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Kuelap, Peru

4.6
#102 of 200 in Historic Sites in Peru
Kuélap or Cuélap is a walled settlement located in the mountains near the towns of María and Tingo, in the southern part of the region of Amazonas, Peru. It was built by the Chachapoyas culture in the 6th century AD on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley.LocationKuélap is located on a limestone ridge on top of a mountain at an elevation of 3000 metres, on the left bank of the Utcubamba River. It belongs to the district of Tingo, Luya Province, Amazonas. The area is covered with cloud forests, with a variety of trees, orchids and epiphytes. The protected zone covers an area of 218.33ha and a buffer zone of 609.67ha, both protecting about 12 archaeological sites and the main site of Kuélap.ArchitectureKuélap is a walled settlement built in a north-south orientation, 584 m long and 110 m in its widest part, making up an area of ca. 6 hectares. The walls are 10 to 20 m high with masonry of limestone blocks finely worked (some blocks may weigh 3 tons).The city has 3 entrances, 2 to the east and the other one to the west. The main entrance has a trapezoid shape and may have had a corbel arch; it becomes narrower until it allows the passage of one person.
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(Chachapoyas is the nearest city to Kuelap)

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Reviews
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4.6
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  • August 10, 2017
    Kuelap Peru is one Peru's most interesting places to visit. Keulap is also known as the Northern Macchu Picchu. To get there is BEST by cable car. It is only a 20-25 minutes cable ride and the overall...  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    Today I visited Kuelap. One of the oldest ruins that I was able to see so far. Unfortunately, one was allowed to run only on the Holzwegen and touch anything. Even when I was on a stone of ruin located on have I was whistled back. The GUIDs should exercise around everywhere. Therefore only "poor".
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  • July 22, 2017
    Spectacular! The cable car is very pretty and lets see some incredible views! The Citadel of Kuelap suggests in the diversity of culture that has had the Peru. Interesting all what they say about the chachapoyas culture.
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  • June 28, 2017
    Really interesting place full of history, it's a relatively new discovery so most of what has been found is pretty authentic. Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed overall purely because I have been to other more impressive ruins (although it's not really fair to compare it to something else, I found myself subconsciously doing it). If you're new to Peru, I would totally recommend seeing this but overall, it is quite expensive to do on a backpacker budget (20 soles for the teleferico/cable car, 20 soles for entrance, 14 soles both ways for a collectivo to Chachapoyas or around 80 soles for a tour guide.
  • July 11, 2017
    The ancient fortress is quite impressive, but the view is better. It's worth to take a guide there if you are not already with a guided tour, you can negotiate 5-7 soles/pers if your are a group. The guided tour from Chachapoyas is not needed at all (like 99% of the time on south America). There are collectivos very cheap leaving Chachapoyas very early which drops you at Nuevo Tingo or Tingo Viejo (also called Tingo Bajo). From Nuevo Tingo you can take a cheap moto taxi to the funicular which brings you to the fortress. From Tingo Bajo you have two walking paths (both on maps.me) leading to the fortress in 3-4h, 1200 m D+. Start early in the morning, the weather is nicer. Protect from sun and carry water (min 1 L/pers, more if sunny). Restaurants on the road in Tingo Bajo sell water bottles. The easiest trail is the one starting along the road at the end of the village. It's the one locals will indicate. You can go back down from the same or try the other one (much less clean, indicated and easy, in Kuelap village follow carefully maps.me not to get lost). Or you can do the return with funicular+taxi+collectivos. If there are tourist busses at the fortress parking you can also negotiate to go back to Chachapoyas directly with them.
  • June 10, 2017
    Amazing place. Nice green area.
  • June 23, 2017
    The first cable car in Peru will take you there. Scary heights during both ways. Ancient fortress in the top of the mountain.
  • December 6, 2016
    Amazing place. But it is getting a little overrun with tour groups. I have no idea how it will cope when the gondola / cable car makes it easier to visit. Go now while you can still walk around it without tripping over tourists.

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Where to stay in Chachapoyas

Visitors to Chachapoyas can take advantage of a number of hotels spread across town, including many options clustered near the main city square. Most hostels cater to backpackers who need few amenities, but if you want something more comfortable and better equipped, consider a guesthouse a short drive outside the city. Most family-run establishments in the surrounding villages offer guided treks to nearby waterfalls and ruins, with collected profits used to improve local infrastructure.
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