Cajamarca (also Gocta and Kuélap)

At the moment we reside in beautiful Cajamarca in the Andes mountain range. At a height of around 2750 meters there is clearly less oxygen. However the area surrounding the city looks gentle and lush and reminds me more of dunes (don´t ask me why). A closer inspection reveals loads of cacti (yes that is supposed to be the plural of cactus), some as big as trees!

We went on a brilliantly comfortable bus ride from Tarapoto to Chachapoyas. The only thing removing the ride from absolute perfection was the constant rain of puke coming down on our windows from the guy on the second floor of the bus. From Chachapoyas we endeavored on a three-hour hike to the Catarata Gocta, a waterfall 771 meters high.

[Us at the bottom of Cocta!]

Because the water descends from such a great height it disperses into a mist of tiny water droplets by the time it reaches the small lake at the bottom of the fall. Not only did this mist soak you completely in under one minute it also tended to feel more like hail than your average European foggy weather. The hike turned out to be a nice preparatory walk for our next climb to Kuélap.

[The entrance.]

[From the side.]

From Chachapoyas we went to Tingo (a very small town) and left at 5:30 AM for the 1200 meter climb to the ancient ruins of Kuélap. The Lonely Planet warned to allow five to six hours but it took us only 2:30 (Anne) and 3:15 (Peter and I) hours. However the Lonely Planet might be right after all as I literally had to drag my legs over the final steps. The ruins were amazing though and definitely worth the struggle. To me it felt like I was really walking between the remnants of an ancient civilization.

From Tingo we finally took a bus ride to Cajamarca where we arrived yesterday.

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