Cha Cha Cha

As much as we liked taking a boat down the Amazon, the return journey wasn’t quite as fun. Not that it was a bad trip; it was just same-old, same-old. It took a little bit longer too, so we ended up spending 3 nights aboard.

Banana raft. Which reminds me…while we were in Iquitos I read about a yearly raft race on the Amazon. Participants build their own 4-person rafts and steer them down the river for 3 days or so. If you want to be on my team next year, you should let me know.

4 boats in one! I wonder if they all need repairs?

This kid flew his bag kite off the side of the boat for about 20 minutes until it got loose.

Sunset on the Amazon.

Have they all melted, or are they just running around naked while their laundry dries?

This kid enjoyed belly-flopping into the water repeatedly.

At every stop food vendors came aboard to sell their wares.

You can buy an exotic bird from the Amazon for less than $10.

A picture perfect sky!

After getting off the boat in Yurimaguas we ran into a bit of a road block — literally. The whole town was in the middle of a 48-hour protest that barred any traffic from entering or leaving the city. We had to sit around for most of the day, but luckily the protest ended around 5 and we were allowed to head to Tarapoto. (By the way, these town names should sound familiar — we went through them on the way into the jungle).

The protest blocking the road. Turns out they were protesting deforestation.

In order not to repeat our entire journey into the jungle we stopped in a different mountain town on the way back to Trujillo. The town, Chachapoyas, boasts several tourist traps nearby, and we found ourselves caught. We went on 3 separate day trips in the area.

The first day we went to Kuelap, which is a site of Chachapoyas (a tribe of “cloud people”) ruins. The ruins are often said to be the second best in Peru, after the Incan Machu Picchu, of course. After visiting the ruins our guide told us that we could walk down the hill to a town called Tingo, where he would meet us for the ride back to Chachapoyas. We thought that sounded nice. 3 hours, 10 kilometers, and several thousand feet (down) later, we made it to Tingo. He didn’t really mention that the hike was so involved, and my knees were killing afterward. Ah well.


A bunch of llamas live outside Kuelap.

The Kuelap ruins are remarkable because the Chachapoyas people built and lived in circular homes.

The cool diamond shaped decorations are also a popular feature of Kuelap.

Some archaeologist decided to “reconstruct” one of the structures in Kuelap. Apparently, this was controversial and the Peruvian government plans to tear it down sometime in the future. Ironically, posters of the reconstruction are what convince most tourists to visit.

Everyone likes monkeys, even though I highly doubt any monkeys ever lived in this region of the country.

We passed some small houses on the way down to Tingo.

We passed a wee piggy, too.

On the way from Kuelap to Tingo…

After barely recovering from our Kuelap trip, Mike and I woke up at 5am again the next day to head towards more archaeological sites. First we visited the Pueblo de los Muertos, which was a ceremonial site perched precariously on the side of a cliff.

We encountered an obstacle on the way to our tourist sites for the day: a bridge had collapsed a few days earlier, killing a few unfortunate souls.


At Pueblo de los Muertos several small statues sit tucked away in the cliffs. The locals call them sarcofagi.

As I said, the structures were very precariously perched on the cliff.

Mike poses on the edge of oblivion.

My turn.

In the afternoon we visited another site called Ayachaki. There were a few more sarcofagi and some crazy trails to hike.

This head was just sticking out of the cliff.

There were a few precarious buildings at Ayachaki as well.

Our third side trip from Chachapoyas brought us to La Catarata Gocta, which was billed as the third tallest waterfall in the world. We had our doubts about the veracity of that statement, but we thought the hike and the waterfall would be nice anyway. It turns out that we were right to doubt it, because various sources make other claims (such as 5th or 14th). At any rate, Gocta is 771 meters tall, which is still pretty big. The hike there turned out to be 6 kilometers one-way, which was another unexpected surprise. The tour agencies really don’t reveal much info, and some of the people in our group really weren’t in the kind of shape to be hiking for 12k up and down muddy embankments. Ah well, we enjoyed the hike nevertheless.

One of the women, at least, had a ride for the rough terrain.

Check out this awesome rock!

Here’s a pic of the 2-level waterfall from a distance.

And here is the bottom part of the falls with me pictured in the red circle (squint real hard or click on the picture to enlarge it a bit). Mike had to stitch together several pics to get the whole thing.

2 Responses to “Cha Cha Cha”
  1. Kristen says:

    Everything looks awesome! What caused that rock to look so bizarre? Any idea?

  2. Jen says:

    Hi! Jen here, Zane and Ally’s cousin. I’ve been reading your blog! What an AMAZING adventure of a lifetime! Not to mention both of you are extremely talented with all of the photos and poems! I hope you don’t mind me living vicariously though your adventures. Thank you for sharing!!

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