Cajamarca

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Cajamarca is located in the northern highlands of Peru.

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Points of Interest in Cajamarca

  • There are several churches in the area of the Plaza de Armas, one of which (San Francisco) includes the "Ransom Room" in which the Inca Atahualpa was held captive by Spanish conquistadors.
  • The steps on Santa Apolonia hill lead up to the "Inca Seat", where the Inca supposedly addressed his subjects. The hill offers a nice view of the city below.
  • Carnaval de Cajamarca. Held every year, will be from the 18th of February to the 13th of March in 2011. The three most important days include the day of water and paint, participants cover themselves and each other in paint while onlookers throw water at them. The following two days are parade days with the first going through the Plaza de Armas while the latter sticks to the concourse and features floats and the queens of carnaval, tickets for seats on the concourse range from around S/.15.00 to S/.30.00. Be prepared to get wet on all occacsions from water bombs and kids water pistols. This event is one that should not be missed.
  • Catarata de Plan Manzanas is a nice waterfall about 9km from Cajamarca. Take a microbus (19 or 59A - S/.1.00 each way leaving about every 30 minutes until about 9pm) to Huambocancha Alta and get off at Plan Manzanas (road or carretera Bambamarca). You´ll need to ask the locals for directions as its not a particularly well known attraction, don´t give up just because the first person you ask doesn´t know anything about it. The locals are very friendly and you´ll probably be able to find one who´ll take you to the waterfall and give you directions for an alternate route back to the road for a small fee (S/.5.00 to S/.10.00). The trail will take you over the top of the falls. They hold a carnaval celebration 2 days after the main parade on the concourse in Cajamarca (well they did in 2011). Very beautiful countryside in a traditional Peruvian farming community. Its about a 30 minute walk each way from the road to the waterfall and the bus trip is also around 30 minutes each way. Allow 3 to 4 hours for this trip.

Ransom Room

San Francisco Church

Cajamarca Plaza de Armas

Cajamarca Cathedral

Santa Apolonia Hill

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About Cajamarca

Background

It is approximately 2,700 m (8,900 ft) above sea level and has a population of about 100,000 people. Cajamarca has an equatorial climate so it is mild, dry and sunny, which creates very fertile soil. The city is well-known for its fine cheeses and dairy products. Cajamarca is also known for its churches, and hot springs, or Inca Baths. Yanacocha is considered to be the world's second largest gold producing mine, one of several active mining sites in surrounding areas. Most of all, Peruvians remember Cajamarca as the place where the Inca Empire came to an end, since the Battle of Cajamarca along with the capture and execution of Inca emperor Atahualpa took place here.

Because of the high altitude, precautions should be taken. Be sure to take it easy the first day or two in town, drink lots of water and stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Cajamarca is quite cold at night and the sun can be very strong during the day. Bring some sunscreen and some warm clothes.

Activities

  • The Baños del Inca (The Inca's Baths) are natural hot springs located five kilometers east of Cajamarca in the town of Baños del Inca.

There are a number of archaeological sites and other attractions outside the city, to which there are organized tours. Several tour operators can be found on the Plaza de Armas. These sites include:

  • Cumbe Mayo, is a pre-colombian aqueduct built around 1000 B.C. to bring water from the mountains to the town of Cajamarca during the dry season. Tours from Cajamarca are S/.18.00 per person. Food and drinks are readily available at the site. Its possible to walk from Cajamarca but allow around five hours each way for the 20km trek. The site is located at an altitude of around 3500 meters and can be quite cold and wet.
  • Ventanillas de Otuzco, a pre-inca necropolis. Touristic infrastructure, entrance fee (S/.4.00 March 2011), info plates in English. This is easy to get to by microbus just look for any bus that has Otuzco written on the side. The trip is under S/.1.00 each way. Allow around 2 to 3 hours for this trip, a little longer if you want to check out the river nearby.
  •    Ventanillas de Combaya (North East of Cajamarca). A pre-inca necropolis like Ventanillas de Otuzco but bigger and in much better condition. No touristic infrastructure at all, seldomly visited. Going there by colectivo takes 1 hour more than to Otuzco (same collectivo route) and goes through beautiful landscape. Do not touch the stone as it is not solid - avoid destructing it like Otuzco has been during few years of tourism!
  • Granja Porcon. An Evangelical farming colony with tourist services and a zoo.
  • Llacanora. a picturesque town with waterfalls. The falls are a few kilometers from town but a fairly easy walk. There is also a farm with a lake and gardens nearby.
  • Jardín de Hortencias, la carretera a los Tres Molinos. Typical food, chicha de jora, miel de abeja, plants, seeds, art and craft. Free entry.
  • Kuntur Wasi. Quechua for House of the Condor. 93km north east of Cajamarca near the town of San Pablo. Tours from Cajamarca are S/.100.00 however if you can make it there on your own the entry fee is S/.4.50. The site features monolithic statues and a museum featuring ceramics, semi-precious stones and gold objects.
  • Skate Park (Inbetween Av. Atahualpa and El Inca near the sports centre, Coliseo Qapac Nan). Officially opened in August 2011. There's some decent bowls, plenty of slides and it looks like chicks and BMX's are welcome too.

Volunteer

Asociación Incawasi is a non-profit organization started by both individuals from Cajamarca and international volunteers. Their objective is to improve the educational, social and nutritional situation of children from the disadvantaged areas of the city of Cajamarca, Peru.

Food

The diet here consists largely of items in cream sauce, probably due to the large dairy industry. Several restaurants serve Cuy (guinea pig) for those feeling adventurous. Street vendors sell tamales and various other street food, especially around dinner time.

  • Restaurant Tuna Jr. Malia Puga. This place is very popular and warm inside. There is a wood fired oven and they make tasty personal pizzas starting from S/.5.50. You´ll probably need two of them if you want more than a snack though. They also have a range of other dishes, drinks and wine.
  • La Ideal Panaderia y Pasteleria. Jr. Malia Puga 966. A great place for coffee, cakes, hamburgers and delicous rolls. Think of it as a cross between Subway and a coffee and cake shop. A clean modern store with excellent service.
  • Pia dishes out tasty Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken) for a bargain price. It is located on Amazonas about a block away from the Plaza de Armas, near the secondary school.
  • El Cajamarques is one of the top restaurants in town. The food is quite good, but the real attraction is the courtyard containing exotic birds and wildlife.
  • Not recommended: El Batan Gran Buffet. This fancy restaurant has very attentive service, but the food is mediocre at best.
  • Super Chicken has two locations: one on the Recoleta and the other in El Quinde shopping center. Good chicken and fries. Eat in or take out.
  • Renzos one block up from the Plaza. Italian food: pizza and pasta.
  • La Cena towards the west end of Via Evitamiento. Large family-style restaurant. Good pollo a la braza and parrilla.
  • El Castillo an interesting converted farm house outside of town past the airport. Good beef. Expect that your taxi driver will charge you extra to take you there.
  • Punta Sal the place to go in Cajamarca for ceviche, which is a marinaded raw seafood dish with many aficionados in Peru.
  • La Paskana. Fine dining, beautiful surroundings, secure parking. Located on the road to Baños del Inca across from the university.
  • Chifa Central Chinese food, located on the Plaza de Armas.
  • Cascanuez Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the main attraction is the deserts. Located half a block north west of the Plaza on Amalia Puga.
  • Don Paco Fine dining. Located just off the Plaza across from the San Francisco Church.
  • Querubino Mediterranean dining with a Peruvian influence. Located just north west of the Plaza on Amalia Puga.
  • Bella's Cafe (Bar & Lounge), Jr. Junin #1184 (One block from the plaza through Pasaje San Martin),  345-794. 9 am -11 pm. In the need of great Peruvian coffee, capuccino, the best Pisco Sour, & Margaritas... Bella's Cafe Bar & Lounge gives you a great place to hang out after or before getting out visiting Cajamarca. We serve breakfast, quesadillas, tacos with our signature homemade tortillas... We also have Wifi Service for our customers... As of May 2012, this address now has a pizzeria

Drinks

Various street vendors sell home-made juice which is worth a try.

  • Chicha de jora. A sweet tasting homemade alcoholic drink made from corn.
  • Hot Chocolate. Chocolate produced locally to make hot drinks with is widely available or have it made for you at one of the many restaurants.
  • Myshky Cafe, Jirón Curz de Piedra, 646 (Half a block from the Plaza de Armas). 8:30 a.m - 9:30 p.m. Coffee shop. Espressos, lattes, moccas, white moccas, etc. (all prepared with the best coffee beans from Jaén). Also offer frappés (ice-cold sweet drinks), chai latte, desserts and sandwiches.

Shopping

Cajamarca is known for its fine dairy products and chocolate. A visit to one of the cheese shops is worth your time. There are also several street markets along the Rio San Lucas selling farm goods, cloth and various other items.

El Quinde shopping plaza [6] offers secure parking, a super market, a large department store, movie theater, food court, electronics, clothing, pharmacies, banking, and many kiosk-type businesses. It is located about six blocks northeast of the Plaza.

There is a decent drop-off laundromat behind the San Francisco on calle Belen. 5 soles per kilo. Closed Fridays.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Cajamarca on Wikivoyage.

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