Chachapoyas – Karajias

My, almost, last stop on my road through Peru was Chachapoyas. A small town in the northern mountains of Peru, that is just starting to market some of its incredible sights for tourism and most of what can be seen is “going to be analysed by archeologist in 2012”, meaning there is not always a wealth of information available. Nevertheless guides are usually very enthusiastic and will happily share with you all that is known at this point in time.

Many of those sites are a little remote and hard to get to in public transportation, therefore I tried out pre-organized tours. The first led me to Karajias, a burial site of the Chachapoyas or almost. I booked the tour for Karajias and included in that tour was a visit of the cavern Quiocta to see some stalagmites/stalactites.

As I have seen my fair share of stalactites I wasn’t all that eager to go there, but it turned out to be good fun. When I said that the area is still developing tourism, this also applied to said cavern. Instead of following a built bath and looking at lid stalagmites, we each got a pair of boots and the guide got a huge flash light and we set off to explore the cavern on our own.

The fact that the the entry region of the cavern used to be an indian burial site also makes for a unique experience.. Imagining that you´re walking over a lot of skulls and bones, with some of them actually lying around, is definitely a first for me.

After a short lunch we then set out to visit Karajias, the tombs of important leaders of the Chachapoya people. They buried their people in statues high up in the walls and cliffs looking out on the valley. Even though nobody ever ransacked the place only a few of these “watch posts” remain today, due to natural erosion and earth quakes destroying them. Imagine what it must have looked like when there were not 6 but 100 of those statues in the wall!

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