The minibus rolled into Chacha in the early evening, but the town was still impressive after the run from the border. As we approached everything felt different – older, funkier, and with more character. We shouldered our backpacks and made the short hike to the main square, the Plaza de Armas. The Hotel Revash had been recommended to us in Vilcabamba and it did not disappoint. Right on the main square, in typical colonial Spanish building over 200 years old. We got a nice corner room on the second floor, with attached bath, for 60 Peruvian Solas per night, about $25. We had to bargain hard to get it down to that price, but since we were bargaining for two rooms they finally met our price. Most likely because they make their main money from the tours, and they knew that we were more likely to use their service if we were happily staying there.
The Wiki on Chacha has this to say:
Chachapoyas is a city in northern Peru at an elevation of 2,235 meters (7,657 ft). The city has a population of approximately 20,279 people. Situated in the mountains far from the Peruvian coast, Chachapoyas remains fairly isolated from other regions of Peru. Named San Juan de la Frontera de los Chachapoyas, Spanish colonials moved the city to its present location in 1545.
Since the ruins of Kuelap were quite a distance away, and the two-day journey had taken quite a lot of energy, we decided to spend the next day exploring the town and markets and to also make a short visit to Huancasa, a nearby village on the rim of the impressive Sonche canyon. We picked up all the fixings for avocado sandwiches for lunch at the market, and also had a great mixed fruit smoothie up on the second floor. Then, with Heike and Eric, we caught a local minivan to the village and, after a casual stroll through the dirt streets, crested a hill and were gob-smacked by a view of nearly Grand Canyon proportions.
It was a perfect afternoon, strolling the walkway to scenic viewpoints, then climbing to the top of a watchtower where we made sandwiches. We saw some really weird looking chickens scratching in the dirt, too. Before leaving we played on the seesaw…that’s right, a seesaw! Then we bought some goldenberries (Physalis peruviana ) from the woman selling tickets. It was my first close encounter with this Incan superfood. I’d seen bags of dried goldenberries in Vilcabamba, but they were too expensive. On our next visit to the market, we bought some goldenberry jam and used it throughout the rest of our trip. When a minivan for ChaCha pulled up we managed to get seats and bounced back to town.