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Cajamarca, Peru - Where Everything Started
"Cajamarca, Where Everything Started" says the local slogan referring to the historical roots of this city.
was here that Atahualpa, the Incan emperor, met Francisco Pizarro, the
Spanish conqueror, in the encounter that marked the beginning of the end
for the Inca Empire in South America.
However, the historical importance of Cajamarca is really just part of the overall attraction and enjoyment of this corner of Peru...
On this page:
Cajamarca is the largest city (approx. 300,000 inhabitants) in the Region of Cajamarca in the northern Andes. It is located at an altitude of approx. 8,900 ft (2,750 m) above sea level.
The climate in Cajamarca is mild with around 70° F (21° C) maximum and 38° F (3° C) minimum average temperatures throughout the year.
Really, the most noticeable change in weather is the rainy versus dry season. The rainy season starts in October and ends in April.
Today's Weather in Cajamarca
Getting to Cajamarca
Traveling by Air
There are regular flights (with LAN or LCPeru) from Lima to Cajamarca twice a day (some days even three times).
The duration of the flight is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The airport is only 10 minutes away from the center of the city. A taxi will charge you S/.10.00 (ten soles) for the ride to the center.
Traveling by Land
You can also travel by bus to Cajamarca. The bus trip will take you approximately 16 hours from Lima, Peru. If you are already in the north of Peru, the most common route is from the Panamerican Highway (la Panamericana) from Chiclayo on the coast.
There are lots of bus agencies, but I would recommend the following: Cruz del Sur, Transportes Línea, TEPSA, CIVA, and TRC.
Cajamarca is known for its excellent dairy products. Be sure to try the different sorts of cheese and, especially, one of Cajamarca’s delicacies: “manjar blanco”.
Manjar blanco is a sweet, caramel-like desert made by cooking milk until it thickens and adding sugar until it turns light brown. It’s yummy!
The traditional dishes that every tourist should try are:
- "Cuy con papas" (guinea pig served with potatoes),
- "Caldo verde“ (creamy soup with potatoes, cheese, eggs, and special herbs which grow in the Andes)
- "Chicharrón con mote" (fried pork rinds served with corn).
Tourist Attractions in the City
- The Plaza de Armas (main square in the city)
- The Cathedral (located on one side at the Plaza de Armas)
- San Francisco Church with its catacombs (just on the other side of the Plaza de Armas)
- The Complejo de Belén (with its museum)
- La Recoleta Church and convent
- The Santa Apolonia Hill (where you can see the “Seat of the Inca”, a carved rock).
Tourist Attractions in the Surrounding Area
- Baños del Inca: This beautiful complex of thermal hot spring swimming pools ( approx. 72°C) is located at only 6 km from Cajamarca. Their waters are said to be good for bone and skin diseases. It’s open to the public from 06:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Monday to Sunday). Walk to the natural hot ponds from your nearby country-style lodgings at Don Simon's Farmhouse. See all hotels at the Baños del Inca.
- Cumbemayo (or Los Frailones) is a forest of stones where you can use your imagination and see all kinds of shapes in the pillars that have been carved by the wind and the rain throughout thousands of years. There you will also be able to see an aqueduct built by a pre-Incan society.
- Porcón Farm: The Granja Porcón is located approx. 30 km from Cajamarca. This granja, or farm, is a rural cooperative where you can see the lifestyle, agricultural activities, and traditions of the members of this community. The Granja also has a mini-zoo where you can see deer, spectacle bears, lynxes, jaguars, condors, eagles, monkeys, and vicuñas. It’s a great place to take photos and relax in these beautiful surroundings of pine forests.
- Hacienda La Colpa: This farm, "Colpa", is famous for its "calling of the cows". Everyday at 4 p.m. the cows are called one by one by their names. It’s interesting to see how they respond to this call and each one of them obediently goes to its place – it’s milking time!
~ by Maria Carmen, Contributing Writer - Inside-Peru.com
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