It’s one of the most ancient cities of Peru and of the Inca Empire. The first inhabitants were Huacaloma, Layzon, Cumbe Mayo and Otuzco who settled in Cajamarca about 3.000 years ago. The city was witness of ferocious battles between the Incas and the conquerors during the Peru Conquest and besides that, Cajamarca was where Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa, the last inca who refused to subject himself to the Christian faith and culture. It’s known as the most Spanish city of Peru.
Travel tips for Cajamarca
-The minimum altitude is in Nanchoc at 400 meters and the maximum in Hualagayoc at 3590 meters.-The distance from Lima to Cajamarca is 540,6 mi (870 km).The mototaxis in Cajamarca will remind you the Asian cities; besides that, as in all Peruvian cities, you have “combis” (little buses) and taxis. At night we recommend you to take authorized taxis, which have the number plate painted on the car.There is no special danger in Cajamarca; nevertheless, depending on the area and the season, you must be prepared for strong rains.Some illnesses local face are measles, parasitism and tuberculosis.
Best time to visit Cajamarca
The best period of time to visit Cajamarca is in June, July and August if you like nice and warm temperatures. If you prefer to travel for the carnival, February or March is the best moment.
Climate in Cajamarca
-Cajamarca has a semi-dry and temperate climate with a rainy season from October to April.-The maximum temperature is 70 °F (21 °C) and the minimum descends to 39 °F (4 °C).
Things to do in Cajamarca
If you have always dreamed of riding a llama, then Cajamarca is the city for you. You'll have the chance to enjoy the beautiful cathedral of Cajamarca or the Mirador Natural Santa Apolonia, among many other sites worth visiting. You won't be bored in February because of the Carnival of Cajamarca, which you should check out. The local custom during the carnival is to throw water and paint at those walking through the city.
Nightlife in Cajamarca
Café Bar el Cascanuez
Location: 548, Puga street Price: continental breakfast at 12 soles Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. At this bar we recommend you to taste the desserts. The customers can be chic, but taste the apple pie, the chocolate cakes and the delicious coffee.
Peña Restaurante Disco-bar La Rumba
Location: 519, Apurimac street Hours: only weekends from 9:00 p.m. This place is located at the universities and schools street and it’s very frequented by the young men of Cajamarca.
Bunker Peña Disco Bar
Location: 1669, Av. Hoyos Rubio Hours: from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday It’s a place for having fun until early morning hours, with great music and drinks.
Where to eat in Cajamarca?
Location: 726, Jr. Amalia Puga Price: 8-10 soles Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This restaurant is located in the center of the city, has good price and an asorted menu of Peruvian dishes, although they have pizzas, roasted over a wood fire and crunchy.
Location: 962, Jr. Tarapaca Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. At this restaurant you will taste traditional Peruvian cooking and they are specialized in grill, fishes, shellfish and creole food.
The tourist places to see in Cajamarca are:
Catedral de Cajamarca o Iglesia Matriz Santa Catalina
Location: Jr. Cruz de Piedra (no number), Plaza de Armas Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Price: free entrance The Cajamarca Cathedral is one of the most noteworthy examples of the Baroque style in Peru, with a facade with beautiful columns, cornices and finely detailed alcoves. The stones of the front have a volcanic origin and the front has a plateresque style. In 1665 it was the Spanish church.
Iglesia San Francisco (previously San Antonio)
Location: on the South-East of the Plaza de Armas, between the streets Amalia Puga and Amazonas Visiting hours: everyday from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m Price: free entrance The San Francisco Church was built in 1699. In 1952 catacombs were discovered beneath the altar, where the remains of members of the Franciscan order and members of the indigenous royalty lie. You can also visit the convent, the Museum of Religious Art and the Sanctuary of the Virgen Dolorosa, the patron saint of the city.
Conjunto Monumental Belén
Location: Jr. Belén, block 6 Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Price: adults 4.50 soles and students 2 soles The Conjunto Monumental de Belen is an architectural blend from the 18th century; the church, former mens hospital (Medical Museum) and former womens hospital (Archeological and Ethnographic Museum).
Mirador del Cerro Santa Apolonia
Location: Jr. Dos de Mayo, two blocks from the Plaza de Armas Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Price: 1 sol The Saint Apolonia hill (el Cerro Santa Apolonia), formerly known in Quechua as Rumi Tiana, or seat of stone, is a strategic spot to view the city and the Cajamarca valley. On the boundary of the site youll find some remains of pre-Hispanic constructions like the Silla del Inca, or the Incas Chair, made of a block of stone that emerges from the mountain.
The things to do in Cajamarca
Hacienda Tres Molinos
Location: the highway direction to Santa Barbara town Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Price: free entrance It’s a mansion where you can see milk producer cows. There they make cheeses, butter and condensed milk.
Ventanillas de Otuzco
Location: it’s at 5mi (8 kms) to the north-east of Cajamarca city Hours: from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Price: adults 3.5 soles and students 1.5 soles The “ventanillas” are niches sculpted on the rock where remains of people were buried, as craniums; it’s believed they were first buried on the floor, because there are no complete skeletons.
Los baños del Inca (Incan baths)
Location: 4 miles (6 km) from Cajamarca Hours: from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Price: sauna, 10 soles; temperate pool, 2 soles. Special baths, adapted, 6 soles. You can relax in those thermal waters of volcanic origin. There are temperatures over 158 °F (70 °C). It’s an extraordinary landscape with a natural spa, just ideal to relax from a long day of trekkings!
Typical dishes in Cajamarca
Picante de papa con cuy frito (spicy potatoes with fried guinea pig)
This dish is made up of stewed guinea pig, cooked in a peanut sauce with spicy pepper served with potatoes.
Chicharrón con mote
The “chicharrón” consists of fried pig skin, and in Peru is cooked crunchy and very gold coloured. It’s served with husked wheat and boiled potatoes.
Sopa de chochoca con cecina
The plate’s name comes from the word “chuchoqa”, which means boiled and dried corn. Then they make a flour used on the soup. The most important ingredients are cow meat, smoked meat, celery, leek, potatoes and corn flour.
This dessert speciality is made of a sweet or savory corn dough stuffed with cinnamon and raisins, wrapped in corn husks and cooked on steam.
How to reach Cajamarca
Cajamarca by train
Nowadays there is no railway to Cajamarca.
Cajamarca by flight
The distance on a straight line from Lima to Cajamarca is 352 mi (567 km). The airport Aeropuerto Mayor General FAP Armando Revoredo Iglesias is located at 2 mi (3,5 km) from the city. The airport receives 6 daily flights. The main airlines that operate in the airport are Latam and LC Perú.
Cajamarca by bus
-The route Lima-Cajamarca is at a distance of 540 mi (870 kms) and the travel takes about 13 hours by bus.-The companies that cover the route are Excluciva, Tepsa, Linea, Civa y Turismo Días.-You can also go to Cajamarca by bus from Chiclayo, Chepén, Guadalupe, Huaura, Pacasmayo and Trujillo.-The price of the tickes from Lima is between 50 soles and 140 soles, depending on the service chosen.
Accomodations in Cajamarca
Hostal San José
Location: 358, Angamos Price: 47 soles and up The hostal San José is located at 7 minutes from the main square. The rooms have wi-fi, TV and private bathroom. There is breakfast as supplement
Hostal Cruz de Piedra
Location: 287, Jr. Cruz de Piedra Price: from 61 soles the double room It’s located at 300 meters of the Plaza de Armas, the rooms have a desk, private bathroom and toiletry articles are offered free. All the rooms have TV and free wi-fi.
Location: 582, Jr. La Mar Price: around 115 soles Though from the outside and the lobby this hotel doesnt seem noteworthy, the rooms are clean and comfortable and the staff is very helpful. There is free wi-fi and it’s located at 200 meters from the Plaza Mayor. The reception is opened 24 hours and there is a tourist information counter.
Hotel Baños del Inca E.I.R.L.
Location: 139, Sinchi Roca, Baños del Inca Price: from 94 soles and up There is a car park and wi-fi for free. It’s located at 4mi (7 kms) from Cajamarca and some rooms have hydromassage bath, among other services.
Location: 311, Jr. Dos de Mayo Price: 192 soles and up The hotel is rustic with rooms that face a courtyard inside and there is a pleasant treatment. The offer free wi-fi and breakfast. It’s located at 50 meters from the main square. There is a 24 hours reception and solarium. The hotel has a restaurant and transfer from the airport.
Hotel El Portal del Marques
Location: 644, Jr. El Comercio Price: 190 soles and up Double rooms with breakfast included. Starting with the lobby which is full of comfortable armchairs, and ending in lovely rooms and a verdant patio, we highly recommend this hotel.There are services included as wi-fi, free car park, a garden, a bar, a hall and a counter with tourist information.
Important dates in Cajamarca
Carnival of Cajamarca
Its one of the most well-known festivals in Peru, and the residents of Cajamarca participate in music and dance contests. They organize a parade and dance and sing through the streets. At night youll see the coronation of the queens of the festival, traditional dances, and its a great opportunity to try local drinks and dishes. They also organize patrols and troupes on the most traditional neighborhoods, mostly for young people.
Cruces de Porcón
In this religious festival, giant crosses made of reeds and palms are carried through the Porcon valley. The crosses are adorned with round and oval mirrors, which represent the souls of the dead. Palm Sunday is the main day during the festival and is not to be missed! On Palm Sunday the crosses are blessed, songs are sung in Latin and Quechua, and there is a procession to represent the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem. This day the children put on costumes of angels and they throw from the Señorca, a donkey charged with the transportation of the Christ image.
Festival de San Juan Bautista
This religious celebration features handicraft fairs and social gatherings in honor of the patron saint, John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista).
Cajamarca FONGAL Fair
At this fair agricultural, agroindustrial and handicrafts are displayed and sold. You can also stop by marinera dance and Peruvian Step Horse competitions. The swiss cheese and the condensed milk are tasted also at this fair.
Señor de Huamantanga
This is a regional fair with religious, cultural and athletic activities for anyone to participate in.