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Peru - Chachapoyas (an unmissable corner of Peru!)

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Back on our first overnight bus in a couple of months and we swung into Chachapoyas in the middle of a festival! Locals were lining the road of the main square with a carpet of dyed sawdust creating elaborate pictures...all to be stamped over a few hours later by a large procession for the Virgin Mary. We managed to find a great bakery with coffee (Cafe San Jose) to wake ourselves up before we spent the day exploring the cute colonial style village. Not only were there celebrations for the Virgin Mary but also a carnival, so we couldn't resist taking a ride on the ferris wheel as the sun went down and digging our teeth into some 'toffee grapes'...the Peruvian version of a toffee apple..tasty! We stayed at the nice Hostal Rumi Wasi, just off the plaza which was recommended by some friends.

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The next three days were full of some of the most fantastic things we've seen during our time in Peru. We started off with the Kuelap ruins, built between 400A.D. and 1400A.D. modified by each indigenous settlement inhabiting them. A giant outer wall surrounds the ruins which are perched on a hilltop protrusion, surrounded by spectacular lush green hills, not far off Machu Picchu but minus the hoardes of tourists! As Kuelap was more recently discovered and not as well known, there has been little reconstrucion and remains a very rustic site, with a lot of the ruins sitting amoungst trees and undergrowth. We then took a 3hr walk down 1000m to a small village where we got to take in some of the spectacular scenery and met the bus on it's way back to Chachapoyas.

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The next day we headed to Huancas only 20mins away from Chachapoyas and were absolutely amazed to find a giant canyon just on the edge of the town! Canyon del Sonche wasn't mentioned in any guidebooks, or even in the info brochures we were given, the tourist information guy just happened to mention it as we were on our way out of the door. If this was anywhere else in the world it'd be a giant tourist attraction! We took in the stunning view from the lookout tower and paths around the top, where you can see all the way down (about 1000m) to a river running through the base of the canyon.

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Discovered by the outside world in 2006 where it was rated as the worlds third tallest waterfall, Gocta couldn't be missed while we were in this magical corner of Peru. Dropped of by the bus on the side of the road, we soon realised we were stranded no where near the start of the 5 hour walk! We madly waved at the only vehicle we'd seen coming up the dirt track, which turned out to be a private van belonging to a big family, who we ended up hanging out with for the day. Gocta Waterfall was breath taking and the walk into the base was beautiful, winding through farm settlements then down into lush undergrowth. It's hard to describe the magnitude of the 771m of water falling down a cliff face, and the stunning jagged green hills surrounding. Dropped back at our door by our adopted family, the day was complete after dinner at Polleria Mayrita for a massive plate of tasty chicken, chips and salad...a welcome change to rice!

Hardly touched by tourists, Chachapoyas is a must see if you head to Peru!

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Check out the small red blur in the image on the right, it's Paul!

Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Peru

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