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Kuelap Fortress, Quietly One-Upping Machu Picchu

Kuelap Fortress, Quietly One-Upping Machu Picchu Photo

Photo by maral

Posted on May 18, 2010 in Trip Ideas

“Anyone traveling to Peru puts Machu Picchu on his or her ‘must-see’ list--and so they should. But northern Peru holds some unique remains of a civilization that was pre-Incan, and equally amazing.”

So begins maral’s account of her trek to the Chachapoyan site of Kuelap; needless to say, we were hooked instantly. Machu Picchu without the crowds? At a site that’s survived since pre-Incan times? Sign us up!

High up, it turns out.

“It's not easy getting to the ancient fortress and settlement of Kuelap,” maral writes. “There are two routes and both are challenging!” On the morning of day two, in fact, “the sign reading ‘Kuelap 2.5km’ pointed UP!” Luckily, “white-knuckle” roads and trails are worth navigating, says maral, for the payoff of “awesome” 360-degree views with only alpacas jostling for space.

Will Kuelap stay this way? Our traveler predicts that “when more funding is available for infrastructure development, Kuelap will attract more tourists, which is both a good and a bad thing.” Whether or not Kuelap becomes, as maral says, “a ‘new’ Machu Picchu,” she looks forward to returning to the area to enjoy the “ongoing process” of “digging into Peru’s history.”

Has maral hooked you too? Dig into more Peru adventures with these recent trip journals:

Peru Part 1 and Peru Part 2 by Essexgirl09

Trying to Think Like a Local: Studying Spanish in Arequipa by Owen Lipsett

Snow, Stairs and Soroche; Heart of the Inca Empire by Niiko

Peru Travels by beckyX

Comment by ukdestination on May 26, 2010

my friend is peruvian and goes back every year,he's always on to me to go and visit and I always wanted to visit machu puchu, but kueklap sounds even better.Like machu puchu 25 years ago, i'll have to ask my friend about it

Farm and Cottage Holidays


Comment by johndigougo1 on June 8, 2010


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