Gran Vilaya Trek

   Chachapoyas, Peru
   Moderate difficulty
   54 km
   2300 to 3500 meters

About the Journey:

Chachapoyas is the capital of Amazonas department, located in northern Peru. Its name derives from the archaeological culture of ancient Peru by the same name, also known as “Land of Cloud People” that left a number of large stone monuments, such as Kuelap, funerary buildings, sarcophagi and mausoleums that are found in the Laguna de los Cóndores and other treks. They were conquered by the Inca Empire in the time of ruler Tupac Inca Yupanqui in the 15th century, and then faced a great reduction with the arrival of the Spanish Empire. The Great Vilaya is composed of diverse archaeological sectors in the middle of the cloud forest, in the valley of Utcubamba river. There are no in-depth studies of the Chachapoyan culture, so most of the area remains a mystery. It has been declared Cultural Patrimony of Peru. It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 buildings, built with geometric shapes on the walls that often represent humans and animals as the condor, snake and puma. Our trek will end at Kuelap, a mountaintop fortress, also known as the Machu Picchu of the North - except it’s older and less visited. Considered to be the largest stone ruin site in the New World, it is also one of the most impressive architectural structures in the world. It is surrounded by a perimeter wall that varies between 10 and 20 metres high. The most common theory claims that it was a sanctuary in which resided a powerful aristocracy whose primary mission was to administer the production of food while having the collaboration of supernatural powers that governed the atmospheric phenomena.

Options:4 days

Day 1:

We will depart from Chachapoyas early morning (around 5 am) and drive to Luya district. From there, we will do a 30 minute walk to the Karajia Sarcophagi. These prehistoric tombs are embedded in a cliff and are unique in their design (Tip: Bring binoculars so you can see the site in details). At the end of the visit we will go for lunch before starting a four hour hike through (around 12 km) the inca trail of Capac Ñan towards the valley of Huaylla Belén. Here we will spend the night on a home village, with the beautiful view of the Huaylla River.

Day 2:

Today we start walking down to the Huaylla River. We are going to cross the river so you will have to take your shoes off. Then, we will enter the forest and you will be able to see several ruins from the Chachapoyan culture throughout the trail. We will continue to the village of Congon where we will spend the night.

Day 3:

There will be a challenging 3 hour climb in the morning so we will provide a horse. You can opt to do it without a horse but you must be in great physical conditions. The climb consists of a beautiful pre-inca trail covered by vegetation. At the end of the climb, we will go to Pirquilla, an impressive and hidden archeological site which is maintained by local people such as your guide. We will then continue a small walk uphill where we will have lunch on a remote home with a spectacular view above the clouds. Afterwards, we will take the path down to Choctamal, where we will stay at a hotel.

Day 4:

After a rich and nutritious local breakfast, we will head towards Kuelap (an 8 km hike). Our guide will give us a full tour throughout the ruins and you will then have some time to relax and experience its mysticism. Finally, we will head back to Chachapoyas.


Once your payment is done, you spot will be automatically reserved. However, please keep in mind that we require at least three people for any departures to be confirmed. For more information please visit our Cancellation Policy

What's Included:

A Reputable Guide:

All of the guides at Runnatrip are English speaking (fluently, not casually) and are officially certified guides which is important because a lot of tour operators will use non-certified guides because it is cheaper. Our guides are experts in these treks and will make you feel both safe and welcomed. You have the option to meet your guide in our office prior to your trek so you can learn more about what you should expect on your journey. This is very much encouraged, but not required.


Transportation is included from your hotel to the start of trek and from the end of trek to plaza de armas. This is usually a private van. Treks that include Machu Picchu also include the cost of the train ticket into the ruins.

All Fees:

All entrance/trek fees are covered. You are good if you bring no cash at all. However, tip is always appreciated by the guides/porters.

Evacuation Plan & Safety:

There will be at least one horse just in case of accidents, so people can be evacuated fast. We will also have a first aid kit and oxygen tank with us as well.

All Food and Water:

The mules will be carrying all of the food we will need during the trek. The food is typical camping food like soup, noodles, chicken, beans, rice, fruits, tea and coffee. We will also boil clean water to drink each morning and evening, but be sure to bring your own container.

Camping Equipment:

We will also be providing tents and sleeping mats, tables (varies between treks), chairs, and cooking equipment. Each night we will set up a community tent where we will have dinner and enjoy each other’s company before we head off to bed/go our separate ways for the night.

Porters/cookes/mules to carry the equipments and handle logistics. (depending on the trek, mules can carry up to 5kg of your personal stuff (your tent will already be carried)).

What to Bring:

Comfortable and moisture wicking clothing, hiking boots, sleeping bag, toilet paper, trekking poles, lightweight sandals (to hang around campsite), bottle/container for water.

What Not to Bring:

Jeans, heavy books, laptop, knives, drugs, alcohol, and babies.

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