Chachapoyas is a little town with about 40 000 inhabitants. It is also the regional capital of the Amazonas region in Northern Peru.
When you walk through Chachapoyas, you can’t miss the colonial heritage of the Spanish. Chachapoyas has more than 4 500 wodden balconies on the white facades in the city center. The Plaza de Armas is a place where Chachapoyans meet at the end of the day.
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At the moment you can get to Chachapoyas either by private transportation or by bus. By bus you could come either from Trujillo or from Chiclayo on the Northern coast of Peru by night bus (respectively 12 and 10 hours drive). Take a seat that can be transformed into a bed (up to 160°) so that you can sleep on the way. It is true that a day trip is rather very long and boring.
From Tarapoto, closer to the Amazonian region, you will have to take a combi like Turismo Selva to bring you to Chachapoyas in about 7 – 8 hours.
Apart from the Plaza de Armas, Chachapoyas has as well a really nice pedestrian area where you can stroll and buy some souvenirs or have a coffee. But then there is also a choice of cultural activities.
The Santa Ana ethno-religious and historical museum is only 10 minutes by foot from the Plaza. By taking a taxi, you can visit Yana Yacu, the remaining part of an Inca Trail that is situated in another part of the town and still used by the locals.
Another place to visit are the Plaines of Higos Hurco, a decisif battle in the Independance Battle of Peru, or the Canyon of Sonche, close to Huancas, only 15 minutes by car.
And by the way, it is right in Huancas that the women are well known for their ceramic, which is really a nice thing to see and learn about.
Directly on the Plaza de Armas in Chachapoyas, Amazonas, you have the little Museum of the Culture Ministry with some original archaeological pieces and some mummies – just a little overview of the Chachapoya culture. The Museum is small, but very well appointed and the lady in charge will tell you everything about the different periods and funeral habits.
The Mini-Market is just on the other side of the Plaza and is the local “Supermarket”, as it is here that you can find the most “exotic” products like cheese that is a little aged, all kind of alcohol and many other stuff that you might need one day (including spray paint, Kleenex, school notebooks, do it yourself tools…)
If you have some time, you have to go and see the covered daily market, just a bloc away from the Plaza de Armas : Fruits, vegetables, brouhaha, colors – nothing better to get the ambiance of Chachapoyas.