Travelers have their heads literally in the clouds when visiting the walled jungle fortress Kuélap in the northern highlands of Peru, the gateway to the Amazonas region. Overlooking the lush Utcubamba Valley, situated at 3000m (9842ft) above sea level, this remote pre-Inca site is spread over 15 acres, making it one of the largest stone ruins in the Americas. Built by the indigenous Chachapoyas, Kuélap includes over 400 circular buildings (many well-preserved) that can be reached by foot or cable car.
Dubbed the “Machu Picchu of the North”, this lofty piece of history has yet to become a major tourism draw as the location is slightly off-the-beaten-path. The spectacular history and views of the cloud forest are reason enough however to take on the adventure of getting there.
Kuélap was built by the Chachapoyas people (meaning “Cloud Warriors”) as early as the 7th century, a challenge that would continue on for at least another 400 years. The finished result is a near-mile-long stone complex divided into three sections, surrounded by walls (some reaching over 18m/60ft high) and with three narrow entrance points that would have forced intruders to slow down and enter in single file. Kuélap played witness to the flourishing Chachapoya culture and its purpose likely evolved with the years – fortress, refuge, strategic defense point and high-altitude city are among the site’s likely roles.
The fortress sector, the best known of the complex, is located on the highest part of the rock formation, with a length of almost 600 meters and an average width of 110 meters. A perimeter wall, slightly inclined towards the interior, with a height that reaches 20 meters, encloses the entire sector, mainly on the east, north and south sides. To the west, the perimeter wall is not projected, because the cliff limits access. In the interior fill of the perimeter wall, more than 100 burials have been recorded, so it has been considered that said perimeter wall was a cemetery site. The perimeter wall has two entrances located on the east side, one being the main entrance, through which only one person passes at a time.
Within the Andean country, there are infinities of natural attractions to marvel at, from canyons to archaeological ruins and much more. Thanks to its wide variety of destinations, you will be able to appreciate the Andean country from countless perspectives, all with their unique tones and particular stories. Among those attractions, within the Peruvian north, you can enjoy one of the highest waterfalls in the world, a breathtaking place where the Amazon Rainforest meets the Andes Mountains. This 2,530-foot (771 m) waterfall has just two drops, and the powerful free-fall from the second drop is among the tallest in the world.
The Gocta waterfalls, sits in the Amazonas department of Peru near the city of Chachapoyas. Flowing into the Cocahuayco River, the Gocta Waterfall is in full view from nearby villages a visual spectacle where you can enjoy hiking trails and a series of dreamy landscapes, and has been for centuries. However, the world didn’t know it existed until 2002 when German researcher Stefan Ziemendorff and a group of locals took an expedition to the waterfall. Following their visit and subsequent pressure on the government, the waterfall was finally measured in 2006. Since then, thousands of domestic and international tourists visit each year.
If you are planning a trip to Peru, you cannot miss one of its most emblematic waterfalls. To get there, it is necessary to walk along trails that go through cloud forests and large green fields. It is one of the most incredible attractions in northern Peru, where you can enjoy one of the most amazing natural spectacles. You can also experience the numerous wildlife that inhabits the surroundings. If you are looking to explore the corners of this majestic country, this is one of its most remarkable places. There are several ways to get there, so the path will depend on how you would like to visit the place. If you are looking to enjoy vacations in Peru, we recommend visiting them during the rainy season. In rainy seasons, you can see up to 22 different waterfalls along the way, making it a great time to go.