The collection of tombs used by the Chachapoyan culture to bury their presigious and powerful citizens. The tombs were not used individually but rather used as collective burrial sites.
The tombs are built as a number of small houses. Made from rock with mud mortar. Some “houses” have a single story, others two. The buildings use side entrances and have no rear walls (using the rear of the cliff). The roofs and ceilings are purely symbolic as the cave overhang protects the structures from wind, rain & sun.
Each “house” is little more than 1m high, providing enough height for mumies to be places in the foetal position (in a similar position to those in the Sarcófagos de Karajía). However, unlike the Sarcófagos de Karajía the buildings face to the south rather than to the east.
There is quite a lot of variation in design of the different tombs.
The parts of the “houses” and cave paintings are painted red, the red coming from the seeds of the annatto fruit.
The “houses” are virtually intact and whilst the tombs were ransacked years sgo, a few bones and funerary offerings have been found.
The tombs are believed to have been constructed in the 14th century.
- Take a tour, get driven to San Bartolo and a short easy boring walk to/from the site. Decidedly dull way to visit the place.
- San Bartolo village is close to the site but has no public transport/Colectivo service/taxis waiting. So if you use e.g. a taxi to get to the village, might be best to get them to wait to take you back. But again, very dull and boring way to visit.
- Colectivo from Chachapoyas will drop you off just before Yerbuena from where there is a road then path to the site. If feeling lazy you might find a tuk-tuk to take you on the initial road part. From the Main road to the site is 6-9 miles (depending on how you measure it) with a climb of 1400m. Far more fun, much prettier and definitely “the proper way” to visit. Expect to be a little tired on arrival to the site.
Track shows route from main road to site, then on to San Bartolo.
For other South American posts see South America Map.