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Visit Kuelap, Chachapoyan fortress

Kuelap

Take the road less travelled to visit an outstanding ancient ruin, the largest stone structure in South America.

It is no exaggeration to say that in terms of archaeological significance, Kuelap is on a par with Machu Picchu. However, tucked away as it is in a little-visited mountain realm, it receives a tiny fraction of the visitors, meaning that those that do come are often met with the increasingly rare feeling of having an extraordinary treasure all to themselves.

Leave the beaten track far behind to visit this remarkable site, quietly commanding a view from its mountain perch on the far edge of Andean civilisation. The complex contains around 400 circular stone houses, set across multiple levels and enclosed by a colossal wall – the largest stone structure in South America. Parts of the fortress are still thatched by a tangle of jungle plants, and bromeliads sneak between nooks in the stonework, all adding to the sense of stumbling upon an undiscovered ruin.

The recently inaugurated Kuelap cable car adds a new dimension to a visit to the site and is sure to increase visitor numbers to the region - a welcome boost to the local economy. The telecabinas cross the valley in just 20 minutes, which means the overall journey time is about 30 minutes shorter than when travelling by road and the magnificent views across the valley ensure a scenic start to your Kuelap experience.

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Northern Peru

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

Meet the team