Within the green valleys and wide countryside Cajamarca was also the stage of an important historical event. This was the town where the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro used a trick to defeat one of the two most important Inca rulers of that time, Atahualpa. To many this moment is considered to be the beginning of the end of the Inca Imperial.
Not only the Spanish and Incaâ€™s left their mark on Cajamarca. The history of Cajamarca and surroundings goes back even further, thousands of years to cultures like the Caxamarca, who build impressive constructions.
All these historical remains together with the famous â€˜Carnaval en Cajamarcaâ€™ (at the end of February/ beginning of March), make this area a very interesting location for tourists.
The Carnival always starts on a Saturday with â€˜Ã‘o Carnavalonâ€™, or King Momo(funny face). It continues on Sunday with several contests within the diverse neighborhoods and ends on Monday with a huge Carnival Parade through the streets of Cajamarca!
The historical center of Cajamarca:
The main plaza (Plaza de Armas) with its: emblematic cathedral with an impressive faÃ§ade, carved in volcanic rock; the San Francisco Church and its catacombs; the monumental Bethlehem, the colonial hospital and the historical â€˜rescue roomâ€™. To buy his freedom from the Spanish conquistadors, Atahualpa ordered his men to fill this room twice with silver and ones with gold. However, when the Spanish found out how much of this precious metal the Incaâ€™s possessed, they got greedy and wanted more and moreâ€¦
The Colina de Santa Apolonia Mirador, is a good viewpoint from where you have a great view over the city and the valley of Cajamarca.
BaÃ±os del Inca:
This is a beautiful complex with thermal swimming pools. The hot water of these pools has healing properties.
It used to be one of the favorite vacation/ resting spots of the Incaâ€™s and thatâ€™s the reason why there is an Inca well on the site.
A visit to these pools is often combined with a visit to the Collpa Hacienda in the green countryside of Cajamarca. In this hacienda they still call their cows by name when it is time to milk them. There are also some small reforestations and an artificial lake surrounded by gardens.
Another location on the route is called Llacanora, a rustic village with two small waterfalls, typical to the area of Cajamarca.
Close to BaÃ±os del Inca you can find the best hotel of the area.
This location has various megalithic constructions build by the Caxamarca-MaraÃ±on Culture. Especially the 9 km long aqueduct they constructed is considered a real jewel of hydraulic engineering. Besides that there are also petroglyphs, square niches and stone engravings in the walls, with an estimated age of more than 3.500 years!
At the entrance there is a stone forest, Los Frailones, capriciously sculpted by the wind.
This visit is often combined with a visit to the archeological complex LayzÃ³n. Here you can admire a structure with precisely build walls of more than 6m high and sculptured monoliths. It is a ceremonial site where they used to perform rituals in admiration of the Andean gods.
Ventanillas de Otuzco:
These square and circular crypts, or windows (ventanillas) were constructed in a rocky mountain and served as tombs to house the remains of the dead of Cajamarca.
Not much is known about this necropolis, but some ceramic pieces found on this archeological site have been dated back until 1400 BC.
On your way to get here there are some great passages and you could include a visit to La Hacienda Tres Molinos (three Mills) and Fundo de los Alpes, famous in Peru for their special production of quality lactose products. Of course you get the opportunity to try these for yourself.
At an altitude of 3000 m, surrounded by a 10.000 hectare pine forest plantation, they have created an unusual microclimate with a small zoo. This zoo includes animals like vicuÃ±as, deer, pumas, monkeys, parrots and several other bird species and there is even a little waterfall called Lazareto.
A tour to this area usually contains several activities, like camping, planting, sowing, yarn(spinnings), threshing, etc. The locals will teach you how to perform these tasks and the daily local chores
This was a ceremonial structure, build and used by different societies from 1200 till 250 B.C.. Besides its famous carved stones, they have also found several tombs and many objects, used for offerings. These objects include pieces of gold, ceramic, stone, bone, etc. and are shown in the local museum on site.
It is an ideal location to visit on your way to Trujillo or Chiclayo
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Tour in Credits
FD Private tour from Cajamarca â€“ Leymebamba â€“ to Chachapoyas
HD Tour BaÃ±os del Inca + Collpa Hacienda
HD Ventanillas de Otuzco + Tres Molinas Tour
HD Cumbe Mayo Tour
HD City tour in Cajamarca