Travel Story #2: Chachapoyas and the Canyon of Sonche

Amazonas Region

Travel Story #2 – Chachapoyas and the Sonche Canyon

The least we can say is that Chachapoyas is a city that you have to deserved ! From Lima, we take a bus trip of not less than 23 hours (with the company “Movil Tours”). However, the trip turned out to be quite comfortable. In fact, the bus for the long trips have great seats, “beds” which can be tilted almost horizontally to sleep. Films are projected on the screens that are arranged above the seats or personal (like on planes) and various meals are served during the journey.

The blog section of Phima Voyages is a mine of information on places to visit in Northern Peru. Do not miss the publication of our articles and to have our Free Guide of the 10 places to visit in the North of Peru. Click here.

A little warning for those who are subject to nausea:  The first part of the route follows the coast and is relatively quiet, but the last 5 hours in the mountains turn a lot ! Also, near Chachapoyas the road up the hill becomes downright impressive. But do not worry, because the Movil Tours team is ready for everything: Vomit Bags are distributed!

Good news for those who don’t like to travel by bus: Since October, there is an airline (LATAM Airlines) flying between Lima and Jaen. From the airport of Jaen, you only have another 4 hours by car until arriving at the city of Chachapoyas.

Chachapoyas

Arriving at Chachapoyas in the afternoon, Philippe and Martina, the founders of the travel agency “Phima Voyages” welcome us. They organized the competition through which we can now explore this beautiful region of northern Peru.

Martina and Philippe know our state of fatigue for having travelled by bus several times; they take us to the hotel where we will spend the first 2 nights: “La Posada del Arriero”. The hotel is located next to La Plaza de Armas, the main square of the city, where you find all the restaurants and shops. All rooms are built around a courtyard (as we will see later in other hotels as well). Ours is on the first floor, it is very large and equipped with TV and Wi – Fi.

We decide to walk a little to discover the city. Like this, we arrive at the main square to take some photos of the church and walk along the “Amazonas” street, which is a pedestrian area.

Trip to Northern Peru, Chachapoyas

At night, Martina and Philippe join us for some cocktails at Café Fusiones. They explain us in detail the organization of our stay. We get a map of the city with the names of hotels and restaurants where we will stay. Yes, everything is included in the trip we won! The detail of the restaurants where we ate during our entire stay in Chachapoyas and our impressions will be in a special section titled “Where to eat in Chachapoyas”.

Plaza de Armas Chachapoyas

Sonche Canyon

The next day, there is no organized program, we have our day off to rest and acclimate to the height.

Because the weather is beautiful, we decide to take advantage and go to the Sonche Canyon. After getting some information at the hotel, we go down the street where you will find the collectivos. The collectivos are minibuses that stop when you make a signal and they take you wherever you want. You can not miss them, because on each bus there is a person who shouts aloud the destination.

These vans are the main public transportation for Peruvians because the trip is much cheaper than a taxi. For example, the one we take to go to the Sonche Canyon costs us 3 soles per person for a 20 minute – trip, while a taxi would have taken us 15 soles.

The collectivo leaves us facing the square of the village of Huancas. From there we walk about 5 minutes to the entrance of the Canyon, which also costs 3 soles per person.

Impressive view

After climbing some stairs, we have an impressive view of the whole Canyon. Only a small wooden railing separates us from the space, or a stonewall in the lookout. I must confess that I feel a little vertigo! But I am not allowed to show this in the picture, breathe and smile!! It would be a pity not to be able to enjoy it, because at this time (9:30 am) there is no one else besides us.

Amazonas, Chachapoyas

And if you find that it is not high enough, there is a lookout that allows a more extended view of the Sonche Canyon.

Then we decide to take the path along the Canyon that offers some magnificent views. Know that you can either take a walk of an hour or even spend a day, the trail stretches for several miles. I recommend going early in the morning because as the day goes by, the sky tends to cover.

Amazonas Region

By leaving the Canyon, we pass through the town of Huancas, famous for its pottery. Many pottery workshops are situated around the Plaza, but unfortunately, we did not see a demonstration that day.

Region Amazonas, Sonche Canyon

To come back, and at the insistence of my boyfriend (because I do recognize that a quiet trip in the collectivo would not have bothered me), we decide to return to Chachapoyas walking. The walk is quite downhill and it takes us about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It was worth it, because the scenery is very beautiful. However, we will regret later in the day not having used caps and sun cream, because the sun is very strong down there. This will be the last time we forget them!

Sonche Canyon  – Useful Information

– Collectivo from Chachapoyas to Huancas: 20 minutes, 3 soles per person
– Entrance to the Canyon: 3 soles. Free visit
– Duration of the visit: from 1 hour 30 to half a day, depending on what you want to do. I advise going to the Canyon in the morning.
– Walk back to Chachapoyas, around 1 hour 30, downhill.

Region Amazonas, Northern Peru, Sonche Canyon

This article is an English translation of the article of  Voyage Peru.info.

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