PARIWANA BLOG

Enjoy Leimebamba and The beautiful Laguna de los Condores

If you find yourself in or around Chachapoyas it’s either because you had enough time to add this destination into your itinerary after seeing Machu Pichu and Cuzco, or it’s because you’re the kind of backpacker who really wants to see something a little less-popular. Well, Chachapoyas is the perfect town, and nearby there are some perfect attraction to excite your sense of adventure.

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About 60 kilometers south of Chachapoyas is the district of Leimebamba. Here, you’ll find a museum that is very much worth the 10 sol entry fee. First off, arriving to the interesting museum is great in and of itself. You’ll have to jump onto one of those packed little minivans that’ll bring you south along the raging river, which at points looks like it wants to overflow its banks. After an hour or so driving under the rock face outcroppings that form shelters over the road, you’ll arrive to Leimebamba museum. This awesome Peruvian museum is located a bit south of town, but you could walk there if you felt inclined.

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So, what kinds of things are you going to find in the museum? Well, the nearby Laguna de los Condores was the site, in 1996 of a great discovery. They found tombs filled with artifacts and mummies! This museum displays important finds, not unlike the small Museum of Sipan. You’ll find funeral urns, beautiful and old tattered fabrics, cermaics and wood carvings, crowns, and other equally important objects.

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The most interesting things, though, are the mummies themselves. After a few cases of looting and vandalism at the site, the Peruvian government undertook the steps necessary to protect the find. Now, everything from the tombs is housed in this museum. Included are several examples of quipus, the knotted recording system used by the Incan Empire.

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Eventually a hearty backpacker is going to want to make their way to the Laguna de los Condores itself. The high cloud forest lagoon sits a 10-hour hike from Leimebamba. Guides and horses are usually recommended, but you can handle it in groups as well. You should give yourself three days; two for going and coming, and one for exploring the beautiful mountain lagoon.

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The water is a blue-green color. You’ll love it once you arrive, after having overcome the difficult approach through swamps and steep mountain faces. The old mausoleums were the natural caves that you see carved into the limestone cliff faces around the lagoon. There were over 18 sites, some as old as 500 years! The lagoon is named for having once been the home of soaring condors.

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You won’t find any hostels here, so come prepared on this arduous hike with camping equipment. Peruvian authorities enforce entry to these lagoons, and again, they recommend a guide.