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Visit Kuelap, Chachapoyan fortress
Take the road less travelled to visit an outstanding ancient ruin, the largest stone structure in South America.
It is no exaggeration to say that in terms of archaeological significance, Kuelap is on a par with Machu Picchu. However, tucked away as it is in a little-visited mountain realm, it receives a tiny fraction of the visitors, meaning that those that do come are often met with the increasingly rare feeling of having an extraordinary treasure all to themselves.
Leave the beaten track far behind to visit this remarkable site, quietly commanding a view from its mountain perch on the far edge of Andean civilisation. The complex contains around 400 circular stone houses, set across multiple levels and enclosed by a colossal wall – the largest stone structure in South America. Parts of the fortress are still thatched by a tangle of jungle plants, and bromeliads sneak between nooks in the stonework, all adding to the sense of stumbling upon an undiscovered ruin.
The recently inaugurated Kuelap cable car adds a new dimension to a visit to the site and is sure to increase visitor numbers to the region - a welcome boost to the local economy. The telecabinas cross the valley in just 20 minutes, which means the overall journey time is about 30 minutes shorter than when travelling by road and the magnificent views across the valley ensure a scenic start to your Kuelap experience.
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Real Latin America Experts
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.