JUNGLE GATEWAY: Accessing Peru's sacred archaeological sites

We know Lima, we know Cusco, and we know Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, so let’s talk about the Amazon.

We know Lima, we know Cusco, and we know Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, so let’s talk about the Amazon.

Greatly feared by foreigners, the Amazon Region is one of the biggest pillars of culture in Peru and something they take great pride in.

In northern Peru, there is a little town with a catchy name of Chachapoyas that is located half in the jungle and half in the highlands where Peruvian culture and beauty is among the richest you’ll find. Surrounded by cloud forest and titled the capital of the Amazon Region, Chachapoyas is a gateway to sacred archaeological sites such as Kuelap as well as Gocta Waterfall where you’re right smack in the middle of the jungle.

What makes this town so special is the purity in which visitors can experience the wonders of the pre-Inca era. Isolated from other regions in Peru, Chachapoyas is slowly but surely growing into an attraction for those who are curious, adventurous, and are looking to steer away from the common trek. It is said that some places in Chachapoyas will be the next Machu Picchu.

Here are a few places and experiences that are a must when visiting this beautiful, exotic part of the world.

 

KUELAP

680x400_Kuelap-Fortress_credit-Cesar-Vallejos

Credit: Cesar Vallejos / PromPeru

Built by the Chachapoyas people in the 6th century, Kuelap is a walled settlement located in the mountains in the Amazonian Region.

It is a valued spot because there are ruins everywhere on top of mountains to give you some incredible views.

The Chachapoyas people wanted to get as close as possible to the sky for religious purposes so they positioned their fortress’ nice and high making the climb up to the structures worthwhile. The Chachapoyas also valued living with their dead so as you walk around the archaeological sites, mummies of the deceased are buried beneath you.

 

REVASH

680_400_Revash-Complex_credit-Renzo-Tasso

Credit: Renzo Tasso / PromPeru

Speaking of the dead, 60 kilometres from Chachapoyas is Revash, a funerary complex located at an altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level.

These tombs are all stacked together to form what seems like little villages of the dead. They were thought to be used to bury the prestigious and powerful people from the tribe.

It may seem morbid and eerie to think about, however, the Chachapoyas considered their dead extremely sacred and this is an extremely authentic site to see.

 

KARAJIA

680_400_Karajia-Sacrcofagos_credit-Flor-Ruiz

Credit: Flor Ruiz / PromPeru

In the other direction 48 kilometres from Chachapoyas is this sensational archaeological site in the Utcubamba Valley.

Eight mummies were discovered here along the cliffs of Luya Province. These eight mummies were considered to be the “ancient wise men.” Although one was destroyed and now there are only 7 statues, you can still go see these remarkable figures that the Chachapoyas left behind.

It is the few artefacts like these that connect us with ancient tribes and bring us knowledge and insight into the lives of people from centuries ago.

 

IQUITOS

KARRYON_PERU_680_400_Delfin-II-rainbow

Delfin II / PromPeru

All right, enough mummy talk. Many people who travel to the Amazon want to be as culturally immersed as possible and thanks to tour companies like Delfin Cruises, this can actually happen.

Deeper into the jungle and away from Chachapoyas is Iquitos where Delfin River Cruises offer experiences you will never forget.

There are various cruises and different spots and activities and one of these consist of visiting a local community.

The people that have inhabited the Amazon Basin for thousands of years are very well accustomed to living in the rainforest and working most commonly as fishers, hunters, gatherers, and in agriculture.

Tour companies like Delfin help promote the preservation of these communities and give travellers an insight into what life looks like here and how they can properly respect these areas.

For more Amazon experiences in Peru, visit https://www.peru.travel