After visiting Kuelap, I decided that it would be fun to see what Kuelap may have looked like before restauration took place. La Congena is supposedly the most impressive unrestaured ruin in the surrounding. The very nice person from the tourist agency explained to me how to get to Leimebamba indepedently and which buses to take. The options listed in my travel guide ( leave at 8pm, return at 3am, so almost 3days) sounded somewhat unthrilling.
I arrived in Leimebamba early in the morning and started looking for a guide that would show me the way to the ruins. However I was unable to find one, so that I eventually set out on my own. As before, I ran into very many people on the way and could frequently asked for the way, which was a great help as I wouldn’t have found it on my own.
The hike itself is absolutely gorgeous, the countryside is a lucious green with a multitude of different trees and plants and the occasional, isolated farm. The path is a well maintained path, that meanders through the hills crossing small rivers and finally ending atop a small mountain.
On that mountain La Congena is almost entirely hidden in a small forest, just one brave house is visible from the road and tells you where to search for the remaining ruins. (on the left) Once inside the forest, small paths lead from one house to another,some of them featuring, again, the decorative eyes of the snake or condor. I (almost) felt like the first explorer to stumble upon those ruins while searching for the few caracteristic items I rememebered from the tour through Kuelap the day before like the decorative animal eyes.
The overgrown and half hidden ruins have an incredible charm and I would very much recommend the hike to everyone.
Even though I did start from Leimebamba, I did not find the time to visit the much recommended museum there, which shows the mummies recently found at the laguna del condor. (Named this way to attract more tourists, not because there actually are condors in that area. :p). This was due to the fact that I had a choice of leaving at 3pm or 3am and I was not that eager to spend a night outised in front of a bus office in the dark waiting for the bus…