12 Hours Drive from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas.

Where to stop?

The travel option was quite limited between Cajamarca to Chachapoyas and we don’t want to miss out on the impressive views from the road. Was it worth the journey?  We took a 12 hours drive from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas through the Andes.

Yes, it’s absolutely worth it. The road trip between Cajamarca to Chachapoyas was pretty interesting. You would go up and down through the winding Andes roads. At one point you drive into the clouds on top of a mountain range, then you are at the bottom of the mountain. 

Click to read A complete bus journey to the middle of the world, Cajamarca to Quito.

Distance between Cajamarca to Chachapoyas? 

As the crow flies the distance between Cajamarca and Chachapoyas is 125 kilometers (78 miles). But, the driving distance from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas is 323 kilometers (201 miles). 

Travel Cajamarca to Chachapoyas by night bus 

Virgen del Carmen is the only bus company connecting these two cities.  At the time of our trip, there was only a night bus option which departed at 18:00.  We were glad that we took the private taxi option which made our journey more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Where to stop between Cajamarca and Chachapoyas? 

This is the beauty of arranging private transfers for such a long journey. It’s not too bad in terms of price considering what you would pay in Europe.  You can ask to stop as much as you want to take in the scenery, the entire journey was picturesque.  It also helps the driver to have some rest too.  Our driver had to chew the dry coca leaves along the journey to keep him awake and energised. 

road trip to chachapoyas, Blue Sky and Wine Travel Blog
Moody Andes. driving through mountians

First stop: Celendín 

Celendín has an interesting history which you can read more information online.  I was convinced to make a visit after reading other people’s reviews.  However, I personally think the town is pretty average, except it’s a lot smaller.  

Don’t expect to see a cafe here, but it’s a good place to stop so you get to explore more of the Northern Peruvian culture. 

The main plaza is dominated by the blue, 19th-Century Church of the Holy Virgin of Carmen.  Celendin has a Saturday market, which is particularly known for its straw hats.  A modern Christ the Redeemer statue overlooks the town. It is a short walk from the town center and affords good views of Celendin and the surrounding countryside.

Celendín street, Blue Sky and Wine Travel Blog
A street view in Celendín

We bought some snacks in the local shop for the journey.  It would be great to see a good local cafe here though, since it’s a major stop connecting between Cajamarca and Chachapoyas. 

Second stop: Museo de Leimebamba

Well, we made many stops along the way, including a flat tyre break in the rain.  We had a look into the Leymebamba museum (Museo de Leimebamba) at 4.40pm which closes at 5pm for that day.  We had our fast visit for 20 minutes. 

What will you see in Museo de Leimebamba? 

This museum was built to provide a place for the preservation of the mummies and archaeological materials recovered from Laguna de los Cóndores in 1997.  It was conducted by Centro Mallqui with contributions from the international community.  

The museum contains many of the mummies found at the Laguna de los Condores site, along with their funerary offerings.  It also has information about the region’s flora and fauna, and a display of quipus found in the area.

Leymebamba Museum, Blue Sky and Wine Travel Blog
Mummified bodies wrapped inside dry straw / wood …
Leymebamba Museum, Blue Sky and Wine Travel Blog
The little window tomb for the mummies

After seeing all the mummy collections, it connected up with the site we just visited yesterday – Las Ventanillas del Otuzco in Cajamarca.  You would see and learn how the mummification process works and how they are fitted inside the little window.  

Third Stop – Leimebamba

Museo de Leimebamba is only a few kilometers away from Leimebamba. The town is really small and quiet, which I really liked.  There were some restaurants in the main square, where we had our dinner before the remaining journey to Chachapoyas.  You will also see local commuter buses that connect between Leimbamba and Chachapoyas.  

Leymebamba Square corner, Blue Sky and Wine Travel Blog
Town Center in Leimebamba

A little wiki about Leimebamba 

Due to our limited time we had to skip Leimebamba.  However, the region itself has a lot of local attractions.  If we had more time I would take a break in this town.  You can visit Laguna de los Condores, either hiking or on horseback. 

There are also many pre-Inca ruins in the region, such as Congona, Petaca and Diablo Wasi, reaching these ruins can be done on foot, with a selection of one-day and multi-day hikes. 

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