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CHACHAPOYAS - PERU

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Imposing archaeological remains, hallucinating landscapes, towns that conserve their old culture, adrenalin to the maximum through the practice of adventure sports, are only some of the reasons that makes Chachapoyas - and the Department of Amazonas - an ideal place for tourism.

In the city

In Chachapoyas you will be able to appreciate its typical large houses with tiled roofs and adorned with balconies - to which it owes its nick name of the City of the Balconies - with their great inner patios and surrounded by orchards and gardens. The Plaza Independencia - Independence Square, the Churches of Santa Ana and the Señor de Burgos - the Lord of Burgos, are clear evidences of the Hispanic influence that is still present in the city; indeed, because of these characteristics, the Government of the Municipality of Extremadura, Spain, offered financial support for the building of a bridge of stone, in Iberian style.

The Plaza de Armas or Main Square is the main urban space of the city. A bustling place of encounter and gatherings that marks - or seems to do so- the daily rhythm of Chachapoyas, the attractive Capital of the Amazon Department.
Its layout is in a square with each one of its sides 100 meters in length. Its lines and characteristics of clear Hispanic influence (Colonial), contrast clearly with the beautiful fountain of the century XIX that prevails, shines and makes an impression in the central part of this urban space.
The Plaza de Armas is surrounded by important religious and civil buildings, like the Cathedral, the Bishopric and the Provincial Municipality.

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The Citadel of Kuelap
The Bishopric, an old Colonial mansion in which was born the Amazon illustrious person Toribio Rodriguez de Mendoza (1750-1825), priest, teacher and one of the most outstanding precursors of the Independence of Peru. When the liberation from the Spanish yoke was proclaimed on the 28th of July, 1821, Rodriguez de Mendoza was summoned to participate in the first Constituent Congress of the new born Republic of Peru. The centennial house conserves valuable furniture of its time, Colonial linen cloths with religious themes and the pictures of the bishops who spread the word of God in Chachapoyas.
It is located on the Plaza de Armas.

The Plazuela de la Independencia or Independence Square, urban space of clear Hispanic influences, constructed to commemorate the triumph of the Chachapoya Independence fighters over the Spanish Royal army (the Vice Royal army), in the battle of Higos Urco.
The action took place on the 6th of June of 1821. The fight was bloody, terrible, heroic and unequal in the Pampas of Higos Urco (at two kilometres from the city). The royalists had experience, order and discipline; the patriots covered their lack of preparation with fierceness and anger, proper of their libertarian ideals.
With those weapons they gained the victory on that historical day that left several names for posterity, an example is the one of Matea Rimachi, seasoned woman fighter that represents until today the daring of the women of Amazonas. In honour of those fighters, in the centre of the Square of Independence, the Patriotic Monument to the Chachapoyas was raised.
It is located on the third block of the Jirón Amazonas in Chachapoyas.

The Monsante Mansion is a clear example of Colonial origin of Chachapoyas, a city that conserves great part of its Hispanic legacy. The mansion, declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation by the National Institute of Culture (INC.), was the seat of a company dedicated to the commercialisation of tobacco. After a fine work of restoration and preparation, the Monsante mansion became a cosy hotel and a showy breeding ground, because in its large patio of Hispanic style, begonias and orchids have been planted together with more than 1500 plants and flowers of the region.
It is located on Jirón Amazonas 746, Chachapoyas.

The Pozo de Yanayacu or Well of Black Water, This is the place, built by SantoToribio de Mogrovejo, where all lovers gather. The origin of the well is bound to a miracle. Some say that it happened in the days of drought, when the sun imposed its burning rays and everything was dry in the land. The rivers, the fields, the life of the people themselves; then, Santo Toribio, that pristine man who had an understanding with God, made bring forth crystalline spurts of water from a dry and barren rock.
Its original name was the Fuente Cuyana - the Cuyana Fountain; later it would receive the name of the Fountain of Love, when attributing to it the magical effects on the visitors. According to history, the stranger who drinks from its waters will irremediably fall in love with a Chachapoya woman, thus remaining in the City for the rest of his life.
It is located on the Cerro Luya Urco Hill, at one kilometre from downtown Chachapoyas.

The Grutas de Santa Lucía or the Caves of Santa Lucia and the Orchid Nursery of Santa Isabel are other points of attraction that the tourist must not miss. Both places wake up the interest and the restlessness of the travellers who love nature.
The nursery with its great variety of bewitching orchids – that grow with vigour in this region of the country and the caves of abstract forms, are spaces of the Cloud Forest that demonstrate the geographic and ecological diversity of Peru, in general, and of Chachapoyas, especially.
It is located on the outskirts of the City, closely to the airport.




CHACHAPOYAS - PERU
SURROUNDINGS

Chachapoyas is the departure point to know a series of places of great interest, like:

Levanto, a district that mixes the pre-Hispanic remains of Yálape (a populated centre with freezes in the shape of rhomboids and zigzag patterns), the circular building of Colla Cruz (of Shachapuyo-Inca origin), surrounded by beautiful landscapes, that only the whims of the nature could create.
Its origins go back to the pre-Hispanic time, when it was an important centre populated by the Shachapuyos, a human group that heroically resisted the conquest of the Incas. In spite of its historical importance, this culture that was developed in the High Mountain Forest of the North of Peru is, in many aspects, an unknown part of history, a mystery without solution for the investigators.
Located at 22 kilometres from Chachapoyas, in Levanto you must not miss to visit:
  • Yalape are pre Hispanic archaeological remains with circular buildings of stone and mud. You can observe interesting high relief friezes, an ornamentation characteristic of the Shachapuya architecture. Its extension is of four hectares and would have been constructed between the 1100 and the 1300 A.C.
La Jalca, Town of pre Inca origin which conserves the characteristics of the traditional architecture. The houses have straw roofs and the Colonial church is, probably, the oldest of the zone.
La Jalca at 2900 m.a.s.l. is the Capital of the Chachapoyan folklore. Its artistic wealth is pronounced to fullness in the celebration of San Juan (June), a mixture of pagan-religious celebration in which a series of showy and merry dances is executed, some of them of pre Hispanic roots.
One of the more interesting folkloric expressions is a dance that represents the legend of "Juan, the Small Bear", son of a Spectacle Bear (Ursus Tremactus) who had a son with a young girl from La Jalca, which it had abducted.
Aside from its dances, the Great Jalca is a town of laborious farmers, some of which speak Quechua but with local unique characteristics. In its small urban centre you will find the Ethnographic Museum and the pretty Colonial church of the XVIth Century, with a rustic and showy bell tower of stone. Its bucolic landscape adds an extra dose of beauty.
It is located at 70 kilometres from Chachapoyas, the Regional Capital.

Huancas, its first settlers were mitimaes (forced squatter colonisers) from the Valley of the Mantaro River, forced by the Inca to "plant" the rules of the social life of the Children of the Sun, in a territory that just had been annexed to the great Andean empire.
In spite of the time gone by and the little 5 kilometres that separate it from Chachapoyas, the town of Huancas obstinately follows its own customs and native traditions, those that were brought by their ancestors from the valleys and ravines of the present day Junín Region. Huancas is well-known for the pottery works of its women. They make - with patience and skill - elaborate pots, pitchers, vases, among other domestic utensils, done in an artisan way. While the ladies give form to the clay, the men of the community open furrows in the fields and cultivate the land. The geographic surroundings of the town are very nice. The zone is characterised by its green mountains, you are able to eye the High Mountain Cloud Forest from several natural viewpoints. In addition, there are archaeological vestiges, sections of the Qhapaq Ñan (the great Royal Inca Road) and an intense variety of orchids.

Pomacocha, a Lake located by the Pedro Ruíz-Rioja Highway in the Province of Bongará. It is but one of many that exists in the Department of Amazonas. It has a length of approximately three kilometres and is located at more than 2000 m.a.s.l. it is navigable and it offers all the guarantees for the practice of water sports.
The "Lake of the Pumas" (its translation to the Spanish) is a beautiful water mirror surrounded by Totora reeds and landscapes proper of the High Forest Cloud Forest, being one of the more impressive natural scenes of the region. Account with external channels, which allows to make calm strolls in canoe and to prove one’s luck with the hook (flavourful trout for the catching). The near town of Pomacocha (2150 m.a.s.l.), counts on services and tourist infrastructure, being a good alternative to fully enjoy the lagoon.
It is located at the height of the km 327 of the Pedro Ruiz-Rioja Highway.

The Catarata de Gocta Waterfall, its 771 metres of cascade turn it into the third highest cataract of the world, after the Salto del Ángel (972 metres), in Venezuela, and the Tugela Falls (948 metres), in South Africa.
The surprising water fall was presented to the eyes of the world in March of the year 2006, when the German Stefan Ziemendorff, published the results of his expedition to a water fall that did not appear in maps of the region, but that the local population knew as the Chorrera or Spout.
The expedition was made in February of the same year and counted on the participation of Peruvian expeditionaries. After the great adventure, Ziemendorff decided to change the name of the Chorrera to the one of Gocta, in reference to the village nearest to the immense water veil that, according to the local legend, is protected by a gigantic serpent.
In order to arrive at this formidable natural jewel, it is necessary to walk for nearly 5 hours by a Cloud Forest, with 22 waterfalls on the way and a great variety of wild flowers and captivating species of fauna, like the Cock of the Rock, toucans, monkeys, pumas, among others.
The route begins in the small village of Cocachimba, Province of Bongará. Its capital, Jumbilla, is at 130 kilometres from Chachapoyas.

The Cataratas La Chinata Waterfalls, a fantastic water veil that falls off from a height of 580 metres. Its geographic surroundings are magnificent and it is characterised by the diversity of its flora, being able to appraise orchids, ferns and mosses. Located on the 1300 m.a.s.l. the cataracts are one of the main attractions in the Province of Bongará. If your departure point is Chachapoyas it is necessary to go to the City of Pedro Ruiz Gallo (90 minutes in car) and then to continue on 7 kilometres until reaching the District of San Carlos. >From this population the distance is 12 kilometres.

Kuelap, in the District of Tingo (Province of Luya) and at 4 hours from Chachapoyas, is the fortified city of Kuelap that was discovered in 1843, by the Primary Courts Judge Juan Crisóstomo Nieto.
The City that is on the top of a mountain at 3000 m.a.s.l. has an extension of 584 metres in length and approximately 110 in width. The enormous defensive walls that delimit the two sectors of the citadel (the "Low Town" and the “High Town") are impressive due to their 20 metres of height. In their construction, the Shachapuyos used limestone stone blocks.
In the "High town", the so called Castle stands out, a ceremonial construction that consists of a rectangular base with three superposed platforms and the Tower, a defensive construction of 7 metres of height.
Whereas in the "Low Town", stands out a circular structure, known as the Tintero or Inkpot, for its similarity with this container. With a height of 5.5 metres and a diameter of 13.7 metres, the construction would have had ceremonial aims and is one of the 335 stone vestiges of the sector, which would have lodged the main part of the population of the fortified city, estimated at some 350 thousand inhabitants. A singular detail of Kuelap is the narrowness of its three accesses. These routes only allow the passage of one person, that is to say, if an enemy army wanted to invade it, their soldiers had to enter in single file, being an easy target for the Shachapuyos soldiers.
It is believed that the admirable fortified city was constructed around the XVIIIth Century AD by the Shachapuyos, a pre-Hispanic civilization conformed by small kingdoms with common cultural roots.
Kuelap is the most important archaeological complex of the Amazonas Region. It is located at 35 kilometres from the City of Chachapoyas.

Laguna de los Cóndores, the Lake of the Condors, beautiful, distant and of difficult access is surrounded by dense cloudy forests. It is of glacial origin and it is the East of the Chilchos River. It is located at 2600 m.a.s.l.
In 1997 a group of archaeologists found around 280 Sachapuya mummies, in a group of constructed pre- Hispanic mausoleums hanging on ledges at the side of steep, apparently inaccessible cliff sides, abou
t 100 metres from the Lake of the Condors.
For more than 500 years, the bodies of which would have been important Sachapuyo dignitaries were hidden from the eyes of science. The finding served to revalue the importance of this culture and to initiate a series of studies on its development and social organisation.
Many of the mummies- in good state of conservation - were in wood coffins. In addition, next to the bodies were 3 thousand pieces of great archaeological and historical value (ceramics, idols, lances, and beautiful wood statues, of Sachapuya and Inca manufacture). The outer walls of the mausoleums were covered with a clay paste with painted in white, although also some red bands are appraised.
After the investigations, the funeral bundles and the objects found in the tombs were transferred to the Site Museum of Leymebamba, at 45 kilometres from the Lake of the Condors (it is only arrived at by foot or horse) and at 93 kilometres from Chachapoyas.

The Site Museum of Leymebamba, is a modern designed enclosure to lodge and to expose the mummies, ceramics, wood statues, arms and other pieces discovered in prominent cliff side of the Lake of the Condors.
It is located at 10 kilometres from the Town of Leymebamba (93 kilometres from the City of Chachapoyas). It is open to the public from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 hours to the 16:30 hours.

The Conjunto habitacional Macro – The Macro Dwellings Complex is a group of houses of the Sachapuyas culture presumably erected in the XIIth Century AD. on the slope of a vertical hill that flanks the channel of the Utcubamba River. Of circular forms, the enclosures were raised with stone and mud, being appraised rhomboid friezes and vaulted niches in their walls.
It is located in the District of Magdalena, at the height of the detour to the Nuevo Tico Town at 25 kilometres from the City of Chachapoyas.

The Sarcófagos de Karajía – The Karajia Sarcophagi, monumental and impressive, ignored until 1985, when the Peruvian archaeologist Federico Kauffman Doig, woke them up from their dream of forgetfulness, so deep, that nor the plunderers of Hispanic tombs could interrupt it, perhaps because of being in a place of such difficult access, 200 metres downwards on one of the walls of the Gorge of Juscubamba. Altogether they are seven sarcophagi each of 2.50 metres of height, all standing in a row beside each other. The scientific tests made by the investigators, show that the funeral monuments would have been constructed in the year 1460 AD (+/- 60 years). Of anthropomorphist design, the sarcophagi were built with a mixture of clay, woods and stones. Its consistency is compact in the zones that represent the chest and the head; whereas its external part is painted with two tonalities of red (its base is white), presenting, in addition, decorated geometric figures.
In one of the tombs there is a gap, through which, as the investigators observed the interior, they saw the mummy seated on a skin and covered with mortuary fabrics. Several pieces of ceramics and other offerings completed the funeral offerings.
These sarcophagi from the Sachapuyas culture, are in the zone of Karajía (2760 m.a.s.l.), Province of Luya, at 48 kilometres from the City of Chachapoyas.

The Mausoleos de Revach Mausoleums are singular erected funeral constructions on the rocky slope of a steep precipice, located at one hour (on foot) from the Town of Santo Tomás (Province of Luya).
The mausoleums resemble small houses of one and two floors, with inclined roofs, supported with rushes of wood. Their walls are of stone, using mud mortar to unite the blocks. Also one can see decorative drawings.
In Revach, whose antiquity goes back to the XIVth Century AD, the Sachapuyas buried powerful and influential personages, according to the conclusions of the studies made in this zone, investigated in the XIXth Century by Charles Wiener and in 1987 by a group of Peruvian archaeologists.
In spite of being in an area of difficult access, the robbers of pre Hispanic tombs have caused serious damages in the archaeological patrimony. At the present time, only smaller tombs and some bony vestiges stay unharmed.

Bagua, is the main city of the Province of same name. Of rustic and exuberant geography, it is located at 104 kilometres from the City of Chachapoyas, on the right bank of the Utcubamba River.
The diversity of its natural attractions turns it one of the cities with greater eco tourism potential in the Region. In spite of that, until now it has only been a crossing site for the travellers who go from the coast to the Amazonian forest and vice versa.
Among its attractions we can emphasize:
  • Cataratas de Numparket, Cataracts of Numparket, overwhelming waterfall of more than 90 metres of height and surrounded by bewitching landscapes. It is located at 40 kilometres from Bagua.
  • The Pongo de Rentema Gorge, with two kilometres width in its narrowest part, is a dangerous passage in which the Rivers Marañón, Utcubamba and Chinchipe come together. It is located at 14 kilometres from the City of Bagua following the penetration highway Bagua-Imazita.



CHACHAPOYAS - PERU
ADVENTURE SPORTS

The numerous calcareous caves with underground water systems and limestone walls found throughout the department of Amazonas, are a challenge for those who enjoy exploring the unknown.

With special equipment, an adequate team and a certain degree of experience it is possible to explore the Caves of El Tigre, in the district of Copallin (province of Bagua), Jamalca in Parpachupa or Corbamba in the province of Bongará.The lakes of Amazonas; most of which are over 3,000 meters above sea level, are perfect for watersports.
 
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