The cradle of the ancient Chachapoya civilization, the city was overrun by the Incas in the fifteenth century, and decades later, after the Spanish Conquest, was founded once more by the Spaniards with the name of Chachapoyas. The main square and the narrow pebbled streets that have been preserved until today date back to these times. Some 70 km west lies the fortress of Kuelap, the bastion of the Chachapoya tribe, a citadel whose access is through narrow walled passages like sloping funnels which helped to keep out invaders.
Those same passageways today host tours led by experienced local guides. Other attractions include Laguna de las Momias (a region where archaeologists discovered more than 280 mummies), or the Karajia burial tombs, which stand 2 meters high and are made of hardened clay. Wedged into a mountain cliff, the sarcophagi appear to guard over their ancestral grounds.
Amazonas is known for its joyful dances and colorful festivals. The town of Jalca, which is held to be the capital of jungle folklore, holds a series of celebrations all year-long, blending the rituals of local tribes with Christianity. Tasty local dishes worth sampling include the Purtumute, Tacacho and Cecina.