process of coffee? Café Fusiones has an on-site laboratory where you can learn about how the bean transforms into a delicious cup of coffee. The cafe’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.

Terra Mia Cafe: Located in the main square, this trendy Peruvian-style cafe is famous for serving deliciously authentic food at just about any hour of the day. Terra Mia Cafe welcomes guests with a cozy indoor dining experience accompanied by WiFi, making it the perfect atmosphere to unwind after a long day. The portions are generous, and the options are plentiful, with welcoming staff to keep your stomachs full and hearts warm. The cafe’s central location and diverse menu make it a convenient and enjoyable dining choice.

La Real Cecina: Enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine at La Real Cecina, known for its flavorful dishes and warm atmosphere. The restaurant offers a variety of local specialties, including cecina (smoked pork), prepared with care and served with a side of local hospitality. The restaurant’s rustic charm and delicious meals make it a popular choice for experiencing authentic regional flavors. The attentive service and cozy setting enhance the overall dining experience.

Amazonika: Experience a fusion of Amazonian and Andean flavors at Amazonika, a restaurant that prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients. The menu features a diverse selection of dishes, highlighting the rich culinary traditions of the region. The vibrant decor and friendly service add to the dining experience, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts. The restaurant’s innovative approach to traditional cuisine offers a delightful culinary adventure.

5. Bars & Cafés in Chachapoyas

Bars and Cafés Worth Visiting in Chachapoyas

Café Fusiones: Known for its exceptional coffee and inviting ambiance, Café Fusiones is a great place to relax and enjoy a beverage. The cafe also serves a selection of pastries and light meals, making it a perfect spot for a quick bite or a leisurely afternoon. The friendly atmosphere and high-quality products ensure a pleasant experience for visitors.

Amazonas 632 – Pasteleria: A charming bakery and cafe offering a variety of delicious pastries, cakes, and coffee. It’s a perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth or enjoy a relaxing break. The cozy setting and delectable treats make it a popular choice for both locals and tourists. The bakery’s commitment to quality and fresh ingredients is evident in every bite.

6. Where to Buy Souvenirs

Where to Buy Souvenirs in Chachapoyas

Mercado Central de Chachapoyas: The central market is a bustling hub where you can find a variety of local goods, including fresh produce, handmade crafts, and traditional souvenirs. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and pick up unique items to remember your trip. The market’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings provide an authentic shopping experience.

Artesanías Tuctilla: A local artisan shop offering a wide range of handmade crafts, textiles, and jewelry. The items are crafted by local artisans and reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region. The shop’s friendly staff and high-quality products make it a great place to find special souvenirs. The emphasis on traditional craftsmanship ensures that each item is unique and meaningful.

Tienda Artesanal Kuelap: Specializing in crafts and souvenirs related to the Chachapoya culture, this shop offers unique items that are perfect for gifts or keepsakes. The selection includes pottery, textiles, and other handmade items that showcase the region’s artistic traditions. The shop’s focus on cultural authenticity ensures a genuine and memorable shopping experience. The knowledgeable staff can provide insights into the significance and history of the items.

7. Must-Visit Neighborhoods

Must-Visit Neighborhoods in Chachapoyas

Centro Histórico: The historic center of Chachapoyas is a must-visit area, with its charming colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and vibrant atmosphere. Here, you can explore local shops, cafes, and cultural sites, all while soaking in the rich history of the town. The area’s blend of historical landmarks and modern amenities creates a unique and engaging environment. The Centro Histórico is the perfect place to experience the heart and soul of Chachapoyas.

8. How to Get to Chachapoyas

How to Get to Chachapoyas

By Air:

  • Chachapoyas Airport (CHH): The local airport offers limited flights, primarily from Lima. Check with airlines for current schedules as they can vary. The airport’s proximity to the town center makes it a convenient option for travelers.
  • Jaén Airport (JAE): Located about 5 hours away, Jaén Airport has more frequent flights and is a viable alternative. From Jaén, you can take a bus or taxi to Chachapoyas. The scenic drive from Jaén offers a preview of the region’s natural beauty.

By Bus:

Chachapoyas is well-connected by an extensive bus network, making it accessible from various cities in Peru.

  • Interprovincial Buses: Several bus companies offer regular services to Chachapoyas from cities like Lima, Trujillo, and Chiclayo. The journey from Lima takes around 24 hours, while the journey from Trujillo and Chiclayo takes approximately 15-18 hours. The bus routes offer comfortable travel and scenic views of the Peruvian countryside.

By Car:

Traveling to Chachapoyas by car can be a scenic and enjoyable experience, especially for those coming from other parts of Peru.

  • From Lima: The journey from Lima to Chachapoyas takes approximately 24 hours. The most common route is via the Pan-American Highway (PE-1N) to Chiclayo, then continuing on PE-8B to Chachapoyas. The drive offers diverse landscapes and a chance to explore other towns along the way.
  • From Chiclayo: The drive from Chiclayo to Chachapoyas takes about 15-18 hours. The route offers picturesque views of the Andes mountains and diverse landscapes. The journey provides an immersive experience of Peru’s natural beauty.

Chachapoyas is a hidden gem in the Peruvian cloud forest, offering a unique blend of history, nature, and adventure. From the ancient ruins of Kuelap to the stunning Gocta and Yumbilla waterfalls, there is no shortage of incredible sights to explore. Whether you’re hiking through lush landscapes, discovering ancient mummies, or indulging in local cuisine, Chachapoyas promises an unforgettable travel experience. The town’s rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.




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