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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
- 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)