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Kuelap- INCREDIBLE!!

2 Months in Peru—May 6, 2015—Day 38.

overcast 65 °F

We were up early (about 6:30) as usual, and jumped in the shower. The promised “hot showers” turned out to be “about 2º warmer than the cold water showers!” This situation turned the experience into the infamous PTA type of shower. We met Ega and Pamela for desayuno, and their morning ablution experience had been the same . They did report that the last evening’s shower had been a reasonably warm affair. We attributed the cold morning shower to perhaps a solar hot water heater. We had seen quite a few solar heaters of the type manufactured in China , on the roofs of the Campasino’s adobe homes, while traveling over the mountains.
Day 38-The Road to Kuelap 2

Day 38-The Road to Kuelap 2


The tour bus arrived promptly at 0815, and we recognized several other people who had been on yesterday’s bus from Celedin. We drove several blocks to the Plaza and picked up our guide for the day, Hernando. It was a 2 hour drive to the Fortress, with a 15 minute stop in a pueblo to order almuerzo, to be served on the return trip.
Day 38-Common Garden Flower

Day 38-Common Garden Flower

Day 38-Kuelap Trail Rock Work

Day 38-Kuelap Trail Rock Work


The route to Kuelap used to start at a place called Tingo Viejo, and followed the old trail with an elevation gain of about 1200 meters, and a distance of 9.8 km.Day 38-The Road to Kuelap

Day 38-The Road to Kuelap

Now we can drive to within 2km of Kuelap, which leaves only a 100-200m gain in elevation to reach the ruins. Within 2 years the Peruvians are scheduled to complete an aerial tram across the deep valley that will put tourists at the same elevation as Kuelap, and only a couple hundred meters from it’s entrance.
Day 38-Kuelap Path

Day 38-Kuelap Path


Day 38-Kuelap Fortress, First sighting

Day 38-Kuelap Fortress, First sighting

Day 38-Approaching Kuelap_

Day 38-Approaching Kuelap_


Kuelap itself is an awesome ruins, built by the Chachapoyan kingdom starting in 500AD, and under continuous construction until 1493 when the Incas conquered and absorbed the “Jungle Kingdom” into their empire. The Fortress city sits on top of a 3000 meter (9952 ft.) limestone mountain with good views all around. Some “authorities” have claimed that more stone went into the building of Kuelap, than the building of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt!

Day 38-Kuelap Greeter 1

Day 38-Kuelap Greeter 1

Day 38-Kuelap Greeter 2

Day 38-Kuelap Greeter 2

The ruins consist of defensible walls enclosing an area 700 meters long and 300 meters wide with over 400 circular living structures built on two levels.
Day 38-Fortress Wall

Day 38-Fortress Wall

Day 38-Along the Wall

Day 38-Along the Wall


Day 38-Main Entrance

Day 38-Main Entrance

Day 38-The Way In

Day 38-The Way In

Day 38- Narrow at the Top

Day 38- Narrow at the Top

Day 38-Ega and Pamala at Kuelap_

Day 38-Ega and Pamala at Kuelap_


Day 38- Interior Wall

Day 38- Interior Wall


Day 38-Growing Wild

Day 38-Growing Wild


Day 38-Wild Bromeliads

Day 38-Wild Bromeliads


Day 38-Communal Building

Day 38-Communal Building


Day 38-Dwelling Foundations

Day 38-Dwelling Foundations

Day 38-Dwelling Interior

Day 38-Dwelling Interior


The living structures were topped with steep grass-thatched roofs. Most had a partial second level for sleeping, and a corral or area to contain Guinea Pigs (Cuy). In addition using the Cuy for food, the Chachapoyans also used them to keep warm while sleeping ( how would you like to cuddle up in bed with a few Cuy for warmth?) One guide told me that the dead, eviscerated Cuy were used as pillow when sleeping, but I failed to ask the follow-up questions like: “Exactly how did that work? “
Day 38-Re-Constructed Dwelling

Day 38-Re-Constructed Dwelling

Day 38-Foundation Window

Day 38-Foundation Window

Day 38-Foundation Decoration

Day 38-Foundation Decoration

Day 38-Rhombus Art

Day 38-Rhombus Art

Day 38-Nobility Level

Day 38-Nobility Level

There are also work areas and religious structures that have been identified. The group followed the guide as he meandered through the ruins for about 3 hours explaining the purpose and significance of the various areas and objects.
Day 38-Chacha Temple

Day 38-Chacha Temple

Day 38-Chacha Temple 2

Day 38-Chacha Temple 2


Day 38-Karen at the Edge

Day 38-Karen at the Edge

Day 38-Karen at the Edge 2

Day 38-Karen at the Edge 2

Day 38-Midwest Backpackers

Day 38-Midwest Backpackers

Day 38-Kuelap Watch Tower

Day 38-Kuelap Watch Tower

Day 38-Kuelap Wall

Day 38-Kuelap Wall


Before we left the Fortress Rick found the 3 resident llamas!
Day 38-Resting Llama

Day 38-Resting Llama

Day 38-Standing Llama 2

Day 38-Standing Llama 2

Day 38-Standing Llama

Day 38-Standing Llama

Day 38-Standing Llama  and Pamela

Day 38-Standing Llama and Pamela

Day 38-Standing Llamas  and Ega

Day 38-Standing Llamas and Ega

Day 38-Road View

Day 38-Road View

Day 38-Rick at the Edge_

Day 38-Rick at the Edge_

Day 38-Rick at Kuelap

Day 38-Rick at Kuelap

Day 38-King's Crown Watch Tower

Day 38-King's Crown Watch Tower


We returned to the parking area at about 4pm and headed to the pueblo restaurant that was preparing our much needed meal. Then Back to Chachapoyas where we shared a few beers with our new friends Ega and Pamela from Chile.

We started to pay the bill, and Rick could not find his wallet! He checked his clothes and pockets multiple times to no avail! Earlier in the evening he had left the bebida cafe to book two tickets on the Chiclayo bus, because we had just found out the road was cleared of landslides and it was again running on that route.We really do not know what happened to the wallet, but the best guess is that it fell out a shallow pocket in his rain coat while walking back to the cafe, somewhere on the Plaza.

Day 38-Chachapoyas Town Center

Day 38-Chachapoyas Town Center

Oh well, another personal donation to a Peruvian in need. The biggest problem is now we are down to one bank card for automatic teller withdrawals!
Day 38-Rick and Karen at Kuelap

Day 38-Rick and Karen at Kuelap

Posted by Rick-n-Karen 15:59 Archived in Peru

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Comments

I can't believe we were really there and up that high. Seems like a dream.
It's been quite a trip!
Thanks for everyone's comments. We love to hear you are following and sharing with us!

by Karen Mulcahy

Amazing pictures!! I love the last one of you both on thae edge with all the rocks. And I would love to snuggle with all the Cuy! So sorry about the wallet :( Love you both!!

by Karin

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