The lagoon of the condors or of the mummies is located at the source of the Los Chilchos river, at 2,600 meters above sea level (SIGMINCETUR, 2020), in the Ullilen sector, Leymebamba district, Chachapoyasprovince, Amazonasdepartment of Peru.
This natural tourist resource is linked to pre-Hispanic cultural development, therefore it comes to have very special characteristics and consequently also constitutes an archaeological-cultural resource, thus allowing the enjoyment of activities such as: hiking, landscape observation, horseback riding, photographs and filming, ecotourism, research, guided tours, artisanal fishing, boat rides and camping (Alva Cruz, 2010). It obtained recognition of Cultural Heritage of the Nation through RDN Nº 259/INC-1997 (SIGMINCETUR, 2020).
The Laguna de los Cóndores is located in the lower part of a mountain chain of the Amazonian Andes, in a relief of tropical rain forest, with an extension of approximately 2 km and a depth between 70 and 150 meters; From the top you can see its dark colored water mirror (Alva Cruz, 2010).
The town of Leymebamba is the tourist reception center and the journey to the lagoon lasts between 8 and 12 hours, depending on weather conditions or rainfall and the mode of travel (walking or on muleteers), as well as the physical state of visitors (Alva Cruz, 2010).
Flora and fauna
In the Laguna de los Cóndores there is a great biodiversity.
Regarding the flora, it was possible to identify chachacama, chamanche, piniche, quina, siogue, orchids, pauco, elderberry, matico, culén, pennyroyal, cedar, ferns, grass, bamboo, dwarf bamboo.
The fauna includes mainly bears, pumas, deer, foxes, armadillos, hachón, the choca, hummingbird, pishco organ, parrot, lic lic, quetzal and other birds(Alva Cruz, 2010).
Throughout the entire lagoon you can see samples of the pre-Hispanic Chachapoyas culture (1,100-1,470 AD), the mausoleum-type tombs that were discovered in 1996 by some workers being representative (SIGMINCETUR, 2020);
“… they are located in the central part of the rock that rises above the lagoon, in a concavity, in which a waterfall that serves as protection of these enclosures is superimposed.”Alva Cruz (2010: 87)
These quadrangular-shaped mausoleums, built in limestone blocks covered with mud, measure approximately 3 meters high and are decorated with cave paintings. Inside, more than 200 mummies have been found in their respective funerary bundles.
This cultural-archaeological heritage is currently exhibited and preserved in the Leymebamba Museum (located 80 km from the city of Chachapoyas) along with a large number of rescued objects (ceramics and other utensils used as grave goods) that indicate records of the occupation dating from the 9th century to the 16th century (SIGMINCETUR, 2020).
- Alva Cruz, R. (2010). Zonificación ecológica y económica del departamento Amazonas. Iquitos: Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana. (PDF).
- SIGMINCETUR. Sistema de Información Georeferencial. (2020). Sitio Arqueológico Laguna de los Cóndores o Laguna de las Momias, recuperado de http://ficha.sigmincetur.mincetur.gob.pe/index.aspx?cod_Ficha=530.
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