Cajamarca Tours, Travel and Adventures
Tourism in Peru


“Enjoy Cajamarca, a city dressed up in tradition, color and rustic charm.”

Travelers in search of lovely countryside or traces of history will undoubtedly find what they are looking for in this idyllic Andean setting.

Cajamarca tours, Ventanillas of Otuzco, Cumbemayo, Inca Hot springs, Porcón Farm, Celendín, Cutervo, Cajamarca, Places in Cajamarca

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Fields of green grass are the backdrop to this charming and one of a kind city, which raises the country’s best cattle, makes the country’s best cheese and boasts the largest dairy production in Peru. You will not want to miss out on its three hundred year old Baroque Cathedral, the Bethlehem church –an architectural jewel featuring three different styles: Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance – or the Ransom Room, where the Inca emperor Atahualpa paid dearly for his gullibility in gold and silver of immeasurable worth. All of these sites are located within a few paces of each other, in downtown Cajamarca.

Yet, if you are of a more intrepid spirit and want to experience something different, then your reward promises to be great since around Cajamarca are various destinations like the Baños del Inca (Baths of the Inca), Ventanillas de Otuzco (Windows of Otuzco), an archeological complex, the tree filled Granja Porcón (Porcón Farm) where vicuñas and deer run free, and the charming and colorful farm shires of Celendín and Llacanora. And if you love adventure, then do not miss Cumbemayo, a striking stone forest with petroglyphs and confounding canals that exudes historical extravagance, a delight to the spirit and pride of this beloved land.

There are three ingredients that turn Cajamarca into an unforgettable destination: magnificent Colonial architecture, a striking countryside and a rich past.

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Visit in Cajamarca city:

• The Cathedral or Church of Saint Catherine.

It is one of the finest examples of Peruvian Baroque architecture with a façade that harmoniously combines finely carved columns, cornices and niches.

• Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (originally dedicated to Saint Anthony).
Besides the church, you can visit the convent, the Museum of Religious Art and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows, who is the patron saint of the city.

• Bethlehem Complex.
This architectural group dates from the 18th century and is comprised of the church, the former Men’s Hospital and former Women’s Hospital (both now Medical Museums). The Baroque styled church is known for its detailed stone carved portal.

• La Recoleta Complex.
The church and convent were built during the second half of the 17th century, and the church’s façade is modeled after a Plateresque Neoclassic retablo (shrine-like tabernacle with different levels), possessing elegant bell towers.

• Saint Apollonia Natural Lookout.
Located at the highest spot above the city, it is a vantage point for appreciating the beauty of the Cajamarca Valley. In its surroundings, you can see pre-Hispanic vestiges, like the socalled Silla del Inca (Throne of the Inca), a finely carved block of stone in the shape of a royal seat.

• The Ransom Room.
The only evidence of Incan architecture in the city, it is a stone building with slightly slanted walls that confer upon it the characteristic trapezoidal shape of Incan structures.

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Excursions Cajamarca:

• Tres Molinos Farm.

Near the Ventanillas of Otuzco. Area known for the breeding of excellent cattle and Peruvian paso horses.
It is likewise famous for its milk, cheeses, and other dairy products.
There is also a hydrangea garden showcasing these beautiful and gigantic flowers.

• Ventanillas of Otuzco.
An eye-catching burial site formed by square or rectangular niches carved directly into the rock face of a volcanic hill. Research indicates the possibility of their relationship to the Caxamarca Culture, which held sway over the region from 300 to 800 A.D.

• Cumbemayo Archeological Complex.
It is surrounded by a stone forest, whose natural statues take on the appearance of praying friars. At the complex itself, you can see an aqueduct (1000 B.C.), an outstanding work of hydraulic engineering, the so-called Sanctuary, a cliff in the shape of a gigantic human head, and The Caves, where there are carvings and petroglyphs.

• Baños del Inca.
Hot springs with temperatures higher than 72ºC (158ºF). They also possess therapeutic minerals that are reported to help with bone and nervous system conditions.

• Porcón Farm. It is a site where you can engage in agritourism, be surrounded by pristine nature, and have cultural exchanges. There are also hiking trails that wind through dense pine forests, where deer and vicuñas run wild.

• Celendín. It is essentially a farming town, famous for its artisans who are experts in making straw hats.

• La Collpa Farm. It was built in 1900 and is a fine example of the thriving cattle industry that lasted there until the Sixties. Visitors will see the workers calling each cow by name when it is their milking time.

• Kuntur Wasi Ceremonial Center. One of the most interesting pre-Incan sites in northern Peru, it was constructed in the form of enormous terraces with stone stairways running along the sides, enabling one to access the next level.

• Cutervo National Park. Located in the Tarros mountain range, 6 hours from the city of Chiclayo.

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Cajamarca celebration dates

Carnival. February. A colorful display of dance, costumes and one-of-a-kind masks.

The festivities include throwing buckets of water and handfuls of baby powder on each others faces, so you could end up the day soaked and coated in white.

Festival of the Crosses. March-April (moveable). Every year during Holy Week, Palm Sunday to be exact, in the community of Porcón Bajo (10.56 miles from the city of Cajamarca), a very pious celebration takes place in which the statue of the Lord of the Palms is carried in procession, accompanied by a multitude of people bearing crosses and mirrors. It is also celebrated in the towns of Contumazá, Cajabamba, and Hualgayoc.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel. July 16 – 29. Celebration of the feast day of Celendin’s patron saint, its two central days are July 16th, where the entire town comes out to celebrate, and July 29th, where visitors wishing to experience the festival come to see fireworks, beautiful flower petal carpets created on the streets and a procession of the holy image. After the 29th, there is the traditional bull fight festival, which lasts five days.

Tourist Week. Second week of October. Highlighted by handicraft expositions, gastronomic festivals as well as dance contests and the crowning of Miss Tourism Cajamarca.

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The origin of the city goes back over 2000 years.

Traces of pre-Chavín cultures can be seen in surrounding archaeological sites such as Cumbe Mayo and Kuntur Wasi. During the period between 1463 and 1471, Tupac Inca conquered the area and brought Cajamarca into the Tawantinsuyu, or Inca Empire, which at the time was still being ruled by Tupac’s father Pachacuti.

Cajamarca’s place in history is secured by the events of 1532. Atahualpa had beaten his brother Huáscar in a battle for the Inca throne in Quito. On his way to Cusco to claim the throne with his army of 80,000 soldiers, he stopped at Cajamarca. Francisco Pizarro and his 168 soldiers met Atahualpa here after weeks of marching from Piura. Fernando de Soto and friar Vicente de Valverde delivered the “Requerimiento”. Atahualpa refused, effectively giving Pizarro the excuse to declare the Inca an enemy of the Church and Spain. Audaciously, the Spanish Conquistadors captured Atahualpa in the Battle of Cajamarca, massacring several thousand unarmed Inca civilians and soldiers.

Once the Spanish had Atahualpa, they held him captive in Cajamarca’s main temple. They were able to convince Atahualpa’s generals not to attack by threatening to kill their king if they did. But the Conquistadors were also trapped, with only a small force. Atahualpa at first did not fully understand the intentions of the Spanish conquistadors, yet he offered them a ransom for his freedom. The Inca emperor offered Pizarro a room filled with gold and twice over with silver, within two months. The Spanish were pleased by this offer, but never intended to release Atahualpa.

This room became known as El Cuarto del Rescate, or “The Ransom Room”. Tourists to Cajamarca can see a room by this name in Cajamarca, but most likely the room was Atahualpa’s cell, not his ransom room. In the end Atahualpa had misjudged the Conquistadors; after they had the ransom, they executed him.

Central Plaza

In 1986 the Organization of American States declared Cajamarca a Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas.

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Recommended for Visit in Cajamarca

History and archeology buffs, who will love the visit to the Ventanillas of Otuzco, a burial site on a cliff face, as well as the mysterious Cumbemayo canals and the Ransom Room.

Religious tourism enthusiasts, who need to tour the Cathedral and the Bethlehem church.

Agrotourism enthusiasts, who will find farms in the communities of Sulluscocha and Chagmapampa, where the people welcome visitors to stay in homes that have been adequately prepared for such purposes.

Bird watchers, who must make their way to the Sangal Canyon (just 9 miles from the city), where they can catch glimpses of goldfinches, thrushes, sparrows, eagles and especially the endangered hummingbird species called the Grey-bellied Comet (Taphrolesbia griseiventris).

Trekkers and hikers, who have plenty of routes to choose from among the ancient paths built by the Incas. We recommend taking the one connecting the towns of Jesús and Llacanora.

Nature lovers, who should definitely go to Porcón farm and check out the vicuñas and deer living in the midst of a pine forest haven.

Relaxation and health fanatics, who can experience the uniqueness of the Baños del Inca (Baths of the Inca).

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What to buy?

When it comes to handicrafts in Cajamarca, local artisans work in many different styles, like traditional backstrap weaving or callua (in Porcón and San Miguel), which is used to make blankets, ponchos, shawls, bags, sashes and saddle bags, or the famous hat making from Celendín and Bambamarca, the cotton fabrics made in Chota, stone carving in Huambocancha, and ceramic making in Mollepata, Shundal and Cruz Blanca.

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What to eat?

The best cattle in the country graze on the emerald fields of Cajamarca, reason why the best cheeses are also found here, which form the base of fabulous foods like the humita de queso (corn roll stuffed with cheese) and the tangy green soup or chowder. Restaurants in the city offer a fine choice of grilled meats and sausages and, to a lesser degree, international cuisine and seafood (trout is abundant).

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