The city of Chachapoyas remains well off the well-trodden tourist trail, but its reputation as a tourist destination is growing every year. This is mainly because of the nearby ruins of Kuelap, a massive hilltop fortress that once served as an important defensive and cultural center for the Chachapoya civilization (conquered by the Incas shortly before the arrival of the Spanish).

The city itself is attractive, with a number of colonial buildings, pretty squares and monuments. The local tourism infrastructure is still developing, but you will find some good hotels and restaurants. Kuelap is an easy day trip from Chachapoyas. Another popular excursion goes to Karijia, an archaeological site featuring seven Chachapoyan sarcophagi standing in an inaccessible cliff-face nook up above a river gorge.

Chachapoyas is located in northern Peru. To get there, you must cut inland from Chiclayo on the north coast, traveling east overland to Pedro Ruiz and then down to Chachapoyas. There is no airport, making bus the most common means of arrival. If you keep heading east past Pedro Ruiz rather than heading down to Chachapoyas, you'll eventually arrive at the high jungle cities of Moyobamba and then Tarapoto.

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