Rarely do you ever hear about Chachapoyas other than for its easy access to Kuelap, the Gocta waterfall and the Karajia sarcophagi. But after spending some time there, we found that Chachapoyas is a beautiful town all on it's own. Nestled at 2,334 meters high up in the Andes, it offers wonderful views of the mountains in a peaceful and amicable setting. We loved the quaint feeling of this town. From the small shops to the daily market full of fresh fruits and vegetables, Chachapoyas quickly became one of our favorite places in Peru.
Mirador Luya Urco
Located at the ouest (see what I did there?) end of town, this viewpoint is only a 5 minute walk from the central square and offers wonderful views of Chachapoyas (see picture above). You can spot the Plaza de Armas right at the center (just look for the white church).
Huancas is a small district 7 km from Chachapoyas that offers beautiful lookouts of the Andes, including a hike along the Sonche Canyon. It's just a short minivan ride (3 soles per person) from the "Huancas Station" located on Ortiz Arrieta. Unfortunately for us, we were unable to enjoy the views as it started pouring rain right after we got off the minivan. Plus, as there was no bus to take us back, we ended up walking the long way back. Don't fret, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and pastries at the local bakery, Panaderia San Jose, once we got back into town.
We also ventured into trying one of Chachapoyas' specialities, licores, which are cane spirits made with fruits and plants of the jungle. We sampled these at La Reina but not before our hostel manager warned us to "beware of the rainbow" (you might recall this from our Instagram). It wasn't long before we understood what he meant. The spirits were beautiful in color, ranging from light yellow to dark red, and were quite strong. So strong that we could barely finish them!
Below is a list of the flavors we tried (from left to right):
-Maracuya (passion fruit)
-Poro poro (a deciduous tree - the spirit is made with the fruit)
-Chuchuhuasi (Amazonian tree - the spirit is made from the bark soaked in brandy and honey)
-Aguaymanto (Peruvian ground cherry, similar to gooseberry, browns on a shrub native to the Peruvian Andes)
The only one we actually liked was leche, which along with coffee is probably the least traditional flavor. I thought the guayaba and sauco flavors were also quite tasty but couldn't bring myself to finish the others on my own (Tyler had given up long before). As you can imagine, we left most of them unfinished...
There you have it! A peek into what we enjoyed doing in Chachapoyas. Next up, we go to Trujillo, the third largest city in Peru!