High in the mountains in the north of Peru is the cozy town of Chachapoyas. In addition to a pleasant village square, delicious coffee and nice restaurants, you can do very cool things in the area. For example, it’s the perfect base for visiting Kuelap; the Machu Picchu of the North. But that’s not the only thing, there is more to do! Here are three great tips:

1. Kuelap: the Machu Picchu of the north
Something you shouldn’t miss during your trip through northern Peru is a visit to the ruins of Kuelap. This magical place is compared to the world famous Machu Picchu, but without thousands of tourists a day. Previously you had to drive (or hike) at least 3.5 hours to get there, but since 2017 you can get there with a cable car.

Click here for more information about visiting Kuelap 

2. Gocta waterfall
The third highest waterfall in the world is an hour’s drive from Chachapoyas. The Gocta waterfall is no less than 771 meters high and was only discovered in 2005 by a group of adventurers. Work up a sweat during the trek for at least half a day to admire the waterfall up close.

Click here for more information about visiting the Gocta waterfall 

3. Viewpoint Huancas
Less known and less intensive to visit is the “Cañón del Sonche” viewpoint in Huancas. If you have a few hours left, this is an absolute must! This spectacular viewpoint is only a 20-minute drive from Chachapoyas and you can be dropped off by taxi directly at the entrance. After buying your ticket (3 soles) it’s a short walk to the mirador. This place is, partly because there are so few tourists, one of our most photogenic places in northern Peru. If you can’t get enough of this viewpoint then you can choose to continue to ‘Mirador Huancas’ for a view that might be as beautiful. Are you traveling on a low budget or are you looking for a local experience? Then you can take a collectivo at the bus station to Huancas (for 3 soles p.p.). You drop this in the middle of the village and from there it is about a 10 minute walk to the viewpoint.
Nice restaurants and good coffee in Chachapoyas
More and more tourists know how to find Chachapoyas and that’s reflected in the number of restaurants. The village is not (yet) flooded with tourists but, especially due to the arrival of the cable car to Kuelap, they expect to experience significant growth in the coming years. We stayed in Chachapoyas for seven days and tested many different restaurants. You can have a delicious breakfast at Terra Mia and Amazonas 632 (try the waffle). We’ve had the best cappuccino at Cal Payes. This cozy coffee bar is located halfway between the bus station and the Plaza de Armas. You can also reserve an early breakfast here and have a nice lunch package made for when you go out for a day. In addition to the many “pollerias” (chicken restaurants), you can also go to the above addresses for an evening meal. Do you want to eat a little more luxurious? Then have a look at restaurant “El Batán del Tayta”. For a quick bite you can score a hamburger at the food truck in “Parque Belen”.
Sleeping in Chachapoyas
There are many nice hotels in Chachapoyas. We slept wonderfully in hotel Casona del Rosario (Revash). This cozy little hotel is located on the central square and has a cozy courtyard, good beds and a nice shower. Another good option in Chachapoyas is  Casa de los Balcones.

Bus from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas
We traveled from Cajamarca by bus to Chachapoyas. Because this is a fairly long bus ride, we have chosen to sleep in Celendín for the night. This was a nice local experience; you notice this because there are few tourists. The eight-hour drive from Celendín to Chachapoyas was a tough but incredibly beautiful bus ride through the mountains. This route is only done with mini vans because the roads are too narrow for large coaches. If you soon suffer from motion sickness then this ride is probably a little less comfortable.
  • Cajamarca – Celendín: three hours with bus company Rojas (costs: 10 soles per person)
  • Celendín – Chachapoyas: eight hours with bus company Rojas (costs: 30 soles per person)
Bus from Chachapoyas to Tarapoto
From Chachapoyas we traveled by bus to Tarapoto. This is another cool route from the mountains to the Amazon. After about three hours of winding mountain roads, the environment changes to a flatter and greener landscape. The bus ride takes a total of approximately 7.5 hours and we have paid 37 soles per person for this at the Turismo Selva bus company. We left Chachapoyas at 8.30 am and just bought the tickets at the bus station (handy to book a day in advance so that you are sure you have a seat).
Do you have questions or comments about this blog? Please contact us on social media.
Hi I am Anne (29) and I am a travel and lifestyle blogger for Travelgoodies. Together with Remco I travel the world. Along the way I shoot pictures of worldly interiors and I have a weakness for boutique hotels. At Travelgoodies I share my personal (travel) experiences and of course useful tips for on the road. Never stop exploring! Do you have questions, tips or comments? Feel free to send me an email: anne@travelgoodies.nl or contact us via the contact form.

Related Posts

Let’s stay in touch
Follow us on instagram for daily updates, tips and inspiration.
Deel deze blog op: