And here we are now in Peru for new adventures. Peru, we will visit in two times: the first part during a minus along the coast, the second in the center after visiting Ecuador.
- Day 108 – Wednesday 17th of April 2019 : Direction Peru
- Day 109 – Thursday 18th of April 2019 : Nazca
- Day 110 – Friday 19th of April 2019 : Nazca from the sky
- Day 111 – Saturday 20th of April 2019 : Mummies
The night bus was super uncomfortable and the driver was driving like he was acting in Fast & Furious on the road. However, we arrived early in Arica. From the bus you could see the city, which appeared sad. Did not make people want to stay there for a while.
We arrive at the national terminal and rush to the international which is five minutes walk. We get caught in all directions. A lady asks us if we want to go to Peru and luckily she still has places in her bus that leaves in 5min. She takes our passports and records us and we get on the bus which is full.
Everyone has a bus ticket, except us of course. It was necessary to take one in another office but the controller tells us that it does not matter; we will pay the lady directly on the bus five minutes later.
There are many Chileans who go to Peru for shopping because it is much cheaper (I asked the lady next to me). It’s cool because there is a lady dressed in a traditional way with her dress, her waistcoat, her braids and her bowler hat. Quentin discovers Peru in the first five minutes of the stroke!
The trip will last two hours but we will stop at customs. Here they are smarter: the Chilean customs and the Peruvian customs are in the same office so we are stamped at the same time the exit of the country and entry to Peru. We are only four tourists. The customs officers ask Quentin to pronounce his name because he is not too much like his new beard! And we are congratulated for our engagement (it’s not in France that customs officers would do that).
We arrive at Tacna, it’s as sad as Arice from the bus. There are small houses that look like slums. It can be seen in the distance that the city begins to spread over the mountains.
The bus terminal is very boring … we change our last Chilean and Bolivian pesos and then we decide to go for a walk (because the boredom wins us and we have 6 hours to wait).
We’re going to the city. We make a mistake but we find our way quickly … It falls on a huge cathedral, not ugly, in the main square. We are looking for a place to buy a local SIM card and eat. You will find a small quiet restaurant and you will taste Inka Cola (neon yellow and ultra sweet, I had forgotten the taste!). For dessert we will be entitled to jelly … it was not good braiment but they seem to like it a lot here.
There is a market in which they sell everything. It will be a moment because Quentin wanted a coffee and suddenly I will take a juice (1L of fresh fruits juice to be exact). It is a typical Peruvian market: you can sit there for a drink or eat, there are vendors of everything (clothes, household products, fruits and vegetables, meat …).
We go back to the terminal and then hill out while waiting for the bus. Thirty minutes before the departure we get our things that we had put in the deposit, we go to the toilet (which are unfreezing) and when arriving at the departure terminal the guy tells us he bring us the luggage next door, the suddenly we rush (he weighs the baggage !!! Fortunately we have less than 20 kilos … we are not far) then we go back to see him and there he tells us that we need a boarding ticket (which n is not our bus ticket but a kind of ticket with taxes) … so we rush again because the bus must leave. We come back with everything and we wait with the others. There it becomes interesting: we are taken in photos, we are searched, controlled more than at the airport (Quentin almost said goodbye to his great knife), there is a hostess on the bus, we have TVs, pillows and blankets, as well as evening meals and breakfast. It’s like a plane but more comfortable!
We finally embark and leave. We are all excited with the screens without that miserable my bug (it does not surprise me …). Quentin will spend the night watching movies and playing and I will only watch one and then I will flip at every turn.
Wake up around 6am in the bus for me. Quentin is still sleeping. We drive along the coast of Peru, we see the sun rise over the ocean. The mist mixes with the foam and the sky is pink; it looks nice.
Quentin wakes up and I go back to sleep … then around 8am we are brought a breakfast.
The road is deserted (literally). We no longer see the ocean but only dunes and nothing in fact. At times small villages (very small).
We arrive in Nazca … seen from the bus it does not want to stay there! It looks sad.
We get off the bus and there we are joking in all directions for tours by plane and excursions. We pass the agency with which we must fly tomorrow morning and we take turns to see the other things we were interested in (that I could negotiate!).
We go to the hostel. It is run by a nice little family but with very noisy children … There is a lot of French. We are lucky our room is available immediately so we move.
Around 16h the driver guide picks us. We will see the Nazca aqueducts, an Inca administrative site (a kind of customs) and a point of view to see lines. It’s great to see how they manage their lack of water in their area (it only rains 30 minutes a year here, and they are only a few drops!). They have the obligation to use the water about two hours a day … something impossible in Europe! We will see the lines but we are not high enough so it’s not super interesting visually, but at least we see closely how they did (they removed the stones where they want to do their drawing, which allowed to appear a lighter area on the ground, visible from the sky). The monument is super nice, plus it’s sunset so the colors are very beautiful. Once the visits are over we go to the hotel where the planetarium is located. Luxury hotel where will have stayed Maria Reiche, the German who has spent her life restoring, protecting and trying to understand the why and how of the lines? We will not learn anything special about the why of how because it is still a mystery but it was still interesting to see the hypotheses presented by scientists.
After that we go back to bed.
This morning we go on a plane ride to see the lines at sunrise. The Aeroparacas van picks us up at 5:45. We will take several passengers including 6 other French!
Once at the airport we realize that it’s a big business; there are at least fifteen different agencies! We give our passports, go through the controls and then get on the small plane. We are lucky, there is no wind and it is good so we will have no turbulence. We are divided by weight and luckily I am the thinnest 😀 So I’ll be alone at the back of the plane with two seats and two windows; Quentin will be in front of me.
You can see the mountains in the distance, the cactus fields, the little houses, the desert and after five minutes the famous lines. It’s impressive ! How did they manage to be so precise! The pilot and his co-pilot make us turn around the drawings formed by the lines warning us when they will appear. We will see the best known (spider, monkey, hummingbird …). The flight went really well, we really loved it!
We are too tired once we get back we will take a big nap. Quentin is having trouble waking up … around 1:30 pm I’m getting a bit hungry so I wake him up. He is still in the shoe. We eat fast and then at 2 pm the driver picks us up. This afternoon we have a buggy tour and we will see some archeological sites. We get people and then we go to the famous buggy. It’s a funny car mastoque without shell.
During the visit we will see other aqueducts, pyramids that served as a place of worship (where people were sacrificed for the Gods …), then we will also see a cemetery, at least what remains because it was looted and all the bones are spread in all directions everywhere (it’s pretty awful). At the end of the day we head for the dunes, it’s great fun, the driver is dark, it’s like an amusement park! They brought surf boards to sit sandboard (pretty boring …). On the return the driver will make us scream on the sand dunes then we will make the road to return to the starting point and return to the hotel. We ask the driver to drop us at the supermarket because we have nothing to eat. Lack of luck it is closed coup Quentin offers to go to the restaurant. We will go to one of which spoke a girl whose blog we love. Good pick, great Peruvian dishes! Although a bit expensive (8 euros the dish … everything is relative I know well but we will not do that every day) we enjoy and we are super happy to begin to discover the many Peruvian specialties (I refer you to the foodporn section of the blog in the EXPLORER tab). After this meal too rich, we go back to bed.
This martin we chill out, we take our time. Around noon we go to visit a museum. They give a lot of explanations about what we saw already so it’s ok but we can see many potteries.
After that we go back to eat at the hostel. A little later the guide comes. If we search, we will visit a cemetery with mummies. It is 30km from the city. There is a young German with us. The guide does not speak English very well so he repeats many times the same things without really answering questions. The site is very creepy … tombs in the open, with the center of mummies (women, men, children). They were looted because they had to contain precious objects and some parts of the bodies were displaced, damaged … in short it is weird. We feel a bit uncomfortable. But hey is still very interesting to see mummies still perfectly well preserved and outdoors!
After that, the driver stops at what he calls the pottery museum … it’s actually one of his girlfriends who makes pottery and tries to sell it to tourists. On the other hand we could take in hand very old objects (which should be in museums).
We will end the evening shopping, looking for a van for Australia and eating.
- Day112 – Sunday 21st of April 2019 : Bus
- Day 113 – Monday 22nd of April 2019 : Lima
- Day 114 – Tuesday 23rd of April 2019 : Historical center
- Day 115 – Wednesday 24th of April 2019
is the return of the long weekend of Easter for the Peruvians. So we will put almost 9h. We will have seen the coast, which was nice but good, too much bus kills the bus.
We arrive in Lima, our host Wendy sends us a taxi to pick us up because it’s super far (the city is huge). It’s hot but wet here so it’s not very nice.
We arrive at Wendy’s, she is very friendly. We will only see her for thirty minutes as she goes to Trujillo (our next destination). The room is nice and clean. After a good shower, we spend our time making reservations and trying to manage small problems with the van in Australia and bookings. We must find the motivation deep within ourselves to eat and shop for breakfast. Big day of madness in perspective!
And here we go for a big day in the Peruvian capital. The distances are very long but we decided to do the biggest part walking, because yesterday it was a little cracked food level (a lot of sugar (popcorn for me) and fat (picarones (big donuts made with sweet potato and pumpkin; followed by a big dish of fried chicken and fried rice) … but it was good!).
The first stop will be a visit to an old pre-Columbian pyramidal site. This former administrative and religious center is in the middle of the city center. We did a guided tour, it was great fun. After this visit we decided to return to the Kennedy Park where we were last night to see if they had rice pudding or other local sweet treats … but unfortunately the street food is just at night! So we continue our walk to a restaurant that we had spotted in a blog (always the same blog by the way, we do almost everything the girl has noted in it, especially for the food!). It is a restaurant where you can eat specialties with fish. After an hour walking we get there; it does not look great but the food was fantastic! On the other hand we ate too much, we have trouble digesting.
We continue the walk, through lots of small streets at random. We are heading towards the coast. They call this zone the malecon. It runs along the ocean, you can see people surfing. There is a lighthouse to see and a park reminiscent of Gaudi’s style in Barcelona. We walk for hours, we stroll and we go to another area even further. Neighborhood Barranco. It’s kind of hipster. There are lots of pretty abandoned buildings, hipster shops, street art, some nice cafes. We will eat an ice cream and then at the end of the day we decide to take an Uber to go see a museum.
After thirty minutes of Uber we arrive in this museum which is a private collection of a former archaeologist collector, Raphael Larco Hoyle. We arrive, we open the door of the taxi and the big gate. The entrance is beautiful, there are flowers everywhere, it’s sublime. We climb the slope, more and more flowers, varieties that we have never seen, giant cactus trees, it’s too beautiful! The museum is by far one of the most interesting that I have had the chance to visit. I think we read everything that could be read, we will stay there for three hours until we are exhausted. We learn a lot about Peruvian cultures, their rites, their art. There is even a section dedicated to eroticism and sexuality, it’s super funny. The collector even had the sympathy of opening to the public his reserve of coins which were not exposed; thousands and thousands of pre-Columbian pottery.
After this wonderful visit, we can do more. We decide to take an uber to go back (it’s super far) and we will be too lazy to go out to eat. We will watch an episode of Dark, then sleep.
After a good sleep we have breakfast and then we start. Today still we will walk a lot I think. The purpose of the day is to go to the historic center. We pass in parks, we cross the highways, pass next to the football stadium. After a good hour we arrive at the Place of Arms. Lack of luck for us, the Thai president is visiting suddenly they put barriers everywhere! We must go around to go where we want and it makes us to do more kilometers.
The historic center is quite interesting architecturally speaking. We find this European influence on many buildings with wooden balconies but there are also large old buildings that recall Spain and France.
We will visit large churches with magnificent cloisters and a convent. The buildings are very beautiful. By the way we take a churro (donut stuffed with apple … not bad at all!). We will want to go to a restaurant spotted in a blog but it is super expensive! so we decide not to stay and we will eat for cheap not far (but not very good though). After walking for hours in the neighborhood we will not end the Chinatown and the central mercado. We will stay briefly in the central mercado because it does not smell the rose (fish, fruits and vegetables, meats and offal … yum). Chinatown without Chinese is weird, plus it’s a big weird. We will return in the middle of aprem, completely leached.
This morning we take our time, there is not much we would like to see. We have breakfast, we tidy up our things and then take an Uber to go to a town called Callao. It is a port just on the outskirts of Lima. We would like to go because there is street art, on the other hand it is a very dangerous place because it was (and it is probably still) a place where cocaine circulates. However in recent years, they try to change the neighborhood a bit with street art.
After 45 minutes from Uber we arrive. The murals are super beautiful. We begin to venture into a street, not far from the main square, and there a guy tells us not to go further because it’s dangerous! In broad daylight, two meters from the square! So basically we will visit only three or four streets with beautiful paintings, we will have a drink in a nice place then we will return to Lima.
Back in Lima we will visit the oldest house in the city, Casa de Aliaga. This is a beautiful house that the family still lives in (at least part of the family). It has been restored following a powerful earthquake. We have a guided tour. We enjoy, it’s really beautiful.
After that, as we pass the chocolate museum we decide to take a break … brownie for me and beer for Quentin, then we walk back to Airbnb. On the road, Quentin wants to take a churros like the one of yesterday (so I accompany him but it will finish mine brownie broke my bum).
We return quietly, the city is really polluted it is not very pleasant, in addition it is very wet. We are lucky because the nana of housing allows us to have the room until tonight, before taking the bus at 22h. So once back we prepare everything and we chill out before the night bus.
- Day 116 – Thursday 25th of April 2019 : Trujillo
- Day 117 – Friday 26th of April 2019 : Chan Chan
- Day 118 – Saturday 27th of April 2019 : Huaca de la Luna
After 10 hours of night bus we are finally in Trujillo. It is 8am and it is already noisy! People honk in every direction, cars drive super fast in the streets, people scream to attract you in their shops … oh Peru!
We decide to walk to the hostel with our bags. We are hot! Thirty minutes later we arrive. Our room is good but the problem is that there is no roof so we hear absolutely everything (woe to the one who will make noise … besides I quickly calmed a German who put his music super loud ).
We rest a few hours then we will visit the city a little. The central square and the alleys around are super pretty; colorful and original with their balconies in wood and metal.
We will eat at the central mercado, 2 euros the menu … I think we will struggle to do better! We buy pretty fruits and vegetables to make food and after strolling in the streets we go back to rest. It is dark a little before 18h here so there is no point in staying outside.
Not easy wake up this morning, we had a lot of noise at night … we sleep close to a nightclub …
We prepare quietly then we go to see the archaeological site of Chan Chan. Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the world and was built by the Chimus; it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
To go there you have to take a mini van. They all scream their destination so it was easy enough to find one going to Chan Chan. The driver rolls like crazy and his sidekick is in the back and shoots people screaming the destination. When someone wants to ride where only as soon as there is a person on the road the driver idled like a madman. Twenty minutes later we are laid in the middle of nowhere; we see a large sign that tells us Bienvenido suddenly we suspect that this is the right place. We will walk a kilometer before arriving at the entrance. On the road we will see parts of the site. We cannot wait to visit it because that’s why we came to Trujillo.
We arrive, we are offered to pay to have a guide. We accept because without guide it has no interest. We did well because we learned a lot of things, it was really nice to know what were the different rooms of the palace we visited and the different rituals around the king who was considered a God.
After the visit we walk half an hour to the Chan Chan Museum. It is not super interesting but we will see a great model of the city in the old days.
We take the mini van to go to the beach of Huanchaco. We read that it was nice. Well, it’s actually so. We will eat our sandwich and we will find (what a joy!) A small pastry 😀 So we will taste ice cream and rice pudding …
We take a mini van to return to Trujillo. We stop to see another archaeological site that is included in our marble: Huaca Esmeralda. It’s nice but less impressive at once. We discover the hairless dogs that culturally they like to have in archaeological sites.
We will return by walking and on the road I will make a mistake: I will cut my hair for 2.50 euros … the price was attractive but now I have a few centimeters less …
It is still early but we have nothing special to do so it will be rest at the hostel.
This morning we try to leave early because the bus to Chachapoyas leaves at 16h.
After breakfast we go to find a combivan to go to the archaeological site of Huaca de la Luna. This site was built by Moche culture (100 to 800 BC). Moche culture is based on political power associated with religion and resource management. The life of the Moches depends a lot on agriculture. In the Huacas de la Luna they found many tombs in which were preserved the human bodies of the people they sacrificed to stop the heavy rains caused by the El Nino phenomenon, and other bodies sacrificed for other regular climatic phenomena . The ritual of sacrifice was different depending on the case (but I will pass the details because it is not very ragoûtant …). They also celebrated in this temple the ritual of the coca leaf: the priest mixed the coca leaves with water and then chewed them in order to ensure the fertility of the people and to have enough water for them. cultures.
Arriving at the site we are told that there is a museum and that we can only visit Huaca with a guide. So it suits us well. The museum is really interesting, you still learn tons of things about a new Peruvian culture, even if most have similarities. We will also see beautiful pieces of pottery; Les Moches were famous for their pottery and sculpture skills. In the middle I fainted … no idea why (I did not drink water the day before and nothing either to the museum, it may be related). I managed to hide in a corner, Quentin had not even paid attention.
After the museum we go to the other end of the site for the guided tour. The site is beautiful. We see a new way of building the temples: one on the other. We can see remnants of paintings of their Gods and scenes of life. The site is imposing; we are even more satisfied with our stay in Trujillo!
After the visit we miss the combivan … and there are not many. So we start walking because there is no point waiting on the spot. A yellow SUV arrives, I try the stop; and by chance they stop (it’s a small family). They are happy to take us to the end of the road (it saves us an hour of unnecessary walking). We discuss ; they are asked questions about education in Peru (obviously they were not part of the poor class but rather the rich). They are super nice and we drop along the main road where we will take the combi that will take us back to Trujillo.
Once in town we look for the restaurant we had spotted but impossible to find. So we end up in a nice sandwich restaurant (it does not sell the dream because it’s our meal every lunch). After which we go to the hostel shower, close our stuff and take a taxi to the bus terminal which is super far. The taxi driver is very friendly, he is all excited that we go to Chachapoyas. Once at the terminal we will wait half an hour before taking the bus; we will have 14h bus and as usual I will not sleep because the driver will drive like crazy!
- Day 119 – Sunday 28th of April 2019 : Paradise
- Day 120 – Monday 29th of April 2019 : Adventurous day
- Day 121 – Tuesday 30th of April 2019 : Kuelap
- Day 122 – Wednesday 1st of May 2019 : Chachapoyas
- Day 123 – Thursday 2nd of May 2019 : Sarcófagos de Karajía
- Day 124 - Friday 3rd of May 2019 : Gocta
- Day 125 – Saturday 4th of May 2019 : Revash
- Day 126 – Sunday 5th of May 2019 : Canon del Sonche and rain
- Day 127 – Monday 6th of May 2019 : Yumbilla
We arrive at 6 am in Chachapoyas, super tired. It’s gray and fresh, it changes us!
Of course nothing is open suddenly we decide to go to the main square and wait for a coffee opens. Around 7:30 we will have breakfast (bof) in a coffee shop. We try to see what we can do. We should stay about 8 days here to discover the area they call Amazonas. We’ll see the tour agencies next to know how much they offer … it’s expensive. So we decided to find the tourist office but it is closed. A lady cop out of the building and confirms that it is closed (at the same time it is Sunday in a small town) against it offers us to help us. A friend of hers joins the discussion. We tell them what we would like to see and they tell us that everything is possible by bus. So we are very happy, we thank them and we go to find something to make sandwiches for three days at the estancia where we go to sleep and take the bus to go there. Lack of luck we will find only bread and tomatoes … bof blah the future lunch! We go to the bus terminal; it’s the bazaar, there are fifty agencies that offer to go everywhere but not all go exactly to the same place. We find a little all the information we wanted for the different places we would like to visit then we take the mini van to go to the estancia.
The road is very pretty, we walk along the river, we pass small villages and the mountains are very green. It rains on the other hand, that’s enough but it does not last long, it will turn into a drizzle. An hour later Quentin spotted the estancia; the combi drops us off.
The place is beautiful! It is well flowered and the buildings are superb. The girl shows us our beautiful room, it is simple but tastefully decorated and the stone floor makes the room warm. There are hammocks outside (by the way when I write Quentin sleeping in one of the hammocks with open mouth …). There are chickens in the garden (that’s against it will be relooked awake!) And a parrot! We settle down and we gossip. The girl comes to pick us up for the meal, as this afternoon is super good. We eat and sleep.
This morning we get up early because we would like to visit the archaeological site of Kuelap. We meet the owner and his wife going to have breakfast. We enjoy and then going back to our room we start talking with them and they tell us that Monday Kuelap is closed! Damn! So they give us new ideas of things to do; Oscar tells us that there is an Inca trail, but his wife tells him that no one has cleared it so we should not try to venture there. Too bad because it brought back to the estancia. They suggest we drop us where they told us to go: see the ruins of Macro. It is 1 hour walk but by car 10 minutes.
We are dropped in front of the river, we have to take a kind of bridge attached to a cable. We find how it works then we jump over the river! It’s super fun. We land in front of the house to which belongs the bridge, but it is not there. We begin to venture into a path full of pretty flowers that we have never seen before; so I spend an hour photographing them. Then we realize that this is not the right path so we turn around and we go the other way. Ditto, there are many beautiful flowers, trees and plants. The path climbs slowly but surely; it feels good in the legs, especially since it’s been a while since we did not hike. A dog follows us all the way. We have a beautiful view of the valley. We arrive at the ruins, it’s nice but we’re not sure if it’s good we go up again for an hour, the view is more and more beautiful. We meet an old man cut in his pee … We ask him if we are in the right place; he answers us, in Peruvian gibberish! We do not catch a word of what he tells us. He is allowed to speak and then throws a gracias back to him. We go back to the bridge and then we go to the village of Magdalena that Oscar had told us about.
We walk along the road, along the river. We still see more original flowers and cactus on the wall of the mountain. We see pretty birds too but they are too fast for us to photograph (if only I had my lumix !!! argh !!!). We arrive at the intersection that tells us the village. We start to follow the road that goes up, up, up! We have sore legs. We meet a granny who picks up plants to sell them, she’s all kind we talk a little with her. Then we continue, we finally arrive at the famous village of Magdalena. Yeah … blah. We are berthed by a lady who offers us to come for lunch for 3 soles (0.80 cents euros!) But we were not hungry at all (we broke down breakfast). We ask her if she has something to drink. She is really nice she offers us an orangeade. After this short break we start again. We would like to go to a reserve that we read that good on the blog of the girl we like. Quentin spotted a road on google maps … I feel the hic … we pass the church, we go up the street behind, then we follow the road for a good hour. The road that goes up of course. We meet a few people who work and then we will be alone. At some point you have the choice: go right on the new road not indicated by google, or go left on an old road in pseudo land indicated by google that would end on the way. Guess which road you choose! 😀 All rotten sure! We continue on this road ten minutes then there, more road. So we think we’re on the trail party google … path that disappears and leaves room for plants. We go down, we move forward (I feel it badly but Quentin does not want to turn back, yes he’s still the one who chose the road!) And he knows I’ll write this: D). We pass through bushes, we advance by seeing in the distance a kind of house that we think is the reserve. After a moment we say we have planted well; we cross the mountain but there is no way, it is 2:15 pm, the night falls around 17:30 … in short, it is the mierda. So Quentin suggests going forward and trying to come down because he thinks we will not find the exit by trying to go back where we come from. So he is trying to create a path and I am. We galley, I slip, we take branches … and as if that was not enough, the rain is coming! And lack of luck it will last well thirty minutes and fall to large drops. Quentin does not want to cover himself (it’s super hot so I understand it) it will end soaked and months even more dirty with my white t-shirt that becomes brown with the plants. We have “luck” we see Estancia! she is just down from us; but to get there is too much trouble because we find ourselves face to face with super dangerous ravines, suddenly we go back to try to find another passage that is invented. Quentin is too fed up and I do my best not to cry with panic (self control). We finally find a path! Yupi !!!! We are super happy, we decide to follow because it can not be worse than what we have already done. We go down, I pick myself up twice in the wet earth … we are super dirty and soaked. We are really lucky because the path leads us to the estancia! Arriving the owner welcomes us by wondering how we landed on this side of the house (back). We tell him everything, soaked, and me with my branches in the hair. Emme is getting tired. We are so relieved to have arrived! We are going to shower and we try to dry our hiking shoes that are really dirty. We will eat until dinner and then sleep; tomorrow we go to Kuelap!
After a good breakfast we go to visit the beautiful Kuelap site.
For the record, the Kuelap site was discovered in 1843 and has since been considered the most important and representative site of the Chachapoyas culture (still a pre-Inca culture!). This immured site was, until the 16th century (it was also used by the Incas) a very important religious center. The various investigations that took place on the site revealed that Kuelap was inhabited by the religious and political elite of the different peoples who lived there. Offerings and sacrifices were made in the enclosure of the monument. The Chachapoyas civilization will last from 500-1470 AD The site is located in an almost inaccessible area (over 2930 m altitude), in a sacred territory (sacred valley with mountains, rivers, forests, lagoons … ), the Incas who conquered Kuelap wished to preserve it and to respect it.
We will walk along the road and the river for a little over an hour to reach the village of Tingo. We will see on our way many fruit trees (lemons, mandarins, avocados, bananas …), beautiful flowers (wild orchids among others) and pretty birds of all colors (including hummingbirds). Once in Tingo we still have an hour and a half of climb to reach the village of Tingo. It is super hot and humid but nothing stops us. At one point Quentin is tempted to cut a little way, I make him understand that no, not today! and we did well because two minutes later a nice gentleman stops and takes us to the office to buy cable car tickets. This will save us 45 minutes! We see on arrival that they have the means to make the site accessible. Tingo nuevo it’s all clean, everything is alike. The ticket office offers an impressive view of the mountains and small villages (we can see the road we took yesterday … um … and where we should not have gone …). A bus takes us to the cable car. The Peruvians are very proud because it is their first cable car and the ride is superb! We pass right in the middle of the valley, above the Urubamba river. We see the trees from above it’s super pretty; in the distance the small villages and their cultures. We are with a Peruvian in the cabin; he comes from Chiclayo, a city where we decided to go to take the bus to Cuenca in Ecuador. He tells us that there are two great sites to visit and that we can do them in the day before taking the bus the evening of our arrival in Chiclayo for Cuenca. We are super happy, so we will try to do what he advised us. It’s funny to see people taking the cable car for the first time. In Europe it’s so much more common. He was not very reassured.
Twenty minutes of cable car later we have a “big” climb (in fact I’m exhausted and it is 2390m) to arrive at the entrance of the site. Lack of a bowl, there are plenty of tourists; they all came with towers. Quentin wants at all costs to let them go ahead but I would like to follow them to enjoy the guides. Finally Quentin will win because it is he who will have the camera! Men…
We cross the door of the wall to enter, we climb a staircase and there we arrive in the site. It’s super pretty; a rather mystical atmosphere reigns there because of clouds, mountains around, stone ruins full of plants and trees around. It is very beautiful. We will walk around for two hours. It’s really a nice place. It is a pity that tourists do not linger or go to the Amazonas region of Peru because it is really worth it!
After two hours we take the cable car. We will be alone in the cabin. Once downstairs we will see the guy holding the small information booth. We ask him for information about Chiclayo. He is super happy (we must be few to come see him since people usually come with an agency from Chachapoyas). He gives us lots of information and suddenly we ask him other things about what we will see. He takes out fifty cards, gives us the prices, the schedules, the durations of everything! Super effective! Whenever we say “we would like to go there”, he is very happy to explain to us how to go and what we will see there; So we are happy too!
On the return we will take small paths to please Quentin (it will shorten the journey of a good half hour or more). We continue the road until estancia.
Once back it will be shower, dinner, netflix and then sleep.
This morning we will visit the reserve of Milpuj. According to the girl we like the blog, it’s great, people are adorable and it’s very beautiful. It is less than thirty minutes from the estancia but Oscar and his wife told us they did not know (so they explained to the girl where it was).
We have lunch then we warn the owner that we go there and we will go on Chachapoyas after. Her husband is not there, she confesses they know the place because it is held by the mother and brother of Oscar! Beautiful discovery. There have been family stories that make Oscar no longer talk about the reserve. In short, we go there anyway.
We arrive there, people are a little surprised and taken aback because they are full of tourists. So we are offered to go for a walk in the grove … mouais … we go anyway but we get bored quickly. The place is pretty, they have pretty flowers but we expected something else and we are really disappointed. So we’re leaving.
Back to the estancia, the owner’s daughter makes us visit their church they built and other accommodations. Everything is really pretty! It is a pity to want to sell such a place; it’s really a little piece of paradise.
After the visit we take our things and we will wait for a combivan. Lack of luck, it starts to rain, so we finish soaked! but no choice we must stay to wait because there are not many. Forty-five minutes later he arrives !! We are very cold and we are all wet but at least we go to Chachapoyas.
The driver rolls like a sick person. We look at Quentin at every turn and every time we miss a car. An hour later we arrive in town, with nausea.
We go to the hostel which is very nice; we have a big room and we can cook! Perfect !
We will go for a walk in the city and then we will spend the whole evening planning Tahiti and the next days.
Let’s get up early this morning because we would like to visit the “Sarcófagos de Karajía”. To go there is quite complicated; you have to go to the bus terminal and wait until the combivan is complete to leave. Then he leaves us in the city of Luya (a little less than an hour later). From Luya we have to negotiate another transport to go to the Karajía site (40 minutes more).
We take our breakfast and then we go to the bus terminal. It is gray but it should not rain this morning (fingers crossed).
At the terminal we are not the only ones who want to take this combivan. We’ll wait forty minutes. I will discuss with a granny that I will understand half of the things but it’s nice anyway. A boy approaches us all perky and introduces himself. It will hit the incrust that’s for sure! His name is Kyle. He is American and speaks Spanish very well; he has been traveling to South America for months.
The van arrives and we are too much to want to climb suddenly the driver asks us to close the curtains in case there would be cops … We take the mountain road the day before; the horrible road! I feel nauseated and Quentin is not reassured. Kyle just talk! He does not stop for a second, this is funny.
Once in Luya we negotiate another driver to go to Sarcófagos de Karajía in the village of Cruzpata. Kyle will spend 45 minutes talking. There is a “feria” in Luya where people sell animals!
Once in the other village, we pay the entrance and we note in the register and then walk for half an hour to arrive in front of the sarcophagi. We see them from a distance because they are high but it is impressive. For the record, the sarcophagi of Karajía were made by the Chachapoyas culture (900-1470 AD). For them, the worship of the dead was of great importance, especially for those of higher hierarchy. Its leaders should enjoy an eternal rest, without any disturbance. This is why its inhabitants created Sarcófagos de Karajía. They are over 500 years old and are located in Luya District, Chachapoyas City, Department of Amazonas.
The sarcophagi of Karajía are tombs in the shape of a human figure and are a funerary tradition. They are located in rocks at a height of 400 meters, on a vertical rock wall and measure more than 2 and a half meters high. These burials were located in hard-to-reach places, such as caves, cliffs and steep slopes. The goal was that sarcophagi should never be visited and that mummified bodies could rest in peace for all eternity. The Chachapoyas had a tradition of protecting their dead from passing time, which is why sarcophagi are located in steep places and at the edge of precipices. Due to its location in the ravine of Karajía, there is no risk of vegetation growth or moisture formation around them. The “Purunmachos”, because of their anthropomorphic form, mainly consist of clay, ichu, straw and connected by a clay mortar. They were also decorated with layers of paint for the face and body in white smoke and ocher red.
Kyle announces that tomorrow he wants to change his plans and come and hike with us for 8 hours. Once on Cruzpata Square (this is only a place in fact), we are approached by a Peruvian who wants to discuss. It’s super nice, other people come to listen and laugh. It makes us pass the time until the next suit arrives.
The combi drops us off at Luya. We decide to go to the “feria” to see the cows and other animals waiting to be sold. We see a lot of old ladies dressed in a traditional way with their big hat. People are waiting with the animals, it’s quite interesting as a trick. We will see the market later. It’s great fun, everything makes you want. We take the opportunity to buy food for the next few days and we taste a purple pineapple too good! After the ride we return to Chachapoyas. We have a combi right away. As it is early we take the opportunity to rest because tomorrow we leave at 5:30 in the morning!
Brutal awakening at 4:45 this morning. We take the bus early to go for our big hike to Gocta Falls.
For the record, the Falls Gocta have a height of 771m and are among the highest in the world (you will be told that these are the third highest but it is not quite right). The falls have been known by the Peruvians of the region for a long time, but it is the visit of the German Stefan Ziemendorff in the region, in search of sarcophagi, which made them “famous” because he dared to venture there while the Peruvians were afraid of it. The Peruvians believed in the legend of the siren: one of the inhabitants had fallen in love with the siren of Gocta. This one offered him jewels which he kept in his pockets. One evening on his way home he forgot to empty his pockets and his wife noticed the beautiful jewels. She made nothing, then followed him to the waterfall and realized that her husband was much more in love with the mermaid than with her. It provoked in her an extreme rage and anger whose noise made the siren wince and fall into the waterfall, dragging her husband to the bottom of the water with her. We did not see the siren, only tourists and no one fell into the water;)
We have breakfast and we meet Kyle at the crossroads. It will take less time than expected to arrive at the village of San Pablo (the bus drops us in front of motorbikes taxis, we will take one to go to the village). We are supposed to pay 20 soles for hiking (it’s super expensive) but the office opens at 8am and it is 7am so tamps for them, we go!
The hike is super nice. We cross the forest. It rises harshly. We will arrive at a viewpoint with a view of the entire waterfall, too beautiful! then we will continue the road to go down the first fall. After a good shower we continue hiking in the forest to see the second waterfall (or second part of the waterfall). We must go down the road, which is not great because the ground is muddy and slippery. We take our time and an hour later we are down. We take full eyes, it’s so beautiful! the noise is deafening. We will have a good time watching the waterfall then we will turn back to go to Cocachimba, where we will take a van to return to the crossing to chopper a van for Chachapoyas. Kyle will manage to get us hitched up with a family in their car. He will talk nonstop all the way. The family is super nice, and absolutely wants to drop us downtown even if it’s not their way.
Once back we do some shopping, we say goodbye to Kyle (we do not know if we will see him again but in any case we want to be alone). We come back and relax. Tonight is a party night, I make pancakes!
After a good breakfast of crepes ( 😀 ) we go to the agency with which we will visit the archaeological site of Revash and the museum of Leymebamba.
Revash is a Chachapoyas funerary site in the form of a mausoleum on several floors embedded in the 14-15th century mountain. The Chachapoyas built this type of burial site for their high society dead. Many generations were embedded because they wanted all members of the same family to end up in their lives after death. Nowadays there is nothing inside, but the stories dating from 1930 relate that once they kept their dead mummified with all kinds of objects (gold, silver, ceramics etc). The term “Revash” comes from an old language but nobody knows the meaning. On the mausoleum we will notice motifs like the cross. At that time there was still no writing and in Andean society, people used symbols. The meaning is still a mystery but the cross could be a sign of orientation, such as the Andean cross (chacana) among the Incas. The colors chosen to paint the mausoleum were red, yellow and white, derived from minerals and stones. These colors were the colors used by the Chachapoyas.
So, we arrive at the agency that makes us poirote a little. It will take 2 hours to reach the village of San Bartolo. The road is superb, mountains, valleys, the river. We will pass Estancia Chillo that we enjoyed so much.
The village of San Bartolo is very pretty (small but cute). The houses are made of earth and all around the vegetation is green. We walk for “about minutes before discovering the beautiful mausoleums perched in the trees. Our guide Miguel explains the why and how of these mausoleums.
After admiring these tombs, we turn back and go to the village of Leymebamba which is almost an hour drive from Revash. The road is still beautiful. The village is cute, there is a beautiful church in the square. We have lunch in a restaurant on the square. We will be sympatizing with two Peruvians, Paula and Helmoud (German of origin). The meal was excellent ! But there was too much to eat! We will come out well filled and a little sleepy.
The rest of the visit will take place at the city museum. This museum keeps hundreds of mummies that were mausoleums and sarcophagi in the area of Laguna de los Condores (a place that will be discovered during a future trip to Peru that’s for sure!). There are also beautiful objects from the Chachapoyas culture and other Peruvian cultures. The guide noux will explain a lot of new things about the Chachapoyas culture. It was really interesting.
Once the visit is finished we have 2h30 of road to return to Chachapoyas. Once back we go to bed because tomorrow we would like to get up at 4:45 to go for a hike.
The alarm clock sounds at 4:45, Quentin does not want to get up and offers to push it because it’s raining … I accept without hesitation because the hike is only 5 hours (and two hours of driving). The alarm clock rings again … it rains even stronger so it is pushed back two hours. I can not go back to sleep so I take the opportunity to lunch and call my parents. Quentin struggled to get up. The rain does not stop suddenly we decided to change the program and go to see the Canon del Sonche which is close to Chachapoyas. We will not leave until 10am, after calling everyone and taking our time.
Outside it is ugly and the rain falls again. We decide to go to the village of Huancas on foot despite the rain. We will walk for two hours on a winding road full of mud and puddles.
Once at the entrance of the village is an endless staircase that awaits us. We climb it and we start to get really hot with all our rain equipment. Once at the top … not a cat (just chickens!). People are at Mass. We go to the central square, we pass two small restaurants and then we decide to go see the barrel and come back to eat in one of them.
Once at the gun, wow! the view is impressive! it is superb ! we were afraid of seeing nothing because of the clouds but we were lucky, everything was discovered upon our arrival. We will spend a moment to admire and then go to the restaurant.
There are two people at a table who look at us as if we were extraterrestrials. They do not have to see Europeans often. The lady greets us with a big smile. She brings us the card and there we are disgusted, it’s super expensive! the cheapest is 12 soles the dish while in Chachapoyas it’s 6 soles the menu! Quentin is not happy but hey we are hungry! We order, it takes time to arrive but when it happens we throw ourselves on it! We fill our stomachs well looking outside: it’s raining cats and it does not stop! We think we’ll take a taxi or a combi to get home; we see more than one so we think it should go.
When we leave the restaurant we wait before a combi or a taxi passes but nothing … we wait … 10min, 15min, then we decide to go on the place. Nothing neither ! So we put on our rain pants and start walking. It’s raining harder and harder, we’re soaking wet. We see passing vans in the other direction but none come back! We advance, we get wet even more. Halfway, a van arrives, she has pity on us and people walking in front of us. The guy will be super nice and we will drop in front of the market. We thank him and then leave. We want to buy chocolate because in Peru they produce some. We find at the market for 1 soles, it tastes … bleurgh … it must be 90% is inedible! so we go disgusted (especially me in fact, Quentin does not care).
We try to dry our clothes but impossible, it’s too wet and it’s still raining. We will glandera each of our side before making a big sleep. Tomorrow we woke up the clock at 4:45!
Too hard to get up this morning! But hey, it does not rain at all, it motivates us! We prepare, close our bags, breakfast and go for a big day hiking in Yumbilla. The Yumbilla Falls are the second highest one in the world, according to Peruvians, with a height of 896m.
We will take a minivan for over an hour, followed by a mototaxi for 30 minutes that will take us to the village of Cuispes. This time the ticket office is open despite the early hour. The guy is super nice is too happy to see us. We are the first real tourists of the day (two Peruvians are already gone but they have already come three times to hike). He tells us where to go and gives us his number if we ever need a vehicle to bring us back in case of fatigue.
The first part will be along the road that leads to the official trail. It’s a discreet climb that feels good in our thighs! We see the beautiful valley in the distance, it makes me think of Reunion. We will meet a farmer with his cows on the road and no one until our return.
The second part of the hike is done in the jungle. You can see many species of plants, birds and monkeys (we have not seen any). The trail is very well marked. We arrive at a viewpoint from which we can see the whole valley, it is superb. Then we reach a first waterfall: Medio Cerro, behind which we must pass to continue the path. Ten minutes later we reach the beautiful Cristal waterfall which is divided into two portions; it’s really nice too. Continuing the trail about fifteen minutes we arrive at the famous waterfall Yumbilla which we will only see part (two cascades out of four, the others are accessible only with a guide). It’s majestic! The landscape is splendid. Once reached, we will turn back.
Two and a half hours later we go back to see the guy at the office. He is not alone and invites us to sit down. We talk to everyone, they are super happy to see people because there are not many people coming and it is a shame because it was much more beautiful than Gocta. One of the present types is a trail fan and explains that he is organizing one this year in the Amazonas region; he is excited to tell us. After half an hour we take a mototaxi to go down to Pedro Ruiz. We greet everyone and we go down the valley. We have a lot of luck (again!) Because once at the bus terminal the rain starts to fall violently and back to Chachapoyas it will be nice!
We decide to have a snack in the cafe next to the hostel. We will be happy and then we will take the bus to Chiclayo.
We are very happy with our stay in this region of Peru. We hope to come back and discover what we did not have time to do this time.
After a horrible night on the bus we arrive an hour earlier in Chiclayo. It is 5 o’clock in the morning, it is night and we are tired.
We do not think, we take a taxi to go to the hotel because it is far. The driver does not seem too much to know where he is and then once there he bashes us by saying that it is super dangerous and that it can bring us elsewhere. It is 5am, it does not put us in a good mood and we ask lots of questions. The hotel is closed but I can reach the reception. A super nice man comes to open us, it comforts us. We pay the taxi and we decide to stay here. The room is nice, we are on the fifth floor. We put our bags and then we collapse three hours before having to prepare to do the circuit with the tour that could be booked the day before.
We pick us up around 9:45, we are always super tired. Today we will visit two archeological sites and two museums.
To relocate a little, Chiclayo is the capital of the Lambayeque region in the north of the country. There are many pre-Inca sites around the city such as the Tucume Pyramids and the Tumbas Reales Museum in Sipan.
The first visit we will make will be at the archaeological complex of Huaca Rajada (Lord of Sipán). This site has only recently been discovered. In 1987, Walter Alva discovered there the tomb of the “Lord of Sipán”, great lord of the Moche culture. This discovery made it possible to highlight the burial ritual of the elite Moche (lords, priests and warriors were buried with sacrificed animals such as llamas or dogs and many relics and ceramics, with them were also children sacrificed to represent purity, innocence and youth, there were also women (the wife of the lord was to be buried with him, even if he died before her, as well as his concubines) and a guardian who was amputated both (by removing his feet, the guardians could do nothing but stay with what he had been sacrificed for the purpose of protecting them, unable to walk.) The site consists of two pyramids truncated in adobe whose erosion makes them look mostly like two big mountains, and an elite cemetery.It is interesting to note that inside these pyramids and entirely Not filled with adobe, there are no rooms inside. People used it to perform religious and political ceremonies on their flat top (hence the term truncated pyramids, as opposed to the Egyptian pyramids). During the visit, we will learn many things about the Moche culture and we will be able to see reconstructions of the tombs with the various bones of the sacrificed people and the objects of which they were covered and which had been offered to them.
After this visit, the guide takes us to a restaurant where they serve many local specialties (including duck!). By cons, on arrival we see the prices and we decide not to eat there: 30 soles the dish per person … we eat two dishes for 6 soles in general. So she tells us to go to the restaurant at the end of the street. Good idea, it’s full of local and we will eat very well, for 6 soles J
After the meal we find others to visit the pyramids of Tucume (1 hour drive) and their museum.
It is a complex of 26 truncated pyramids (but here also more like mountains due to erosion) dating from the year 700 AD This set having been discovered that very recently, it is still subject to archaeological excavations. So we can admire only a few pyramids from a point of view; which will be very disappointing. We continue the visit with the museum where we will learn a little more about the place and the rituals.
The day will end at the museum of “Tumbas Reales” or museum of “Lord Sipan”. In this museum we will see all the objects found in the tomb of Lord Sipan and other elite people, on the site of Huaca Rajada. It’s quite interesting but the explanations are quite redundant with those we had during the day. We will stay there anyway two hours!
After this big day, we are still a little disappointed with what we saw. We were not very excited about the sites and the museum visit was too long. We regret our stopover in Chiclayo. But tomorrow we may change in opinion by going to see a craft market … To be continued!
Last day in Chiclayo. We take our time, then we decide to go see a craft market in a nearby city, Monsefu. Everyone tells us to take a taxi for 20 soles one way but we understood that combi vans went there for 2 soles … so the choice is quickly made! We cross the city to go where the combis are and then we go to Monsefu. The city is only 15 minutes from Chiclayo.Arrived at Monsefu the combi drops us off at the fruit and vegetable market. It’s nice, well animated and everything makes you want but that’s not the reason for our arrival. The craft market is a little further away. Once in front, big disappointment! it’s very small and not at all interesting in fact.We decide to go back to the other market to eat; it’s cheap and good so it suits us. We have too much time before the bus so we decided to return to Chiclayo and hang out in a cafe. We’ll find one after 30 minutes, not too bad that makes super hit 😀 After this good break we go back to look for our things. The people at the hotel help us find and negotiate a taxi for the bus terminal. We will wait an hour at the terminal then the bus will arrive … which bus! nothing to do with all the others we took. It is less comfortable.17:30, the bus starts, it’s gone for 13h endless! I think of all the buses we took it was the worst !!! The drivers drove like mentally ill people: and we’re going to double in turns, accelerate any time, go for a ride, text on the wheel, roll at 120 instead of 90, and the worst, but I’m the only one to have seen it because I was the only one who could not sleep in fact (I spent 13 hours watching them and waiting for death), it’s time where they changed driver while the bus was running !!! Crazy ! People as usual were selfish: and go that I speak super loud at times not possible, I watch YouTube without headphones … ah the joys of the bus! And to top it off at 2am everybody goes out to cross the border. Fortunately, the two borders were in the same office.After this beautiful night, we arrive in Cuenca, fresh like the morning dew, at 7am. Continued story in Ecuador 😀