region was a bastion of the Chachapoya culture, a confederation
of chiefdoms that built impressive cities from 800 A.D. until their
conquest by the Inca circa 1470 A.D.
Search for lost
1,000 year old stone cities in a remote Amazon cloud forest. Explore
the gigantic ancient fortress of Kuelap, with its 60 foot high defense
walls and 400 major structures within. Be awed by hundreds of recently
discovered sarcophagi and funeral mausoleums. Thrill to the most
spectacular scenery in all of South America, with colorful limestone
canyons, cascading waterfalls and lush forests laden with bromeliads
is the only tour operator offering expeditions to recently discovered
ruins in the remote Amazonas Department of Peru. All of our trips
here are led by Dr. Peter Lerche (see Peter Lerche's article on
Peru's Lost Tombs in National
Geographic, September issue, 2000), the world's expert on Chachapoya
history and archaeology. Every year our trips feature the highlights
of the region as well as new explorations and discoveries.
Valley Trip Itinerary
All inclusive cost from Lima: $1795
July 6-15, 2001
Lima-Chachapoyas. Visit cliffside ruins of Macro, built by religious
sect of Chachapoya, 800 AD. Bus to Choctamal Lodge.
day visit of the giant Kuelap fortress. Walls over 65' high,
over 4800' long, long uphill "killing corrdor" leads
to city of over 400 structures, many decorated with unusual
artistic friezes. Little visited by tourists, one can see pottery
shards, bones, skulls, etc. Evening at Chillo Lodge.
through Abra Yumal pass by horse or hiking (11,000'). In
the afternoon, plunge into the eastern slope cloud forests.
Explore the Chachapoya city of Calopunta, discovered in 1997.
There are hundreds of stone round houses (shunderhuasi) and
a central three story structure, overgrown by forest. Camp below
Calopunta at 7500'.
trail through the lower forest is dense and must be hiked. The
vegetation hides many shunderhuasi. Arrive at the Vilaya River,
6000', make camp.
up Cuichimal, 8000', to view Chipuric sarcophagi (1250 AD).
About 25 clay sarcophagi containing remains, the elite of Chachapoyan
society. An unpublished site. Return to Vilaya Valley camp.
Vilaya Valley by horse or by hiking, on a pre-Columbian trail,
at times a staircase, passing by more ruins near the mountain
top, 10,000'. Camp by the Hualla River.
by horse or hike through the Valley of the Sacred Rock. A short
hike up a cliff reveals a sarcophagus discovered in 1997. Follow
a trail to the shaman center of Colcamar. Bus return to Chachapoyas.
Gran Vilaya Hotel.
Led by Dolly
Arevalo-Beaver and Dr. Peter Lerche.