Best of Chachapoyas

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Chachapoyas
Tucked in a remote corner of the Andes, the small city of Chachapoyas is the gateway to off-the-beaten-path adventures in northern Peru. Once home to the ancient Sachapuyu people, the region hides the stunning archaeological wonder of Kuélap, a pre-Inca citadel ringed by mountains that attracts a mere fraction of the visitors of Machu Picchu. Further north, the Andes meet the Amazon amid the towering Catarata de Gocta, the highest waterfall in Peru. 

Chachapoyas has many wondrous, but little-known attractions. Previous kimkim travelers have made the journey to see the Sarcophagi of Karajia, elaborate 15th-century funerary monuments secreted in a dramatic mountain valley. The mirror-like waters of the Lake of the Condors sets the stage for memorable walks amid some of Peru’s most stunning scenery. There are also unparalleled wildlife watching opportunities in the Amazilia Bioreserve and the Milpuj Private Reserve.
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Kuélap ruins
Map of Northern Peru: Kuélap Ruins, Gocta Waterfall, Museums, & Mausoleums - 5 Days
Northern Peru: Kuélap Ruins, Gocta Waterfall, Museums, & Mausoleums - 5 Days

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.

A mountain road in Leymebamba
Map of Archaeological Tour of Northern Peru: Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, & Chiclayo - 8 Days
Archaeological Tour of Northern Peru: Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, & Chiclayo - 8 Days

In just over one week, explore the best of Northern Peru. Begin in Cajamarca and head to the archaeological site of Cumbemayo, then explore a pre-Incan cemetery. Next, drive to Leymebamba, take a woodworking class, and visit a museum that houses 200 mummies, followed by a visit to the Mausoleums of Revash. Tour the Kuélap ruins, check out the Sarcophagi of Karajia funeral statues, explore the Amazonas region of Chiclayo, and more.

Gocta Falls
Northern Peru, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain - 10 days

On this 10-day journey, you will truly get to see the very best of Northern and Andean Peru. In the north, you will be based in Chachapoyas for trips to one of the world's mightiest waterfalls, Gocta Falls, and the amazing pre-Inca fortress of Kuélap. You will then begin discovering the Andean Inca heartland of Peru, seeing magical Sacred Valley ruins such as those at Moray, Pisac and Ollantaytambo before exploring the regional highlight, Machu Picchu. The trip ends with a trek to one of Peru's geological highlights, Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain.

Inca fortress with terraces and temple hill in Ollantaytambo, Peru
Map of Ancient Peru: Huacas de Moche, El Brujo, Túcume, Kuélap & The Sacred Valley - 15 days
Ancient Peru: Huacas de Moche, El Brujo, Túcume, Kuélap & The Sacred Valley - 15 days

Peru is famous for the ruins of Machu Picchu to the south, but the lesser-known pre-Inca sites across the country are just as impressive. This 15-day itinerary brings you up close to some of the largest and oldest sites, like the sprawling city Chan Chan, the mysterious Moray terraces, and the imposing Kuélap fortress, as you travel from arid desert to misty cloud forest.

Cumbemayo Cajamarca
Map of Discover Northern Peru: Lima, Trujillo, Chiclayo & Chachapoyas - 10 Days
Discover Northern Peru: Lima, Trujillo, Chiclayo & Chachapoyas - 10 Days

Go off the beaten path in northern Peru to discover some of the country's most incredible archaeological sites. Besides touring pre-Columbian temples and pyramids, you'll also visit Indigenous and Spanish-colonial landmarks in cities like Cajamarca. As a bonus, you'll hike up to one of the country's most beautiful waterfalls, tour "Machu Picchu of the North," and visit an actual mummy museum.

Remnants of round houses in an archeological site called Kuelap
Northern Peru Cultural Tour - 8 Days

This 8-day tour is perfect for history buffs with a sense of adventure. Starting from the desert coast, make your way to where the Andes meets the Amazon, stopping to see some of Peru's best archaeology sites. Here you will find the impressive ruins of Kuélap (the Macchu Picchu of the north), the incredible sarcophagi of Karajia, painted mummies in Leymebamba, and a spectacular waterfall. Back to the coast, pay a visit to a museum with elaborate artifacts from the Moche civilization.

Citadel of Kuelap ruins
Ancient Cultures of Northern Peru: Cajamarca, Leymebamba, Trujillo & Lima - 15 Days

Explore the history of the pre-Inca civilizations that inhabited northern Peru on this thrilling 15-day tour. You will start in Lima, the coastal capital. Enjoy a cosmopolitan experience before heading north to Cajamarca to see temples and ancient graves. From here, you'll drive to the Amazonas region to visit mausoleums, mummies, and the ruins of Kuelap. Then, you'll drive to the coast for more archaeological excursions, including Caral, the oldest civilization in the American continent.

Explore the wonders of Machu Picchu and other ancient sites in Peru
Map of Peru's Ancient Civilizations & Rituals: Trujillo, Kuélap & Cusco - 15 Days
Peru's Ancient Civilizations & Rituals: Trujillo, Kuélap & Cusco - 15 Days

Traveling by car, plane, train, and foot, you'll experience Peru's ancient civilizations and customs on this active cultural adventure. Soak up the vibrant energy of cosmopolitan Lima and explore the former Inca capital, Cusco, then learn about the rituals of ancient civilizations at El Brujo. In Chachapoyas, see the mysterious Karajia Sarcophagi and learn about Peru's pyramids and engineering feats at the Royal Tombs museum. Hike to a hidden waterfall at Gocta, sleep under the stars at Waqrapukara, and stand in awe at Machu Picchu.

Catarata de Gocta is one of the highest waterfalls in the world
Best of Lima & Northern Peru - 13 Days

Steeped in history, this fascinating tour covers the most important archaeological sites of Northern Peru. Start the adventure with a few days to explore the capital of Lima. From here, fly north to Chiclayo and begin an epic road trip—by private transfer—visiting exceptional pre-Incan museums, complexes, and ruins. Over 13 days, you'll see a range of landscapes, like coastal deserts, Andean mountains, and a portion of the Amazon jungle, culminating with a hike to one of the world's highest waterfalls.

Other popular travel destinations in Peru
Sacred Valley · Lima · Cusco · Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu · Machu Picchu · The Amazon · Southern Peru · Puno · Northern Peru · Arequipa & Colca Canyon · Paracas · Arequipa · Inca Trail · Trujillo · Iquitos · Colca Canyon · Tambopata · Nazca · Chiclayo · Ica · Ausangate Trek · Mancora · Ayacucho