When the Pre-Columbian Chachapoyas culture was conquered by the Incas during the 15th century, it left a landscape strewn with half-forgotten villages and burial sites that untile until recently were largely ignored by archaeologists. The undisputed and most impressive center of this ancient culture is the mighty fortress of Kuelap, perched majestically atop mountain-top cliffs overlooking the verdant Andean cloud forests landscape around the town of Chachapoyas in Peru's northern Amazonas Department.
But remnants of the past can be found everywhere in the Chachapoyas. This little known region has remained largely untouched by tourists and the infrastructure is still quite basic. Yet, it is irresistable for adventurers who seek an off-the beaten-path experience. While the traces of ancient cultures are shrouded in mystery, today's inhabitants extend a friendly welcome. This fixed departure program allow travelers to explore Chachapoyas and Cajamarca, site of the first contact between the Spanish conquistadors and the Inca civilization. These programs are new and are specially designed for those who have a special interest in archaeology, or those with a taste for adventure.
The area is still new to tourism, but we have taken every care to provide as comfortable a stay as possible, with air-conditioned vehicles and expert guides.
In the morning you will depart from Chiclayo by private car, van or minibus with air conditioning. You will cross 4 different Peruvian departments: Lambayeque, south Piura, the North of Cajamarca and end in Amazonas, Starting in the coast and arriving in the late afternoon in the cloud forest of Chachapoyas. Box lunch and dinner included. Overnight at Hostal El Chillo. (L/D)
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. (B/L/D)
After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion to observe the 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. Then you will enjoy an excursion by horse to visit the colorful funeral buildings of Revash perched on a ledge up high on a cliff.
They overlook a valley and tributary of the Utcubamba, near the town of Santo Tomas. The Cliff walls at Revash are decorated with geometric designs and figures of camelids. Some of the tombs are decorated with T and cross-shaped niches. You will return to Chillo. Dinner and overnight at Hostal El Chillo. (B/L/D)
This morning you will drive towards Leymebamba. On the way you will stop at Las Palmas where a light trek will start to La Congona, a spectacular settlement pattern of the Chachapoyas culture. In this area you will be able to discover outstanding friezes and defensive towers still virgin in the jungle. After picnic lunch return to Leymebamba where we will spend a night at local hostel. Dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Morning visit the Museum of Leymebamba with its amazing collection of well preserved pre-inca mummies discovered in the Laguna de los Condores. Then continue to you will drive to Celendin and then to Cajamarca, crossing two cordilleras and several different habitats, such as cloud forest, agricultural land, desert-like areas and the Marañon Canyon. Box lunch on way. Overnight at Laguna Seca hotel and Spa. (B/L/D)
Comments: The journey from Leimebamba to Celendin, by way of the Maranon Canyon, is one of Peru's most spectacular drives. The Maranon River forms one of the world’s deepest canyons, and you will descend through different ecosystems from over 10,000 feet in altitude to the town of Balsas at 4,000 ft. After crossing the river you then ascend back through the various habitats to nearly 10,000 ft above sea level.
Morning light trek through the Cajamarca countryside to see local people in their daily activities including children going to school. Then we visit the Ventanillas de Otuzco, a pre-Inca cemetery that features a gallery of secondary burial niches (located 5 miles from the city). After lunch exploration of the main points of the city: Main Square, the Cathedral and the 17th Century San Francisco church, which houses the Museum of Religious Art. Continue on to the Ransom; which Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor, filled once with gold and twice with silver so as to obtain his freedom in 1532; to the Belen complex which includes the Belen church constructed entirely of sculptures volcanic rock and finally on to Santa Apolonia Hill, for a scenic view of the valley of Cajamarca and where one may also see the ceremonial Inca seat. Finally we will take a delicious cup of coffee at local cafeteria. Return to hotel to enjoy its swimming pools with thermal waters or a nice massage at the Spa. (This service is not included in the price). Farewell dinner and overnight at Hotel Laguna Seca. (B/L/D)
Comments: Cajamarca was a major center of the Inca Empire. It is most famous for being the place of first contact between Pizarro and the Inca army, which he defeated in a one-sided battle shortly thereafter, and captured Atahualpa, the last of the independent Inca monarchs. Although the Inca city was razed to the ground, Cajamarca boasts many beautiful colonial buildings, as well as the Inca-era 'Ransom Room', where Atahualpa was kept as a prisoner of the Spanish before being garroted.
Route: Chiclayo - Chachapoyas - Cajamarca
Highlights include: Chachapoyas (Kuelap fortress, burial building of Revash, La Congona ancient settlement, and Mummy museum at Leymebamba) and Cajamarca (Ransom room, artisans, Andean markets and Otuzco necropolis). Accommodation (3 nights at El Chillo Lodge, 1 night at Leymebamba Museum lodge and 2 nights at Laguna Seca hotel & Spa), full board, treks, horse riding and overland transportation included.
For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.