Cajamarca is an Andean city, is the capital of the department of Cajamarca and it is located in a beautiful and bucolic Andean countryside in the valley with the same name.
The history of Cajamarca begins with the pre-Inca civilization named Caxamarca, that had in this valley its cultural center until it was dominated by the Inca empire which built an important city, in the same that the Inca Atahualpa and the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro encountered on November 16th, 1532; important date that began with the decline of the Incas empire and the beginning of the conquest, Spaniard colonization and the transculturation.
By the importance of the pre-Hispanic and colonial monuments it has been postulated to be declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Travelers in search of lovely countrysides or traces of history will no doubt find what they are looking for in this idyllic Andean setting. Fields of green grass are the backdrop to this charming city, which raises the country's best cattle, makes the country's best cheese and boasts the largest production of dairy products in Peru.
You will be able to visit the famous "Cuarto del Rescate" (Ransom Room) the one that Atahualpa filled with silver and gold in exchange of his liberation from Pizarro. Beautiful and intact colonial churches also exist, and very near the city you can see the colossal megalithic constructions of the Caxamarcas, picturesque villages and places around a beautiful Andean landscape.
The remarkable Architect Héctor Velarde said "conquerors and Indians left in Cajamarca elegant large houses of cavalier lines and of fine and luxurious finish. As all the northern cities of the mountains, this is more Spanish than indigenous, it is perhaps the most Spanish of all, but a touch of indigenous spirit can be captured in the earth and colors of the city."
Cajamarca City Overview
North Andean, 2,719 meters
above sea level (8,920 feet).
Distances to Cajamarca:
At the moment it is an enterprising city which economic activities are based on agriculture, cattle raising, besides having very good artisans. The recently Yanacocha gold mine, becoming one of the most productive gold mines in the world, and it has meant a surge in wealth for the region. Unlike other Andean cities, its population doesn't have much influence of the ethnic group Quechua, and most of them are descendents of the Spanish miscegenation. The typical peasant dressed in red "poncho", hat of straw of wide wing, sandals like footwear and carrying saddlebags knitted in linen.
Historical Center of Cajamarca: Churches and colonial large houses, conserved almost intact are an alive museum that waits for the visitor. Through the churches you will be able to appreciate the biggest architectural and artistic wealth in the Spanish colonization, with beautiful facades and great sculptural wealth in its interior. The main places are the Cathedral, Plaza de Armas (main square), The Complejo de Belén and his museum, The Church of San Francisco and his museum, the Ransom Room and Cerro Santa Apolonia in this hilltop you can overlook the city and appreciate the "Seat of the Inca" (pre-Hispanic carved rock), and visit many handcraft shops when climb or descent the hill. Is the area where you will find the main hotels, restaurants and craft centers of the city.
Museums in Cajamarca: Cajamarca counts with modest museums like the "Museo Etnográfico y de Arquelogía" (Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum) located in the old Hospital of Women and the Medical Museum located in the old Hospital of Males, both inside in the Complejo Monumental de Belén (XVII Century) open daily 9 am-noon and 3-5 pm. The Museo de Arte Religioso (Museum of Religious Art) open Mon-Fri 2-5 pm, entrance charge.
Archaeological Places in Cajamarca: The Caxamarca civilization flourished in the valley Cajamarca and they developed big megalithic constructions, some of influence Tiahuanaco and Chavín. There are registered more than 90 archaeological places, among those the outstanding Cumbemayo, the Ventanillas de Otuzco (necropolis) and Combamayo. Since Inca times and with a lot of historical value the "Cuarto del Rescate" (Ransom Room) and "Baños del Inca" (Inca bathing place).
Around Cajamarca: There are diverse places that offer a variety possibility to enjoy their charms, in the countryside of Cajamarca you can visit the forest of stones Los Frailones (The Friars) in the same place of Cumbemayo, the hydrangea gardens, Aylambo the town of artisans and places where you can appreciate beautiful Andean landscapes. North of the city is located the Granja Porcón (Porcón Farm), a dairy farm where travelers can take part in farming chores. Or the hacienda La Colpa is a famous farm for its herd of cows which are still called by name at milking time. In the Cajamarca countryside and around the city, are also located hotels and accommodation centers that offer programs to enjoy the environment attractive for relaxation and others for medicinal treatments with hot springs. This area is ideal for rural tourism.
Feast and Folklore in Cajamarca: Cajamarca has its biggest popular expression in the Carnivals, taken place as in any other city of Peru. Carnival time in Cajamarca is among the most famous festivals in February or March in Peru. The townspeople are an easy-going, amiable folk, and carnival time involves entire neighborhoods and institutions until the end of the festival, when the participants symbolically bury Ño Carnavalón, the king of the carnival. The celebrations go on for around a month, but there are eight main days, when participants are often doused with water. Also noteworthy is the Fiesta de las Cruces in Porcón.
Cajamarca Cuisine: The famous Peruvian cuisine has received many contributions from the cuisine of Cajamarca, and is also one of its attractions enjoy a variety of culinary options of local and regional products and flavors to the culinary cajacha masters. Fusion of Andean and Spanish cuisine. Restaurants in Cajamarca.
Living and Rural TourismTourism: In Cajamarca have excellent opportunities for those seeking a different experience, a less massive tourism and empathize with natives communities, participate with them in their daily experiences and relate directly to their traditions and natural surroundings. Porcón farm is a good alternative.
How to arrive to Cajamarca: Cajamarca City has an airport with daily flights from Lima. Also, several bus companies connect it with regular bus services from the cities of Lima, Chiclayo and Trujillo, which are places that are recommended to combine with a visit to Cajamarca, for its short distance from location.
Recommended Tourist Circuitsin Cajamarca:
- Cumbemayo and The Friars (full day)
- Ventanillas de Otuzco and Hydrangea Gardens (half day)
- Granja Porcón (full day)
- Historical Center, Santa Apolonia Hill and handicrafts (half day)
- Inca bathing place, Hacienda La Colpa and Llacanora (half day)