Welcome to Cajamarca
Considered one of the best tourist destinations in Peru's
northern highlands, Cajamarca is often called the 'Cusco of the
North'. The town has a major advantage over Cusco however, in that
it has maintained its small-town atmosphere and Andean traditions,
and isn't overrun with tourists.
Cajamarca is known as the city where the Inca empire came to an
end at the bloody Battle of Cajamarca in 1532. The steps on Santa
Apolonia Hill lead up to the famous Inca Seat, from which Incan
leaders would address their subjects. There are several other
archaeological sites around the city, including the pre-Colombian
Cumbe Mayo aqueduct, the pre-Incan necropolis of Ventanillas de
Otuzco, and the monoliths and museum of Kuntur Wasi.
The pastoral region around Cajamarca is very fertile, and
produces some excellent dairy products, including cheese and ice
cream, and chocolate that are available in abundance in town. The
attractive city centre is full of colonial buildings, centred
around the Plaza de Armas. There are around a dozen beautiful
churches, as well as stately mansions from the 17th and 18th
Cajamarca is located 8,900 feet (2,700m) above sea level, so
tourists should take the time to acclimatise themselves to the
thinner air. It is advisable to allow at least one day of relative
inactivity, while staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and
Information & Facts
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many
other dialects are spoken. English is spoken only in major tourist
centres and hotels.
The official currency is Nuevo Sol (PEN) divided into 100
céntimos. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all
major international credit cards, including Diners Club and
MasterCard, are accepted in many, but not all, establishments.
Outside Lima facilities may be more limited. Travellers cheques may
also be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages, and
travellers are advised to have cash on hand. US Dollars are the
easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels and
shops in the main cities accept dollars for payment.
Casas de cambio(exchange bureaux) often give better rates
than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist
circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.
Local time is GMT -5.