Travelstory #5 : The Mausoleums of Revash and Museum of Leymebamba

Travelstory #5: The Mausoleums of Revash and the Museum of Leymebamba

After a last night at Estancia el Chillo, Philippe, co-founder of Phima Voyages, picks us up to continue our program and guides us to different places we will visit today.

The Mausoleums of Revash

This morning, we are going to the Mausoleums of Revash. They are located about 1 hour by car from the Estancia. If you come from Chachapoyas, it takes about 2 hours get there. Then there are 2 options available to you: if you go by car, you can stop approximately 45 minutes before the village of San Bartolo and take a small hike of 5 km to climb up to the Mausoleums of Revash. This will take you about 2 hours Or you can go directly to San Bartolo by car, the option we chose!

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Arrived at the village, we parked in the central square, to be able to buy the entrance tickets (which for us are included in the journey we won). The price is 10 soles (3 dollars) per person. The path to Revash is in very good condition. Residents have received financial assistance from the state, which allowed them to completely asphalt the 1,5 km road, and everything in just 3 months. The last part of the path remains a dirt path. This part is not less important because it is very narrow and your feet will be only 10 small centimetres of the edge, sensation guaranteed.

Mausoleums of Revash, travel to northern Peru

Incredible funeral rituals

It takes us 20 minutes before we can see the mausoleums. Revash is a funeral complex of small houses located in a cave dug into the rock. We do not know much about this site, but what is certain is that these mausoleums each contained several mummies. At the time of the Chachapoya, only the people of great importance were buried there. The houses are almost intact.

To see them up there, on the cliff, erected, we wondered how the Chachapoyas built them and the carried all the mummies there. Even with today’s means, the operation would be very dangerous and almost impossible. The mystery will remain intact !

After half an hour dedicated to the photos, we took the way back.

Museum of Leymebamba

Continuing with the program takes us to Leymebamba, a 45 minute drive from Revash. The main tourist attraction of the village is the Museum, located 10 minutes from downtown.

The first question that we ask ourselves is why to construct a museum so distant from the main cities. In fact, Leymebamba is the closest town to the Laguna de los Cóndores, a place where numerous archaeological remains were discovered. To preserve them better in term of climate and transport, the museum has been specially built for this collection. The architecture is also inspired in part by the Chachapoya culture.

In the interior, we can admire many objects that were used in the daily life or for funeral rites. There are also explanations about the main places around such as Revash and Kuelap.

The highlight of the visit is the collection of almost 300 mummies all found in the Laguna de los Cóndores. They are kept in a special room to guarantee the optimal conditions for its conservation, since these young people are still no less than 6 centuries old! You can admire them behind a glass, but honestly, the presence of the glass is reassuring because they are frankly mind-boggling: Curled up in a fetal position, with their hands on their faces, with all their teeth perfectly preserved, it seems they could rise at any moment.

It is necessary to recognize that we are not much of “museum persons”, but this one is very well done. Only for the mummies, the Museum of Leymebamba is worth seeing. Take about 2 hours to have time for a detailed visit.

Wood carver artist

During this visit, we admire many reproductions of famous objects. We are delighted to know that Philippe decided to take us to meet the sculptor. Miguel lives on the road between Leymebamba and the museum. We find him in his studio in full development of wood carving.

Miguel was part of the archaeological excavation team in 1997. He began to make these reproductions to satisfy the demand of the souvenirs of the museum. The success now is that big that he exports these objects to Lima and even internationally. His workshop includes replicas of Kuelap houses or Sarcophagi of Karajia, lamps and coat pegs. I was very disappointed that day because Miguel had almost nothing to sell. And yes, it is the price of success (and it is good for him!). I must say that he makes all those objects himself and that that he also hand paints them personnally. But I confess I had the opportunity to buy a little item a couple of days later, signed by Miguel Huaman. This one is now located with pride in our living room.

Weaving Demonstration in Leymebamba

The afternoon of discovery continues with Javier and his wife, in Leymebamba. Javier is the president of the local tourism association and known in every corner. He invited us to his house so his wife could give us a demonstration of weaving. She shows us that she had just prepared her weaving loom which takes almost 3 hours! The weaving method is impressive and despite her explanation and after looking at it for a while, we still do not understand how it is possible to do all this, a scarf with complex motifs. Well, apparently, her husband, after all these years doesn’t know it either 🙂

Where to sleep in Leymebamba

After all these meetings, it is time to return to the hotel. For our short stay in Leymebamba, we stayed at the hotel “La Casona”. The hotel has a large and very flowery courtyard, where if you are lucky enough to have good weather, you can see many birds (including beautiful hummingbirds!)

And besides, we are spoiled. The room has a large window overlooking a quiet garden with views of the surrounding mountains. Perfect for a good break after the big day!

Useful Information

Mausoleums of Revash : 2 hours from Chachapoyas ; entrance 10 soles ; all the tour takes about 1 hour 15, round trip.

Museum of Leymebamba : 10 minutes by car from downtown Leymebamba ; 2 hours visit ;  photos forbidden.

Where to sleep : Hotel La Casona

Where to eat : Restaurant « Le Mishqui » in the main square of the village; 7 soles the menu (soup+ main dish + drinks)

Other activities : possibility of excursion to the ruins of  the Congona ; 4 hours round trip for the “small” hiking, and 7 -8 hours for the long version.


This article is an English translation of the article of  Voyage Peru: Recit de voyage: Mausolées de Revash

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