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Visit Kuelap, Chachapoyan fortress
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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Real Latin America Experts
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.
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.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
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.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.