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Cajamarca, the twilight of an Empire

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Cajamarca, the twilight of an Empire

Cajamarca is one of the richest departments in terms of nature, culture, history and customs of Peru, features that make it one of the 10 most exciting destinations to travel in the interior of the country.


From its tasty cuisine, warmth of its people and places of interest, tourism in Cajamarca is synonymous with fun and adrenaline, but at the same time of peace and spiritual encounter with oneself. A region that has everything and for everyone.


Any Cajamarca tourist guide will take you on walks through majestic natural areas headed by Granja Porcón, Cumbemayo to Cutervo National Park; as well as tours of emblematic places such as the Ransom Room, Baños del Inca and its historic Plaza de Armas.


All these destinations make a visit to Cajamarca not only unforgettable, but also a rewarding and enriching experience.



Its original name is Cajamarca, from the Quechua language meaning "town of thorns", in allegory to the large number of San Pedro cacti in its surroundings. Currently, San Antonio de Cajamarca is the city, the province, the department and the green valley where this city is located, crossed by the Mashcón and Chonta rivers at 2750 meters above sea level. It is one of the Peruvian towns with the highest growth projection.


Famous for many reasons: the celebration of its Carnival, so great is the party that it is called "The Capital of Peruvian Carnival", as well as Corpus Christi and Holy Week. Also for the quality of its dairy production, which gives rise to delicious cheeses that reach tables throughout Peru, as well as for its proximity to one of the areas that produces high-quality coffee that is highly appreciated in the international market. Other aspects that stand out are the Cumbemayo archaeological remains, a pre-Inca aqueduct that extends for 8 kilometers, and is estimated to be one of the oldest structures on the continent.


Its architectural heritage is invaluable, religious and administrative buildings, as well as beautiful mansions are part of the city center. In front of its Plaza de Armas is the Cathedral of Santa Catalina, an impressive example of baroque architecture in America and the Convent of San Francisco whose altar is carved in volcanic stone. To this is added in other locations in the center the Belén Monumental Complex that consists of a church and two hospitals separated by gender that currently function as museums, the Recoleta Convent among other historical jewels.


It is a city with an intense cultural life with a strong musical movement of various genres, a system of commercial and alternative movie theaters, museums and a tasty and generous gastronomy, with dishes known throughout the country such as chicharrón con mote, guinea pig stew in peanut sauce, sweet or salty humitas, green broth among other delicacies.


What to do in Cajamarca?

Cajamarca is synonymous with history. Everyone who visits it has the opportunity to learn a little more about the importance of the Incas, a culture that is the origin of present-day Peru.


Tourists have in the Plaza de Armas a captivating place that centuries ago was the capital of the Inca empire, and in the Baños del Inca a recreational complex with pools of hot and therapeutic waters.


Foreigners and nationals will be able to buy the best guitars in the country in Cajamarca and for this they must visit Namora, the "guitar city", which also has one of the best offers in terms of typical Peruvian souvenirs: ponchos, bracelets, handbags, flutes, necklaces and endless other craft items.


In Llacanora, beautiful and cold waterfalls await to enjoy experiential tourism, while exploration adventures take place in the archaeological zones of Otuzco and Cumbemayo. This beautiful region is also a land of adrenaline sports such as rappelling, climbing, riding ATVs, zip lines and go-karting, all possible in the Sulluscocha lagoon.


Unmissable experiences


Tasty Cajamarca gastronomy

For lovers of good food, Cajamarca offers a wonderful variety of traditional dishes that can be enjoyed from very popular places, such as its market, to more formal restaurants. Famous for its guinea pig stews, the stew with peanut sauce and panca chili stands out, as well as the spicy potato with fried guinea pig. Other dishes that should not be missed are the tasty humitas, sweet or savory, with or without a heart of cheese wrapped in pancas and steamed.


An emblematic dish of the city is the caldo verde, to the point, which is said, that if you visit the city and have not tried it, it is as if you had not been. This dish consists of a comforting broth with various types of potatoes, which has a mixture of paico, parsley and rue, which are ground in a fulling mill and give it its characteristic color. There are many options to enjoy the Cajamarcan table, which you can put a final touch with an exquisite coffee from the area, by the way, among the most awarded in Peru.


The Rescue Room, testimony of the last days of the Inca

The place where the Sapa Inca Atahualpa spent his last days confined in the year 1533, before being executed. It is a volcanic stone building and its dimensions are 11.80 m long, 7.30 m wide and 3.1 m high. It is one of the most visited places in Cajamarca due to its historical significance in every sense. Of the original construction only the four walls are preserved and you can see a red mark where it is said that the Inca put his hand to indicate how far the gold would go once and silver twice, for the payment of the ransom for the liberation of he.


It is located at Jr. Amalia Puga 750. Half a block from the Plaza de Armas. Visits: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


What to visit?


Inca Baths

An incredible complex of hot springs dating back to pre-Inca times just 6 kilometers from Cajamarca at 2667 meters above sea level. The beautiful stone building that surrounds them will catch your attention, along with the stone pools with natural waters with healing properties, which can reach temperatures of 79°C. Located in the town and district that bear the same name.


Its fascinating history adds an incredible element, because in this same place Pachacútec, Túpac Yupanqui, Huáscar and Atahualpa used to wash and relax, that is, a place designed to satisfy kings, where many of them replenished their strength after their battles and conquests. . Its quality is maintained after centuries, to the point that in an online vote where 35 million voters participated, it led the list as one of the wonders of Peru, and was also called "The spa of Latin America".


On the other hand, it has a unique archaeological wealth, with the presence of cave paintings in the Callaqpuma area very close to it, with representations of daily scenes of the inhabitants of that area 3000 years ago.


Although they are open to the public throughout the year, the recommendation of the connoisseurs is to do it in the summer months, so that the outdoor experience is much more pleasant.


The Inca Baths are open from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The entrance price depends on the service you want to take.



Cumbemayo or Los Frailones de Cumbemayo is an archaeological area considered among the oldest in the American continent. It is made up of an aqueduct, petroglyphs and a forest of rocks beautifully carved by erosion. Located just 19 kilometers from Cajamarca at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level.


The aqueduct has an extension of 8 kilometers, it collected rainwater and distributed it on its way to the Pacific, being a fundamental element for the control of nature and the development of crops. It is estimated that they were built in 1500 BC, and it is an example of the genius and development of the society present at that time and of our cultural heritage.


However, a theory about its creation points to its functionality as a ceremonial and religious act, given that the Cajamarca area does not suffer from water problems, but rather it was a cult of water, as is the case with Qenko, in Cusco. and Saywite, in Apurimac.


In its surroundings you can visit the petroglyphs that are in the caves. But one of the most impressive aspects are the so-called Frailones or Monjes de Roca, an incredible work of nature, where the volcanic rock has been patiently sculpted by the action of water and wind.


Hours: every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Plaza de Armas and Cathedral

The city's Plaza de Armas is considered one of the most beautiful and spacious in Peru. Place known for being the scene where the fall of the Inca Empire was marked since the Inca Atahualpa was executed in this square.

The Cathedral of Cajamarca is one of the old buildings that can be visited, built in 1682. Among the characteristics of this cathedral, it can be mentioned that it is considered one of the greatest architectural jewels of the American Continent.


In the Historic Center of Cajamarca you can also visit the largest church in the region; the church of San Francisco. Temple that began to be built in 1699, taking about 80 years to be completed.


Otuzco windows

A necropolis made by the Cajamarca culture. It is characterized by having niches in the form of small windows. This funerary enclosure is located in the town of Otuzco, within the district of Baños del Inca, 8 km from the city of Cajamarca. The niches of this archaeological site were made in the volcanic rock and are found in an area of ​​4 thousand meters.


Kuntur Wasi

A trip to Cajamarca gives us the chance to get to know the province of San Pablo, home to the Kuntur Wasi Archaeological Complex, where various gold pieces from ancient civilizations were found. The name of Kuntur Wasi means "House of the Condor", a common animal to see in the stone sculptures of this place. Inside this complex the tombs of seven people were found.



Porcón is one of the largest extensions of land that can be found in the Peruvian highlands. The main attraction of this place is the Granja Porcón, where a mini zoo is offered, which includes animals such as Otorongos, Spectacled Bears, Buffaloes, Pumas, Lions, monkeys and others. In addition, some of its inhabitants are dedicated to raising llamas and vicuñas.


Town of Polloc and the Sanctuary of the Rosario Virgin

This place has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, since a beautiful architectural and religious work of art has been built in the middle of the city. This construction is known as the Santuario De La Virgen Del Rosario. The main characteristic of this sanctuary is the great beauty of its decoration and its wood carvings.


Combayo Windows

This cemetery is over 3,500 years old and is located in the community of Combayo, in the district of Encañada. This is considered one of the oldest necropolises in Peru and is part of the Capac Ñan or "Great Inca Trail". The niches of this necropolis were made on the volcanic slopes of Cerro San Cristóbal. Most of the niches that you can see in this cemetery were made in rows and are rectangular in shape.


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