Situated at 8 923 feet / 2 720 meters above sea level, Cajamarca is the main city of the northern highlands and also one of the most important places in Peruvian history. On its main square the soldiers led by Francisco Pizarro faced the army of Atahualpa, who was defeated on November 16th 1532, an event which spelled the end of the Inca empire. In the plaza stands the three hundred year-old cathedral, one of the most splendid examples of baroque architecture in Peru. Also worthy of special mention are the church of Belen, with its stunning fusion of baroque, gothic and renaissance styles, and the churches of San Francisco and La Recoleta.
Max 22ºC / 71.6°F
Min 3ºC / 37.4°F
The rainy season is from December to March.
Cajamarca can be reached via regular flights from the city of Lima (1 hour and 15 minutes) and overland from Lima via Trujillo, following the northbound Pan-American Highway (13 hours).
In the outskirts of the city, the Cajamarca countryside offers visitors stunning attractions like Baños del Inca, where thermal waters reach temperatures in excess of 72ºC / 158ºF.
After his capture by the Spanish conquistadores the Inca emperor Atahualpa agreed to fill the «Cuarto de rescate» (Ransom Chamber) with gold and silver in order to secure his release.
The Ventanillas de Otuzco archaeological complex was a necropolis, and the so-called «ventanillas», or windows, are in fact funerary niches carved into a perpendicular wall of volcanic rock.