Kuelap Fortress

Attractions & Activities in Chachapoyas & Kuelap


Belonging to and built by the former pre-Inca Chachapoyas culture, the Kuelap fortress is a sight to see and experience while traveling in northern Peru. The complex consists of an impressive 20-meter (66-foot) tall stone wall and 420 circular stone houses adorned with interesting zigzag and geometric designs.

You’ll be wowed by the sheer age of the site and the seemingly intact condition of it all. Keulap is believed to have been built around 500 AD. Its location beneath the dense Amazonian canopy is what has protected it all these years.

The purpose of Kuelap for the Chachapoyas was to protect and defend against enemies, including eventually the Incas. The fortress sits atop a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley, a prime location for observing an approaching enemy. It’s high altitude perch is also something to keep in mind when you travel, as it’s a healthy 3,000 m.a.s.l. (9,843 feet).

There are a variety of ways to reach this jungle hideaway, including most recently the cable car from Tinga Nuevo. Alternatively you can choose to take a multi-day trek or a two- to three-hour bus ride from Chachapoyas along unpaved, mountain roads.

For a private tour of this pre-Inca fortress, get in touch with one of our travel experts. Touted as the “Machu Picchu of the north”, the Kuelap ruins is one site you do not want to miss during your vacation in Peru.

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