Built by the Chachapoyas, the fortified citadel of Kuelap was home to the Warriors of the Cloud in Peru before they were conquered by invaders. Massive stone walls and hundreds of ruins stand as a reminder of a formidable culture lost to history. The impressive nature of the Kuelap ruins explains why it is sometimes referred to as Peru’s Second Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is arguably one of the most well-known archaeological sites in Peru. Its builders, the Incas, are also one of the most recognizable peoples of South America. For instance, the Peruvian minister of foreign trade and tourism, José Luis Silva Martinot claimed in 2011 that 70 percent of international tourists that travel to Peru are there just to see Cusco or Machu Picchu, both of which are Incan sites. Yet, Peru has so much more to offer, as it is also home to many other archaeological sites, native tribes, and cultures. One such site is Kuelap, built by the Chachapoyas culture.
Ruins with decorated walls at Kuelap, Peru. (peter /Adobe Stock)