The Mysterious Sarcophagi of Karajia

A tough days travel to a haunting Peruvian mountainside

Joe's Travel Memories

“Mira tumba,” the woman next to me says, nudging me in the ribs and motioning toward the hillside.

I have no idea what you are saying, I think as she points out the window. I follow her finger and see a peppering of cave entrances high on the rugged slopes.

“Tumba!” she repeats frustratedly.

“Tumba? Ah tombs! You mean tombs?”

“Si! tumba!”

I’m in a packed colectivo, a shared taxi used as public transport in the Chachapoyas region of northern Peru. It’s taking me to Karajia, to find the mysterious sarcophagi. After scoffing at the inflated organised tour price, I’m trying to reach the site independently.

Hours later I’m left in a cloud of dust at a barren village of ramshackle, unpainted buildings. No one is around and nothing can be heard but the sound of the wind swirling through the grass and whipping up dirt from the…

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