About the Journey:
The mausoleums of the Laguna de los Condores were first discovered by local agricultural workers in 1996. A year later, two private organizations from Austria and Finland came to help preserve the archeological remains in order to avoid looting. These remains were sent to the village of Leymebamba, where they are now exposed at the newly built museum. On the lake, we can find 7 rooms used for funeral or mausoleums. They were built in the extension of a rock shelter in a scarp in front of the lake, 100 meters above its surface. A waterfall closes the front creating an ideal environment for the conservation of the funeral remains. The walls are made of stone plastered with mud and decorated with paint and zigzag friezes. In the interior they had two levels, the first floor was filled with low-ranking workers, and the higher the position, the higher its ranking. So at the top, you would find the masters, the wise and priests. Throughout the cliff, you can find other tombs that are inaccessible and only seen from the lagoon.
We will depart Chachapoyas city early in the morning via private transportation and drive 1.5 hours to Tingo, where we will take the cableway to Kuelap. After a 2-hour guided tour, we will head back to the village, have lunch, and then continue for 1.5 hours to Leymebamba. There, we will leave all our gear at Ms. Miriam´s house and visit the Leymebamba Museum. We believe it is imperative for a traveler to get a more complete and varied view of the cultural history of the Chachapoyas culture, a perfect preamble for our trek to the lake. We will then spend the night at Ms. Miriam´s house where she will prepare a delicious local meal.
Today a very tough walk is expected as most of the trail is muddy (we will provide rubber boots). We will have horses to carry our stuff and anyone who wishes to rest (it is optional, but recommended). After breakfast, we start walking to La Muralla for lunch (10 km hike), where we can find several types of vegetation during the trail. Afterwards, we will continue to the pass, “La Fila” (7 km hike), at 3,700 meters, and continue our descend into the forest, arriving to the shelter at 4 pm (8 km). We will leave all the gear, set everyone in their rooms and take a quick hike to the top of the hill to get a first impression of the lake. At 6.30 pm we will eat dinner and then everyone can relax and prepare for the next day.
Today we start by visiting the lake (25 minutes walk) after breakfast. We’ll use a boat and paddle to reach the other shore of the lake, where we will continue hiking for 30 minutes uphill to reach the mausoleums. Then, we will continue our trek by hiking 2 hours across the dense forest into Llaqtacocha, a residential site that had more than 130 circular stone houses and some rectangular ones. Thanks to the archaeological excavations, remains of Inca ceramics were found, which indicates that the place was occupied after the submission of Chachapoyas culture to the inca Empire. After that, we will go back to the lagoon, where we will fishtrouts and enjoy them on a delicious dinner at the cabin.
We will wake up early, eat breakfast, and begin our journey back to the village of Leymebamba. We will arrive at Leymebamba approximately at 4 pm, where our private transportation will take us 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
Chachapoyas culture remains a great enigma. A great archaeological work is yet to be done to reconstruct its history. Known as the Warriors of the Clouds, as they settled on top of the mountains, in a geographical region distinguished by clouds and fog. They had contact with other cultures such as wari, Cajamarca, Moche and you can find vestiges of them. They were not only warriors but also great architects, engineers, astronomers and great merchants. You can find semi-precious stones that do not exist in Peru but in Chile or Ecuador. Although they knew gold, they did not work on it. Their textiles were based on cotton, not on auquenids, and they possibly sold and exchange it. 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. Kuelap is one of the most impressive Chachapoyas legacies. It was occupied for more than 1000 years from 500 A.C. until the beginning of European presence in the region. Its location was based as a strategic military decision, due to the ease in defense and communication. You can see the valleys and other mountains for kilometers on sight and their main strategic weapon: rocks, could be thrown using Ondas for hundreds of meters thrown into the abyss. A feat impossible when done the opposite way. Even its three main entrances were built in a strategic way: in a trapezoidal form, wide at the beginning and at the end only enough space for one person to enter. In addition, if one settlement was attacked, the others were easily communicated. If haze that made visual contact difficult, they used marine snails that according to the sound produced, communicated exactly what was going on: either an attack, a meeting, death or any other event. Chachapoyas were also known for their architectonic talent. They based their constructions on their main Gods, fire, and water. The sun represented fire and the snake represented water. Inside the fortress, there are 500 circular buildings due to the Sun´s shape and the serpentine shape of its walls which represented the snake. In addition, you can find rhombuses shapes throughout the fortress, as seen in the skin of certain snake species. There are three main phases of their history: Chachapoyas apogee, Inca domination and finally Colonial conquest. In the last era, by 1570s, it is said that the Chachapoyas after first joining the Spaniards, finally decided to revolt, and Viceroy Toledo ordered all towns to be burned down. There are vestiges that the whole city has been burned down and later uninhabited. Now, experience the culture yourself and reflect on your own theories.
A Reputable Guide
Since this trek is relatively unknown and unexplored by foreign travelers, our guides only speak spanish. Nonetheless, they are local guides that are born and raised in Leymebamba, so they know all the area perfectly. They will make feel both safe and welcomed. In this trek, you will sleep in your guide´s house, sharing a unique experience as a local and enjoy delicious meals prepared by his wife, Ms. Miriam. You will be able to ask any questions about the trek, weather, Chachapoyas culture and any other concern you may have.
Transportation is included from your hotel or hostal in Chachapoyas to the start of the trek in Leymebamba, and from the end of trek back to Chachapoyas city. This is usually a private car or van depending on the number of travelers.
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.
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.
Cabins and Equipments
For this trek, we will be sleeping in the cabin built by the locals. You won’t need to bring a sleeping bag. The cabin has 5 rooms with 4 beds each. One room is for the guides, and travelers will either share a room or get appointed with their own room. It depends if other trekkers are also present. Each night we will have dinner and enjoy each other´s company before we head off to bed. Porters/cookes/mules will carry the equipments and handle logistics. (depending on the trek, mules can carry up to 5kg of your personal stuff.
What to Bring
Comfortable and moisture wicking clothing, rain poncho, 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.