“As you can see, these are clearly petroglyphs of Dinosaurs, proving that they may have actually co-existed with humans in this region of Peru” Tim, our guide said both confidently and casually before going on to point out some of the other interesting petroglyphs.
Tim is a Polish-American from Chicago who has been living here in Peru for the last 6 months. I think it may be his native English and not his guiding skills that have landed him a job here as a tour guide.
“I’m sorry” I said the word bursting forth pretty much on thier own accord. “Did you just say that dinosaurs co-existed with humans?”
He seemed to think that I was questioning his leadership as he answered a bit savagely “well look at those petroglyphs, what else could that be an image of?”
I hadn’t been questioning his leadership, but one can’t just casually throw out that they think dinosaurs lived in Peru during the last 2,000 years and then just move on to other topics. Also maybe they are just poor representations of Llamas.
“Have these been dated?” I asked a bit more hesitantly, not wanting to incur Tim’s wrath.
“They think that they are from about 1,000 years ago.”
“What?!” I again lost all caution at hearing these words “so you are saying that dinosaurs lived in Peru 1,000 years ago- that’s crazy!”
He compressed his lips tightly together and I wondered how I could get more information about these dinosaur rumours without pissing him off. I was somehow doing a bad job of it so far. I think maybe he was just having a bad day anyway.
“Is it possible that other people have added to these, like vandalized them in recent times?” Tom asked, also innocently.
Tim rolled his eyes, “I guess” he said, “I don’t know, maybe.”
The internet has not turned up too much information on “Chachapoyas” + “Dinosaur”, however that night from our hostal’s balcony above the main square we did see a huge paper mache dinosaur being carried down the street parade-style so maybe I can find a another source of dinosaur info in town.
After the petroglyphs we went on to see Gocta falls. There is some argument as to whether they are the 3rd or 17th highest falls in the world. Either way they are set in a truly magical hidden valley that you stumble upon after trekking for a couple of hours through foliage that becomes increasingly more jungle-y as you near the waterfalls.
With Tarzan vines and mushrooms and orchids and lovely springy moss and ferns covering everything! These falls were not “discovered” (by anyone except the people who live around here) until 6 years ago. This is because the mermaids who live at the bottom of said waterfall told the people who chanced upon the hidden valley and falls that their town would be cursed if they told anyone about it. This actually sounded more believable to me than the whole dinosaur thing.
It was so beautiful I instantly got goose bumps all over when we first stepped into the valley.
Later that night, looking out over the crowds, dinosaur paper mache, and boxing ring with two contenders going at it in the main square I was really glad that we happened upon this town during a festival week.
The next morning when I woke up at 5:15 to a marching band parading by literally right under my window I was less pleased. It is kind of funny though. I certainly have never had an entire marching band 13 feet from my bedroom window before. And I think this may also be the first time I have heard so many firecrackers being set off before 6 am as well!