Exploring northern Peru and the Chachapoyas people

I got sucked into watching this programme last night, presumably on repeat. It's an area of Peru we have recently started featuring on our northern Peru tailor made holiday so caught my eye. It took a while for me to get past the somewhat unusual presentation style of Dr Jago Cooper, proto-Jedward hairdo and that machete sticking out of his little backpack just itching to be used a la Indiana Jones. However, get past it I did as in fact he's clearly enthusiastic about what he does and knows what he's doing, that and the fact that the places he was visiting were so amazing.

The north of Peru is an area which is really the passion of David here at the office. It was he who created our holiday and he best knows just how amazing the region is. Obviously I've seen a lot of the images of waterfalls, citadels, mountains and lakes and they are beautiful. What is less obvious is just how undeveloped the sites are. Having seen all the impeccably preserved and managed sites around Cusco & Machu Picchu, it was striking just how wild these sites in the north are.

As David recounts, when he was at the fortress of Keulap, the jewel of the Chachapoyas region, over the course of several hours he saw perhaps 20 other visitors to the site. In fact there were more archaeologists working on the site than visitors. Imagine wandering around a major archaeological site, effectively on your lonesome, being able to talk to the people actually discovering the secrets around you. As wonderful as Machu Picchu is, and it is beautiful almost beyond words, the Chachapoyas offers something totally different but equally magical.

I know that Dr Cooper's machete was a pose for the cameras but it's not far off the truth for any visitors that you can expect to be peeling back the undergrowth to see the handiwork of the Chachapoyas people. The fact that the woman running  the mummy museum in Leymebamba is still the self-same archaeologist who was first on the scene two decades ago to stop the rampant sacking of the sarcophagi is remarkable.

I leave it to one of our recent clients to sum up this loop of northern Peru: "From Trujillo and north to Cajarmarca was stunning and made so by the enthusiasm of Jose whose  knowledge seemed to have no limits. He could have made anything interesting and the sites he took us to were breathtaking. The driver William also deserves a special mention as he navigated us over spectacular passes and through the chaos of Peruvian traffic and downpours." 

To discuss this holiday, please call us on 01273 676 712 from 9am-6.30pm GMT weekdays. Or visit the Peru holidays section of our website.

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