Museums: why not Leymebamba?
Does the word “Leymebamba” sound familiar? Probably not, which is a shame. Leymebamba is a small town in the department of Amazonas, close to the start of the Amazon forest.
Read more: Is Chachapoyas in the Jungle?
Poor and isolated, like most of the surrounding areas, it is nonetheless worth a special trip to see its beautiful museum.It’s a very modern, beautifully organised museum cataloguing the remnants of the Chachapoyas culture that dominated the North of Peru centuries ago, rivalling the Inkas. They were tall and fair, with light eyes and hair. Their descendants have preserved those characteristics:
The museum was built with funds from the Austrian government (of all sources!) and the labour of the local community, which gives it an incomparable cute and cozy feeling. People of Leymebamba and the surrounding areas literally participated in the archeological work uncovering the riches and transporting them to the museum from the jungle. That is why they get free access to the museum anytime, while us, foreigners, have to pay 10 soles to get in. However, despite the low price, the museum gets only about 6000 visitors a year, of whom only 2000 are foreigners. More people need to see this place and learn about this culture, so get on it, people!
Here is some practical information: you need to travel to Chachapoyas from Lima. Take Civa bus, they have the lowest prices at 80 and 110 soles for a seat (depending on it being cama or semi-cama) while maintaining a good comfort level with reasonable food on board. The bus ride is about 22 hours long, so don’t forget your music or a book, although you can also watch the latest movies that they show on small TV sets. From Chachapoyas you can take a combi or a colectivo to Leymebamba, which will be about an hour away. Negotiate your price to make sure it does not deviate too much from 10 soles, unless you are feeling generous, because there is indeed much poverty in this part of the country.
And that is all. Do try to explore the North, for it has beautiful nature, genuine people, mysterious and exciting history, and is basically a whole different world. Not to mention the abundance of delicious fruit and a fabulous cuisine in general. Throw in some amazing museums and archeological sites, and this is any travel junkie’s heaven. Maybe if Pariwana opens up a new location up there, more people will be willing to explore this thrilling part of Peru, because who doesn’t love to come back to an awesome hostel after a long day’s exploring?