Cajamarca - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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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 century.

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 caffeine.

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.

The Incan Baths are natural hot springs located the town of Baños del Inca, roughly three miles (5km) east of Cajamarca. The ruins of Incan baths are still visible; however the town is centred around a modern spa that uses the thermal springs to draw its water. The water contains a surprising number of minerals, and the baths are used as a homeopathic treatment for some bone diseases.

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