What to do in Chachapoyas? 9 must-see places
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What to do in Chachapoyas? 9 must-see places

Home / Travel Blog / What to do in Chachapoyas? 9 must-see places
What to do in Chachapoyas? 9 must-see places

When one aims to travel to the Peruvian Amazon, the most commented option is always the Amazonas region, since it has a wide range of activities and experiences to do. For example, if you want to connect with nature, you can visit the Gocta Waterfall, an extensive veil of water that never ceases its activity and that attracts travelers from all over the planet.


There is also the possibility of traveling to the past, with a tour of the Kúelap Fortress, a city that belonged to the ancient inhabitants of the Chachapoyas culture and where you can still visit the vestiges of this enigmatic place that has administrative spaces, religious, ceremonial and even houses, where its citizens took refuge from any enemy attack.


To get to these two wonderful places, you have to make a key stop, which is the starting point for new adventures and experiences: the city of Chachapoyas. This is the capital of the province with the same name and also of the Amazonas region, which is why it is considered one of the busiest tourist spots in all of northeastern Peru.


Accessing the city of Chachapoyas is quite simple, since it has several routes to reach this site, with an air terminal in between. From Lima, the capital of Peru, a direct flight takes only 1 hour and 45 minutes, approximately. You can also make a flight with a stopover: travel to Jaén (1 hour and 15 minutes, on average) to take a bus to Chachapoyas, which takes about 3 hours.


Touring Peru by road is also a viable option, if you like adventures on four wheels and you have time, since the extensive trip lasts 22 hours (with constant stops to use basic services).


Chachapoyas has it all

Once in the city, prepare yourself and calculate the times during your stay, because there are so many activities and places to discover that time may be short. The first thing you will see will be the Plaza Mayor of the city of Chachapoyas, which attracts attention due to the bronze pool that is located in the central part. This was built in the middle of the 19th century. Also, you can visit the Plaza de la Independencia, which bears its name in honor of the battle of Higos Urcos and in which they pay tribute to the Chachapoyan independence army that gave its life for freedom.


Tourists who admire the old buildings and profess the Catholic religion can take a look at the Temple of the Assumed Virgin, the Temple of Our Lady of Bethlehem and the Temple of the Lord of Good Death, in which some elements of the colonial period. Other viceregal-themed buildings are the Casa de las Dos Rosas and the Casa de Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza, a hero and forerunner of Peruvian independence who grew up within these walls.


For history lovers, there is the option of going to the Gilberto Tenorio Ruiz Exhibition Hall, in which four rooms display goods from the Chachapoyas culture that -mostly- were donated by former local residents. In addition to these historical objects, you can appreciate the flora and fauna of the region, lithic goods and mummies, which turn out to be one of the most amazing attractions due to the quality in which they are preserved.


9 must-see places in Chachapoyas

Sonche Canyon

The great contrast of landscapes is one of the main characteristics of the tourist places in Amazonas. Just 20 minutes north of Chachapoyas, capital city of the department, is the Sonche Canyon, an imposing place almost 1000 meters deep and around eleven kilometers long, not suitable for those who suffer from vertigo.


The site is simply spectacular: at its top, 2,620 meters above sea level, you will find a viewpoint where you can sit and enjoy one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Amazonas region.


How to get to the Sonche Canyon: in the Plaza de Armas of Chachapoyas you will find several buses that go to the Mirador de Huancas, at the top of the canyon. You can do the return in the same way, but you will have to pay attention to the time, since the last bus leaves around five in the afternoon from Huancas.


Leo's Caverns

The Cavernas de Leo Private Conservation Area is a beautiful place not only for what you can see in the photograph, but also for all the history behind it. These caves were discovered by Leovigildo López, a farmer from the area who found them in 2007, while looking for the ideal place to plant his coffee.


Leo, as he is known in the area, then found a hole from which fresh air came and began to dig until he found this: caverns full of stalactites and stalagmites that seem to have no end. Since then, Leo has been the guardian and curator of this site, one of the most mysterious tourist places in Amazonas.


How to get to the Caverns of Leo: from the Chachapoyas terraport you must take a bus that goes to Rodríguez Mendoza, located two and a half hours from the city. Once here, you will have to take a bus in the direction of Omia and in 20 minutes you will be in Leo's Caverns.



At the top of the Andes is one of the main tourist places in Amazonas: the enigmatic Kuelap Archaeological Complex. It is a fortress with walls more than 20 meters high that surround 505 houses made of stone. Abroad, in addition, up to 420 houses can be visited. Most of these constructions stand out for their striking circular shape.


In 2017, something changed when visiting Kuelap: the inauguration of a cable car that takes you to the city in 20 minutes (previously it could only be reached on a five-hour walk or two hours by car). Since then, the fortress has undergone a tourist boom and is becoming more and more popular all over the world.


How to get to Kuelap: from the bus terminal of Chachapoyas, you will have to take a bus that will take you to Nuevo Tingo, in a journey of approximately one hour. In this place are the cable cars that will take you to the fortress on a trip with spectacular views. However, to make this route much easier for you, at Denomades we offer a tour to the Kuelap Archaeological Complex.


Gocta waterfall

Along with Kuelap, another of the great tourist places in Amazonas is the Gocta Waterfall. At 771 meters above sea level, this waterfall is among the highest in the world and offers visitors an incomparable landscape.


In addition to its great height, the main attraction of this waterfall is the trekking that is done to reach the point where the water hits the ground. In the three hours that this walk lasts you will find lush nature, typical birds of the area such as the cock of the rock and, of course, views of the waterfall from different perspectives.


Once you reach the goal, don't hesitate: close your eyes and enjoy the Gocta water reaching you. The experience is unique!


How to get to the Gocta Waterfall: from Chachapoyas, you will have to take a bus to Cocahuayco (an hour from the city) and, from here, a motorbike to Cocachimba, where you can spend the night. At this point the three-hour walk to the waterfall begins. For those who prefer to do an organized excursion with a guide, we offer our Gocta Waterfall tour.


Palm Forest Taulia Molinopampa

Can you imagine walking through an infinite forest full of gigantic palm trees? That is what awaits you at the Taulia Molinopampa Palm Forest, a private conservation area managed by women from different communities in the area.


But it is not just a palm grove: this place is the habitat of a large amount of flora and fauna, with more than 1,500 species of flowers, among which the orchid stands out, the most famous in the area. In addition, to maintain this wonder of nature, the women make handicrafts, own a restaurant, and offer experiential tourism.


How to get to the Bosque de Palmeras Taulia Molinopampa: take a bus to the city of Rodríguez de Mendoza at the Chachapoyas terraport and ask the driver to drop you off at the Ocol annex, where the Bosque de Palmeras tourist information center is located. The journey takes a little over two hours.


Karajía Sarcophagi

Another of the enigmatic sites and the most visited tourist places in Amazonas are the Sarcophagi of Karajía. The Chachapoyas culture, which inhabited this area between the years 900 and 1470, had great respect for the dead, especially for those who belonged to the highest social class. To protect their corpses, they built these impressive sarcophagi, shaped like a human figure, more than eight feet tall and located at a great height. Thus, they could protect the dead and allow them to rest in peace forever.


Also, if you visit the Karajía Sarcophagi, you have to make a stop at the Quiocta Caverns. In these dark caves, located 560 meters deep, in addition to stalactites and stalagmites, you will find skulls and other human remains, since it also served as a cemetery for the Chachapoyas. Will you dare to enter them?


How to get to the Karajía Sarcophagi: if you want to make the trip on your own, you must take a bus from Chachapoyas to Luya and, once here, take another that goes to Cruzpata. In this place you will find the booth where you can pay the entrance fee and begin the 25-minute walk that takes you to the sarcophagi. If you prefer something more organized, at Denómades we offer a tour to Karajía and Quiocta Cave, with bus, guide and lunch included.


Yumbilla Waterfall

Do you see photos of Gocta and are you totally amazed by that great waterfall? Well, we have to tell you that this, although it is the best known, is not the highest waterfall in the department of Amazonas. Moreover, in this region of Peru is the highest waterfall in the country and the fifth highest in the world.


This is Yumbilla, a 896-meter waterfall that has four waterfalls. This place will leave you totally in love, not only because of the incredible height of the waterfall, but also because of the magical landscape that surrounds it.


How to get to the Yumbilla Waterfall: take a bus from Chachapoyas to the town of Pedro Ruiz. Once here, you will have to go to the Cuispes district (you can do it by motorcycle taxi and add excitement to the adventure). From Cuispes you will have to start the trekking, of two and a half hours, which will take you to the Yumbilla waterfall.


Revash Mausoleums

Another example of how the Chachapoyas protected their dead are the Revash Mausoleums. These constructions, with a curious form of housing, are excavated in the walls of rocky mountains, in places of difficult access.


At first glance, this necropolis resembles a small town, which could be a reflection of how the houses were at the time of the Chachapoyas culture. Its buildings remain quite well preserved, but they are empty; the tombs were desecrated and the corpses that were found here disappeared years ago.


How to get to the Revash Mausoleums: to get to the Revash Mausoleums you have two options, go from Chachapoyas to Yerbabuena or to San Bartolo. From any of these two towns a walk starts, two hours in the first case and one hour in the second. If you prefer to take an organized excursion, at Denomades we offer you a more comfortable way to get there, with a tour to the Revash Mausoleums, which includes transportation, guide and lunch.


Lagoon of the Condors

For those who like to take long walks accompanied by dream landscapes, trekking to the Laguna de los Cóndores is a must on your visit to Chachapoyas. Located at 2,600 meters above sea level, this place can only be reached by trekking between 10 and 12 hours, which is totally worth it for its beautiful views!


The Laguna de los Cóndores is also known as Laguna de las Momias, since it is one of the only two Inca burial places in all of Peru and around it old constructions with funerary bundles were found. After reaching the lagoon, you can take a boat, cross it and visit the curious mausoleums where hundreds of mummies were found that were later taken to the Leymebamba Museum.


How to get to the Laguna de los Cóndores: the starting point to start the hike is located 93 km from Chachapoyas, in the district of Leymebamba. You will have to get here by car or bus and then start the 45 km trekking to the Laguna de los Cóndores.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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