Cajamarca, Peru

Cajamarca is a city on the northwestern highlands of Peru. It serves as the provincial and regional capital of the eponymous province and region. The city has a population of 220,000 people (2011 estimate).

More on Cajamarca

Located 2,700 m (8,900 ft) above sea level, Cajamarca enjoys a mild climate and plenty of sunshine. Tourists come here to visit its historic churches and hot springs. The city experiences a subtropical highland climate. Temperatures are quite uniform, around 21°C, with night time temperature dropping to 3°C in June and July.

Perhaps the best time to visit Cajamarca is during the Carnaval de Cajamarca, an annual affair from late February to early March. This is a period of celebrations and festivity.

Human habitation in the Cajamarca region goes back at least two thousand years. Early cultures in the area include the Cumbe Mayo and Kuntur Wasi. These were swept aside when the Inca extended their empire under Tupac Inca between 1463 and 1471.

Atahualpa's Ransom Room, Cajamarca
Atahualpa’s Ransom Room, Cajamarca
Author: Antonio Velasco (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

The encounter between Inca leader Atahualpa and Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in Cajamarca in 1532 provided Pizarro an excuse to declare war on the Inca. In the ensuing Battle of Cajamarca, thousands of unarmed Inca civilians were massacred by Pizarro’s troops. Atahualpa was incarcerated in a cell, still standing today as the Ransom Room or

El Cuarto del Rescate. Atahualpa is said to have promised to fill that room with gold and two following rooms with silver, to secure his release. Atahualpa was nonetheless executed by strangling.

The historic significance of Cajamarca has led to it being declared a Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas by the Organization of American States in 1986.

Visiting Cajamarca

Fly to the Mayor General FAP Armando Revoredo Iglesias Airport (CJA), which receives regular flights by LAN Perú and LC Busre from Lima. The alternative is to take a bus. There are luxury buses from Lima. The journey takes 16 hours. Buses from Trujillo takes 8 hours.

Places of Interest in Cajamarca

  1. Catarata de Plan Manzanas
    A breathtaking waterfall located about 9 km from Cajamarca.

  2. Plaza de Armas
    The main square in the center of Cajamarca, surrounded by churches and historic buildings, the most important of which being the Ransom Room.

  3. Ransom Room
    The cell where Inca Atahualpa was held captive by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published.