We arrived around 2:30 AM to the bus stop which was the middle of a street. After I got my pack and saw all people from the bus leaving hurriedly in the first cab available and watching the surroundings looking pretty much like a shanty town at night, I thought of getting a place asap. Chachapoyas may be a safe place or not but who wants to take risks in an unknown street at night in a town you don´t know.
So I got to the closest hotel. Yenny.
Cheap, with a good lock in the door, enough to wait for the morning. The room actually left a lot to be desired, there was something like blood in one of the walls and the beds had a single sheet on top of the mattress and that was it. You also had the wool-like blankets, that I was sure wouldn’t be washed and changed for each guest.
I missed my sleeping bag.
For s/10 ($3.85 aprox.) I stayed there until daylight arrived. On the plus side, the guy was very kind, and in spite of being the early morning answered all my questions and gave me some advice about transportation, the city, the state of the roads…
Well, the morning arrived and got out to check the town, have breakfast and check what to do. Daylight didn’t help making the room look any nicer.
Passed along the market; lots of fruits to see and taste so I had a mixed fruits juice -“surtido”- for s/ 0.80, then I got to the main square; not much opened as it was around 8 AM. Some tour operator agencies were opened but nobody there to ask or answer questions. Bizarre.
Finally I got to a place that offered many tours and also treks. Interesting. The place was also beautiful, an old house with central garden and balcony surrounding it. The owner had many treks -well, part walking and part on mini bus- and also one day visits; he explained to me all the many places to visit and the options for doing it, with pictures and maps. As I have climbed and trekked in the Cordillera Blanca I could notice he answered some very specific questions first hand. Easily he is one of the most knowledgeable guys in adventure trips here.
After talking to him, watching the pictures you begin to wonder why this area is not the second Macchu Picchu. Seriously. There is so much to be seen, places so great as Kuelap -in spite of not being fully cleaned up-. Of course all the services you find in Cuzco, like the many restaurants, discos, and night life in general didn’t appear after one night. But with some promotion, and planned services this could be a really great tourist destination. I mean it is, but it is just not known.
He also made me notice that the place was a hostel as well. And offered me a deal in a single room with private bathroom. A good deal.
All I got to say after getting into the room was.. wow.
This room compared to the other was like day and night. The house is beautiful, with wooden logs on top of the white ceiling, all furniture in wood, rustic style. A clean bathroom with plenty of hot water, a small TV with cable for the slow rainy afternoons and a window with a view. It felt like a goddess was smiling to me. And they accepted my credit card.
Got the room and booked the Kuelap tour. We’ll see about Gocta later.
Exchange rate – 2.60 soles per dollar.
Revash hotel – facing the main square. 45 soles a single room. Ask and you may get a deal, particularly if it is the low season or things are slow.
Tours to Kuelpa, Gocta, Karajia, etc are around 65 soles.
Many treks possible, ask in Revash hotel.
map from Mincetur