The Trip from Leymebamba to Celendin
Celendin Travel Blog› entry 29 of 84 › view all entries
The town of Leymebamba was a crumbling mess of a place perched up on hillside about two hours south of Tingo. Half of the streets in town had been ripped up for repaving and so all traffic flowed through the one street that passed through the central plaza. But at least the town had internet and several restaurants and hotels. From Leymebamba there is transport twice a week to Celendin, about 7-8 hours away. I had asked why there wasn´t more frequent transport and the only answer I could get was that it was in a different province and there wasn´t much demand. The other thing was that the van left at 6am and there was a bus passing through from Chachapoyas between 8-10am, but no guarantee of a seat.
From Leymabamba the road climbed steadily up the mountains from 7,000 feet to the cold and foggy mountain pass at about 11,500 feet. After leaving town there weren´t really any towns, only a few houses scattered here and there, none with electricity either. Most of the hillsides were totally covered in vegetation and it is easy to see how some of these ruins are still being discovered. After the mountain pass the road dropped continuously for about 3 hours. We emerged from the cold, damp fog of the high mountains to a level in between the clouds above and more clouds and fog below us. The views were just amazing and I was lucky enough to get a few decent pictures as the van rumbled along the poor and potholed road. Still moving downhill we stopped for breakfast at about 9:30 at a restaurant on the side of the road, and by restaurant I mean a mud brick hut with three women cooking on a mud brick stove over a wood fire.
We dropped of a few people and picked up a few people and then rambled across the river and headed up the other side of the mountains on a long and winding road, leaving the desert behind as we climbed. Mid way up the mountains we stopped at a house and they promptly brought out three five gallon buckets and a funnel. That´s right, no gas stations out here. After re-fueling and much climbing later we reached the next mountain pass at 10,000 feet. After 6 hours the end was not far off, another 2,500 feet down was the town of Celendin. From Celendin I caught another van to Cajamarca, about 4 hours away on a very rough and deeply potholed road. A long day of traveling had finally come to an end. But I must say that after all the 199 hours I have spent of buses, boats, and trains, the scenery on the trip from Leymabamba to Celendin was by far the best.