A visit to the Revash archaeological site in northern Peru includes a lovely hike to a limestone cliff face where the Chachapoyas people built and painted elaborate mausoleums hundreds of years ago. It’s a great way for travelers to combine the natural beauty and cultural richness of northern Peru.
What makes the Revash archaeological site special
The Revash archaeological site, about 40 miles (60 km) from the town of Chachapoyas, protects a cliff face in which the Chachapoyas people built and decorated elaborate mausoleums in the 14th century.
Experts say there are 13 mausoleums here that each once held multiple mummified bodies, probably members of the upper class within Chachapoyas society.
The mausoleums are made of stone with mud mortar similar to the more common chullpa funerary stone towers found throughout the altiplano of Peru and Bolivia. However, the Chachapoyas people took things to the next level at Revash adding house-like facades, roofs, and red and cream pigment. The result is a collection of burial sites that looks like a village.
The mummies are long gone, victims of vermin and looters, but the mausoleums and petroglyphs depicting humans, cats, camelids, and geometric shapes can still be seen.
Exploring the Revash archaeological site
The Revash archaeological site is reached on foot. You can turn the hike into a 2.5 mile (4 km) uphill walk by starting at the Revash trailhead sign in the valley below the town of San Bartolo. Or you can travel all the way into San Bartolo and take a 1 mile (1.5 km) stone staircase toward the site.
After about 30 minutes on this stone path, we reached a fork, turned left (uphill), and saw a blue sign that said Revash. From there you can see the mausoleums on the cliff face in the distance.
An undulating dirt trail continues past the blue sign then winds along under the cliff face beneath two groupings of mausoleums. The first grouping is small. The second grouping is larger. When we were there, the trail appeared to continue on to a third set of mausoleums, however, that section of the trail was in very bad condition. Head down a lower trail for a different view of the mausoleums. Allow a minimum of two hours.
Our drone travel video, below, gives you a closer look at the cliff face mausoleums of the Revash archaeological site.
In 2019, the Revash archaeological site was submitted for UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is currently on the list of tentative sites as part of a grouping of archaeological sites in the region including Kuélap, Yalape, Macro, and Karajía.
Here’s more about travel in Peru
Here’s more about Archaeological Sites