Trekking to the numerous impressive sights and ruins around Chachapoyas is becoming increasingly popular and is easy to arrange in town. The most popular outing is the four- or five-day Gran Vilaya trek, from Choctámal to the Marañón canyon, through pristine cloud forest and past several ruins and the heavenly Valle de Belén. Another popular adventure heads out to the Laguna de los Cóndores, a three-day trip on foot and horseback from Leimebamba.
The intrepid sport of rappelling down rivers and waterfalls has found a natural home in northern Peru which has an impressive collection of spectacular water flumes, including some the highest in South America. Canyoning (or barranquismo as it’s known in Spanish) is still in its infancy in these parts but has recently sprouted a professional operator, Canyoning Explorer. Under the enthusiastic tutelage of Andalucian Juan Pérez you can arrange trips to up to five local waterfalls in the vicinity of Cuispes, 60km north of Chachapoyas, including 896m-tall Catarata Yumbilla, considered the fifth-tallest waterfall in the world.
Most places in Chachapoyas fall squarely in the budget category. A couple of more upper-scale hotels inhabit traditional Chacha houses adorned with courtyards and wooden balconies.
Moving east across the Andes, Chachapoyas is the first place where you begin finding Amazonian-style dishes, though with local variations. Juanes (banana leaves stuffed with chicken or pork) are made with yucca instead of rice. Cecina, a dish made from dehydrated pork in the lowlands, is often made with beef here. There's a good and growing selection of casual cafes.
Drinking & Nightlife
Chachapoyas is famous for its artisanal liqueurs, which come in all sorts of herbal and fruit flavors – working your way through them all makes for a definite good time. That said, the nightlife isn't explosive in this small town.
All the budget tour agencies are found near or on the Plaza de Armas. Ask around for other travelers’ experiences before you choose an agency. Expect to pay S100 to S150 per person for multiday treks (a little more for groups of less than four) and between S50 and S80 for day tours.