A land of dramatic Andean landscapes and deserted pre-Inca ruins and mausoleums, yet still relatively unknown to overseas visitors.
Stretching from the city of Chiclayo on the coastal plain across to the Amazonas region which is located on the Amazon rainforest side of the Andes watershed, North Peru encompasses an enormous variety of climate zones and countryside, but perhaps most importantly, contains the widest variety of Inca and pre-Inca ruins and remains outside the Sacred Valley.
So why is this area not more frequented by international visitors? The simple answer is that until very recently the interior region has been difficult to reach. Most flights from Lima are to Chiclayo on the coastal plain. But from Chiclayo, it has always been a long eight or nine our drive to get up to Chachapoyas in the mountains, where some of the most interesting archaeological remains are located.
This has now changed with the opening of a new airport at Jaen, a 3 hour transfer away from the Gocta Waterfall, where there are now two comfortable lodges which make an ideal base to explore the region. The Gocta Waterfall lays claim to be one of the three highest waterfalls in the world, and as you might expect, is an area of impressive scenery with some good treks.
From here visitors can drive to the village on Tingo Nuevo and take the new cable car up to the Chachapoyan ruins at Kuelap, the largest stone built structure in South America, Where we made this short video. The 20 minute cable car ride and the ruins of over 400 circular houses inside a stone walled fortress are both a wonder! Add to this a visit to the strange and amazingly uncrowded ‘standing’ sarcophagi in the rock face at Karajia and the mausoleums at Revash, rounded off by a visit to see the rescued mummies (only discovered in 1997) in the museum at Leymebamba, visitors will have had an amazing introduction to the Chachapoyan pre-Inca civilisation.
As well as the two lodges mentioned above, there is now a charming privately owned lodge close to Leymebamba offering a third wonderful place to stay. Having recently visited Chachapoyas, we firmly believe that this area will become an important destination in Peru and some people are already referring to Kuelap as the ‘second Machu Picchu’.
Elsewhere, the Chimú site at Túcume is close to Chiclayo, where the 26 adobe pyramids are remarkably well preserved due to the lack of rain. And the cities of Trujillo and Cajamarca contain attractive architecture from the colonial period. We would recommend a visit to this area before it gets discovered by the crowds
To discover more about Peru’s northern beaches, give us a call or send us a message.
Places we love to stay
Surrounded by humming birds, agapanthus and red hot pokers, this five bedroom lodge is a charming and relaxing place to stay.View details about Kentitambo
Occupying an unrivalled position with views of the Gocta Waterfall from all bedrooms. View detailsView details about Gocta Lodge
A charming new Eco lodge comprising five stand-alone rooms or casitas, set in wooded grounds opposite the Gocta Waterfall.View details about Gocta Natura