We started our trip to the Spiti and Kinor vallies from Manali and headed out in a jeep to Kaza which is the main city in Spiti valley. The ride was long and hard (~10 hours) but the views were amazing.
The first few hours are dedicated to crossing the KardungLa which is one of the most beautiful and terrifying we ever had to go through. The Death Road in Bolivia seemed peanuts next to some of the moments there. The greeen lushes around you and the mountains all around are just beautiful. Once you cross the crossing you are in
So I wouldn't waste a day, I woke up early (8 am is early for me) and got into the first agency I found asking about the Kuelap fortress, considered one of the top attractions in Peru, but not many follow this recommendation in Chacha. But this is part of it's magic. Come! It's huge!
The tour guide said they leave now. "Now, now?" I asked. The group and the car were already set. I was given five minutes to run to the hotel and organize my gear. When I got back after five-south-american-minutes I found out that the group was gone. One of the agency guys, stopped a taxi and we drove to the outskirts of the town, where everyone was waiting for me. It was the most luxurious I'd seen in all of Peru.
The tour guide spoke only in Spanish and all the Gringos around him investigated him in fluent Spanish. Soon I discovered that most of them were staying in South America for several years, mainly work related. I relaxed - I'm not that bad at languages.
I got connected with Colin, a young man from Chicago who wandered alone for a month. At first I considered him as another dull American, and this is why I didn't understand what he was doing outside of the Cusco-Lima-Máncora line, but he asked many questions and talked about the jungle in Peru, India, and even showed impressive knowledge about my country's history and politics.
Kuelap fortress is found on one of many peaks surrounding Chacha. 3000 meters high, not a drop of snow. Only tropical green through to the horizon. He was built by this culture to protect against the invasion of huari-tiahuanaco coming from the Bolivia area. There are remnants of houses, where you can see there perfect round small form, and also reconstruction of the high straw roofs, higher than the houses themselves.
There's also a watch tower and a huge gate, and many beautiful ornaments of sacred animals (like Jaguars and Condors) and mythical creatures. No one knows what function some of the houses served, which in fact had huge holes with a narrow entry, and were found full of gifts and ritual objects.
But the most beautiful thing in this Amazon fortress, is the way the jungle invades into it - imaginary looking plants rising from the remaining of the houses, eating the walls. And the llamas of course, eating the plants.