Cajamarca is located in the northern highlands of Peru at around 2,750 m above sea level in the valley of the Mashcon river. Cajamarca population makes it the 13th largest city in Peru. Cajamarca is also known by its Quechua name, Kashamarka. It is the capital and the largest city of the Cajamarca’s region, and also an important cultural and commercial center in the Andes. The climate here is very pleasant.
The city’s history is marked by the Battle of Cajamarca, in which the Inca Empire was defeated by the Spanish invaders, by capturing and killing the Incan emperor Atahualpa.
Here we may find many tourist attractions like Spanish colonial religious architecture, beautiful landscapes, and pre-Hispanic archeological sites. Just outside the city we may visit the hot springs at Banos del Inca. Here the thermal waters above 72°C contain minerals with therapeutic properties for the treatment of bone and nervous system diseases. There is a legend that says that the Inca Atahualpa rested here before his confrontation with Pizzaro.
In 1986, UNESCO named this city as a site of historical and cultural heritage of the Americas.
The carnival in Cajamarca is very famous, locals for sure know how to have fun. This is the most popular festival in all of Peru and it can last up to a month. It takes place every year in february/march. It has gained it’s fame thanks to the music, the colors, the collaboration of the population in organizing many parades, dances and meals.
Ventanillas de Otuzco is a famous necrópolis, it is located 8 km from the city of Cajamarca. It consists of large squared shaped niches carved into a large volcanic rock wall, where the inhabitants used to bury their dead with their families. Unfortunately it’s exact date its not known.
Cumbe Mayo is another important site which was discovered in 1937. It is located 20 km from the city of Cajamarca. It is thought to have been a ceremonial center to venerate water. There is an aqueduct of 8 km long, 30 cm wide and 50 cm deep. It used to carry water to the Pacific Ocean through a channel cut into stone. The canal used to feed several populations in the mountains. It is believed to be 1,500 years old. We may also see some petroglyphs whose importance is still a mystery.
Kuntur Wasi is a pre-Inca period testimony. The center of Kuntur Wasi, or the house of the Condor, dates back to 1100 Bc. This used to be a ceremonial center. Structures and sculptures show the influence of another really important civilization, the Chavin. The use of themes of felines and snakes are the proof. The excavations of this site started in 1988 by the Japanese University of Tokyo.