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Kuélap

The so-called 'Machu Picchu of the north,' once home to the mysterious ‘warriors of the cloud forest,' sits like a giant medieval castle on a craggy mountain ridge 37 miles (60km) southwest of Chachapoyas, close to the village of Tingo. It is the best preserved and most dramatic of the district’s many archaeological sites and – with the recent construction of a cable car – is fast becoming northern Peru’s biggest attraction (annual tourist numbers doubled to 120,000 within a year of the cable-car opening). Situated at a higher altitude to Machu Picchu and built a good 500 years earlier, Kuélap predates the Inca Empire and was probably never conquered by Peru’s most famous pre-Columbian culture. Sometimes described as a fortress, it was more likely a walled city (but what walls!) which at its peak might have been home to up to 300,000 people.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kuélap.

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