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Leaving from Jaen, drive to Chachapoyas, a quaint town overlooking the Utcubamba Valley. Most people visiting here do so to visit the remarkable Chachapoyan sites of the area dating from approximately 800AD. Kuelap is the most famous but there are many interesting sites and it is suspected that there are still more ‘lost cities’ yet to be uncovered.
4 Days / 3 Nights
Fly from Lima to Jaen where you are met by your guide and driven for over three hours to the village of Cocachimba. The pretty journey takes us through the busy city of Jaen and down to the Marañon River which we cross via a suspension bridge. Then we traverse an arid area for 30 minutes to the town of Bagua Grande where we stop for lunch. Heading south we enter the Utcubamba Valley: initially rice paddies and further upstream a forested canyon. We follow the valley as far as Cocahuayco, a side valley up to the village of Cocachimba and Gocta Natura Cabins. (L,D).
We start our hike to Gocta Waterfall from the hotel door, a four hour round trip. This waterfall (771m. high) that looks like a thin veil from the distance, is one of the highest waterfalls in the world. The trail takes us along the side of a valley through sugar cane fields and into forest that is home to the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, sloth and the magnificent cock-of. the-rock or tunki as it is known in Peru. With glimpses of the waterfall along the way, a few places with steep up and downs, we arrive at the base of the highest fall. Those brave enough may want a dip in the pool at the base. Return to Gocta Natura Cabins for lunch and then we drive one hour to the small city of Chachapoyas with its white buildings and many wooden balconies. Further north is the village of Huancas famous in the area for the rustic pots made by the women of the village. Close by is the stunning 1000m deep Sonche Canyon. Return to Gocta Natura Cabins for the night. (B,L,D) .
Early drive for over an how to the village of Tingo to reserve our place on the first cable cars/gondolas to Kuelap. From the ticket office we travel 10mins in the cable car company bus to the cable car station and in 20minutes we glide over to the other side of the steep valley arriving at the Kuelap ticket office. A 1Km walk leads us to the outer wall of Kuelap which in places is 20m tall. Kuelap was built by the pre-Inca Chachapoya culture and inside there are hundreds of round houses and some ceremonial structures, much of which are still capped by cloud
forest, adding to the ‘lost’ city feel. After our visit we head back down the cable car to Tingo and drive for an hour on to Leymebamba stopping for lunch/box lunch on route. Leymebamba has a superb museum that houses 219 mummies recovered from tombs in 1997. The tombs were built on a ledge overlooking the Lake of the Condors and apart from the mummies there are thousands of other artefacts of ceramics, textiles, gourds and wood carvings, many of which are in an excellent state of preservation. Return to Gocta Natura for the night. (Tea/Coffee and cake at Kentitambo) (B,L,D).
Return to Jaen and drop off at the airport for your flight to Lima or connecting destinations.
NOTE: There is an airport at Chachapoyas with small planes connecting to Tarapoto (in the rainforest) and Chiclayo (on the coast)