Embark on a quick-yet-adventurous five-day tour of Northern Peru’s highlights. Upon arrival in Jaen, head to Chachapoyas, your home base throughout the journey. Hike to the Mausoleum of Revash, followed by a visit to Musuem Mallqui, which is home to more than 200 preserved mummies. Then, take a day trip to discover the Kuélap ruins for a day of exploration. The grand finale includes a scenic hike to one of the highest waterfalls in the world—Gocta Waterfall—before flying to Lima for your departure.

Highlights

  • Visit the Museum Mallqui, home to more than 200 preserved mummies
  • Discover the walled settlement and archaeological ruins of Kuélap
  • Hike to Gocta Waterfall, one of the tallest falls in the world

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Jaen & Transfer to Chachapoyas Chachapoyas
Day 2 Visit the Mausoleums of Revash & Museum of Leymebamba Chachapoyas
Day 3 Tour Kuélap's Archaeological Ruins Chachapoyas
Day 4 Scenic Hike to Gocta Waterfall Chachapoyas
Day 5 Fly to Lima & Depart From Peru  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Jaen and transfer to Chachapoyas

Welcome to Chachapoyas!
Welcome to Chachapoyas!

Welcome to Jaen in the Cajamarca region of Peru. At the airport, meet your private driver and transfer to the Amazonas region. Pass through Andean valleys, crossing the Marañón River and enjoying an impressive and scenic landscape filled with rice plantations and coconut trees.  

Continue through the canyon on the roadside of the River Utcubamba before arriving in Chachapoyas. Tour the accommodations and enjoy the night at your leisure.

Day 2: Visit the Mausoleums of Revash and the Museum of Leymebamba

Mausoleum of Revash
Mausoleums of Revash

After breakfast, transfer about 1 hour to the district of San Bartolo. Embark on a  short hike for 30 minutes. Then, visit the Mausoleums of Revash. See the Chachapoya funeral tombs, which are situated on a multi-level mountainous cliff decorated with carved houses and symbols like the Andean cross.

Next, transfer to the district of Leymebamba, about 1 hour away, and enjoy lunch.  

Then, visit the Museum Mallqui to see a collection of 219 preserved mummies in perfect condition, along with archaeological highlights of the Chachapoya culture including fabrics, ceramics, wooden statues, and a quipus (Incan strings) exposition. 

Following the active day, return to the hotel for dinner and then enjoy the evening at your leisure. 

Day 3: Explore Kuélap's archaeological ruins

Remnants of round houses in Kuélap
Remnants of round houses in Kuélap

After an early breakfast, depart for the archaeological ruins of Kuélap, the fortress of the Chachapoyas, known as the "Warriors of the Clouds."

First, drive for 1 hour south to reach Kuélap and then board a cable car for a 20-minute journey to La Malca, the starting point for your visit. Upon entering La Malca, there's an easy, 1-mile walk, which takes about 30 minutes. 

From here, a local guide will teach you about this fortified city, which stands 9,800 feet above sea level. Humans have lived in the area of Kuélap since the 5th century CE, but most of the structures were built between the 10th and 12th centuries CE (the fortress walls were discovered in 1843).

In total, Kuélap is made up of around 550 structures, all of which are circular, except for five. Make sure to check out notable sites, such as Major Temple and El Torreón. Many of the buildings still contain friezes that represent the deities of the Chachapoyas civilization.

The tour will last about 2-3 hours, followed by lunch in a local restaurant. From here, return to La Malca, by foot, and then transfer back to Chachapoyas, by car, for the evening.

Day 4: Scenic hike to Gocta Waterfall

Lush foliage surrounding the Gocta Waterfall
Lush foliage surrounding the Gocta Waterfall

Today is an active one, so make sure to enjoy a hearty breakfast before leaving for Cocachimba, the starting point of your hike to the Gocta Waterfall.

Gocta is one of the highest waterfalls in the world, standing at 2,500 feet. Although this waterfall was known to the local community for centuries, it wasn’t until 2002 that the world caught wind of it after a German expedition publicized its location. The surrounding communities had kept the waterfall a secret based on a local legend that a mermaid protecting its waters would curse those who revealed its whereabouts.

The hike will take you through a beautiful setting to experience the lush, abundant vegetation that creates this cloud forest. Along the way, spot local flora and fauna, such as spatuletail hummingbirds and gallito de las rocas (the national bird of Peru), as well as orchids and bromeliads.

Note that the higher altitude of this waterfall makes it a more challenging hike, which takes about 6 hours, total. For an alternate way of visiting Gocta, you can travel by horseback. Keep in mind that the last mile of the journey will have to be done on foot since there is no path suitable for horses; this portion takes 45 minutes each way.

After immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Gocta, return to Chachapoyas for the evening.

Day 5: Fly to Lima and depart from Peru

Goodbye, Peru!
Goodbye, Peru!

It's time to say goodbye to Peru. At the designated time, a driver will transfer you to the Jaen Airport, where you will catch your flight back to Lima. From here, catch your international flight back home or to your next destination. ¡Buen Viaje!

Map

Map of Northern Peru: Kuélap Ruins, Gocta Waterfall, Museums, & Mausoleums - 5 Days
Map of Northern Peru: Kuélap Ruins, Gocta Waterfall, Museums, & Mausoleums - 5 Days