Discover Kuelap: The Majestic Machu Picchu of the North

Discover Kuelap: The Majestic Machu Picchu of the North

Kuelap: The Ancient Fortress City in the Clouds of Northern Peru
Embark on a journey to Kuelap, the magnificent pre-Incan fortress nestled high in the cloud forests of Northern Peru. Explore its ancient mysteries and architectural wonders with our comprehensive guide.

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Kuelap, often referred to as the "Machu Picchu of the North," is a spectacular fortress city built by the Chachapoyas, also known as the "Warriors of the Clouds." This monumental site predates the Incan civilization and is perched atop a high mountain in the Amazonas region of Northern Peru. Its massive walls, intricate architecture, and lush, cloud-forested setting offer a unique glimpse into a mysterious culture. This guide unveils the beauty and history of Kuelap, inviting you to explore one of Peru's most awe-inspiring ancient wonders.

Journey to Kuelap

Accessing Kuelap combines modern convenience with the allure of adventure. Visitors can reach the site by a combination of road travel and a cable car ride, offering breathtaking views of the Andean landscape. The cable car journey not only cuts down travel time but also provides a panoramic perspective of the valley below.

Exploring the Fortress
  • Kuelap's Grand Walls: Marvel at the towering exterior walls, which reach up to 20 meters in height and enclose the city.

  • The Tintero: Investigate this unique circular structure with a conical base, believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes.

  • Living Quarters and Ceremonial Buildings: Wander through the remains of over 400 buildings, offering insights into the daily and spiritual lives of the Chachapoyas people.

The People of the Clouds

Dive into the history of the Chachapoyas culture, known for their engineering prowess and resilience. Despite their eventual conquest by the Incas, the legacy of the Chachapoyas is vividly alive in Kuelap's architecture and the stories it holds.

Flora and Fauna

The cloud forest ecosystem surrounding Kuelap is home to a rich biodiversity. Look out for orchids, bromeliads, and various bird species, including the iconic Andean condor.

When to Visit

Kuelap welcomes visitors year-round, but the dry season from May to October offers clearer skies and more comfortable exploration conditions.

Planning Your Visit

Getting There

Kuelap is accessible from the city of Chachapoyas, with public transport and tour options available to the site. The recent addition of a cable car system from the nearby town of Nuevo Tingo makes the journey easier and more scenic.

Tours and Guides

Consider joining a guided tour to enhance your visit with historical insights and stories about Kuelap and the Chachapoyas culture. Local guides can provide a deeper understanding of the site's significance.


Stay in Chachapoyas or nearby villages for a complete experience of the region's culture and hospitality. Accommodations range from hostels to comfortable lodges.

Essentials to Bring
  • Comfortable walking shoes for uneven terrain

  • Light rain gear, especially outside the dry season

  • Sun protection, including sunscreen and hats

  • Water and snacks for energy

  • A camera to capture the fortress and stunning landscapes


Kuelap, the magnificent "Machu Picchu of the North," invites you on a journey not just through the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Peru but also through the corridors of time. As you stand amidst the ancient ruins, enveloped by the ethereal beauty of the cloud forest, you're not merely a visitor; you become a part of the enduring legacy of the Chachapoyas culture.

This unparalleled adventure, however, is best experienced when tailored specifically to your interests, needs, and spirit of discovery. Our in-country custom trip planners are the only ones equipped to design such a personalized and immersive journey. With their deep knowledge and local insights, they will craft a bespoke itinerary that brings you face-to-face with Kuelap's wonders, complemented by authentic experiences in the surrounding region that are not available to the general tourist.

Embarking on this adventure with our team ensures that you'll enjoy a journey meticulously planned to highlight the majesty of Kuelap, with the convenience and reassurance of expert planning. Let us open the doors to a world of ancient marvels, exclusive explorations, and personal revelations. Contact our in-country specialists today to begin crafting your dream trip to the fortress city in the clouds.