Atop a cliff face overlooking the Utcubamba Valley below, the forgotten fortress of Kuelap occupies a strategic location that vies for the most inimitable citadel honour with the more famous Machu Picchu in South America.
Predates the Incan Empire by almost 600 years, the Chachpoyas crowns its engineering know-how in this rugged mountainous landscape with this massive structure which measures 600m long with a wall rising up to 19m in height. Inside are at least 400 buildings for a population measured at around 2,000 people. This remarkable civilization saw its demise when its southern neighbour, the advancing and conquering Incan empire finally reached this part of peru in the 15 century.
I caught the first bus leaving the provincial capital Chachapoyas at 4 in the morning and managed to arrive for this beautiful sunrise 2 hours later.