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Cajamarca is located in the northern highlands of Peru, and is the capital of the Cajamarca region.


It is approximately 2,700 m (8,900 ft) above sea level and has a population of about 100,000 people. Cajamarca has an equatorial climate so it is mild, dry and sunny, which creates very fertile soil. The city is well-known for its fine cheeses and dairy products. Cajamarca is also known for its churches, and hot springs, or Inca Baths. Yanacocha is the world's largest gold producing mine, one of several active mining sites in surrounding areas. Most of all, Peruvians remember Cajamarca as the place where the Inca Empire came to an end, since the Battle of Cajamarca along with the capture and execution of Inca emperor Atahualpa took place here.

Because of the high altitude, precautions should be taken. Be sure to take it easy the first day or two in town, drink lots of water and stay away from alcohol and caffeine.

Get in

Service to Cajamarca is via bus or air. There are daily flights from Lima, as well as luxury buses (about 16 hours). Several buses a day also make the trip from Trujillo (6 to 8 hours). Travelers can continue on to the town of Celendín, with connecting buses to Chachapoyas. It is possible to travel through the highlands by road to Chota [1]] & back down to Chiclayo, & south east through Cajabamba [2] to Huamachuco & down to Trujillo.

  • Transportes Linea [3] have frequent buses from/to Chiclayo, Trujillo & Lima.
  • Cruz del Sur [4] also runs daily luxury buses to Cajamarca from Chiclayo, Trujillo & Lima.

Get around

Most of the major sites in the city can be visited by foot. There are taxis available as well as local combi buses.


There are several churches in the area of the Plaza de Armas, one of which (San Francisco) includes the "Ransom Room" in which the Inca Atahualpa was held captive by Spanish conquistadors.

The steps on Santa Apolonia hill lead up to the "Inca Seat", where the Inca supposedly addressed his subjects. The hill offers a nice view of the city below.


The Inca Baths are natural hot springs located on the outskirts of town, near the university.

There are a number of archaeological sites and other attractions outside the city, to which there are organized tours. These sites include

Ventanillas de Otuzco, a pre-inca necropolis.

Cumbe Mayo, a pre-Columbian aqueduct. Be sure to bring extra water.


Cajamarca is known for its fine dairy products and chocolate. A visit to one of the cheese shops is worth your time. There are also several street markets along the Rio San Lucas selling farm goods, cloth and various other items.

Most of the larger stores are found within one block of the Plaza de Armas.

El Quinde shopping mall offers secure parking, a large grocery store, movie theater, food court, electronics, clothing, pharmacies, banking, and many kiosk-type businesses. It is located about six blocks north east of the Plaza.

There is a decent drop-off laundromat behind the San Francisco on calle Belen. 5 soles per kilo. Closed Fridays.


The diet here consists largely of items in cream sauce, probably due to the large dairy industry. Several restaurants serve Cuy (guinea pig) for those feeling adventurous. Street vendors sell tamales and various other street food, especially around dinner time.

  • Pia dishes out tasty Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken) for a bargain price. It is located on Amazonas about a block away from the Plaza de Armas, near the secondary school.
  • El Cajamarques is one of the top restaurants in town. The food is quite good, but the real attraction is the courtyard containing exotic birds and wildlife.
  • Not recommended: El Batan Gran Buffet. This fancy restaurant has very attentive service, but the food is mediocre at best.
  • Super Chicken has two locations: one on the Recoleta and the other in El Quinde shopping center. Good chicken and fries. Eat in or take out.
  • Renzos one block up from the Plaza. Pizza and pasta.
  • La Cena towards the west end of Via Evitamiento. Large family-style restaurant. Good pollo a la braza and parrilla.


Various street vendors sell home-made juice which is worth a try.


There are many inexpensive options for accommodations in Cajamarca. In addition to the various hotels and hostels in town, there are also a number of spa hotels in the outskirts of town.

  • Casa Blanca on the Plaza has a location that can't be beat. The rooms are clean, but most do not have a window. Price is about 100 soles per night for a double.
  • Hotel Prada is a few blocks from the Plaza. They offer clean rooms with or without bath. Double with bath 70 soles, without bath 35 soles.

For those looking a good hotel options, consider :

  • Laguna Seca Hotel and Spa at the Banos del Inca area area.
  • Posada del Puruay
  • Hotel Costa del Sol

Stay safe

Traffic is probably the visitor's biggest risk. Most drivers assume that you will get out of their way. Driving the wrong way on a one way street is not uncommon. So, look around before you cross the street!

Remember to take it easy on arrival, since the altitude can make you short of breath and cause headaches.

The central city is fairly safe, but as always keep an eye out for pickpockets and always hang on to your belongings.

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