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Peru Travel: Cajamarca Attractions

April 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 245

Cajamarca is a small city in the northern Andean highlands of Peru. Elevation is 8,900 feet (2,700 meters) above sea level. Because of its proximity to the equator, Cajamarca enjoys a mild, dry and sunny climate and boasts lush green landscapes. Cajamarca is a deeply historical city and the main attractions today are the historical sites, including churches and the Inca Baths. These attributes make Cajamarca an ideal addition to any Peru travel plan.

Although Cajamarca is associated with the conquest of the Inca Empire, the city also has an extensive pre-Inca history. There are archaeological sites that pre-date the Chavin culture from over 2,000 years ago. Sites such as Cumbe Mayo, a pre-Columbian aqueduct, and Kuntur Wasi, the house of the Condor, can be visited today. Yanacocha, an active gold mine, is one of the largest gold producing mines in the world. Additional attractions are the pre-Inca burial sites at Ventanillas de Otuzco and Combaya. The Baños del Inca, Cajamarca's natural hot springs, are located 3 miles (5 km) from town.

Cajamarca became part of the Inca Empire during the era of territorial expansion achieved by Tupac Inca between 1463 and 1471. The city was well-integrated into the empire by the time Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1532. It was here that the conquerors, led by Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa, who had recently defeated Huascar, his half-brother, in a civil war for control of the empire. With just 168 soldiers, Pizarro was able to trick the Inca into surrender. Seeing the conquistadors' lust for precious metals, Atahualpa promised that he would fill a room with gold and silver as a ransom in exchange for his release. Although he managed to do this, the Spaniards reneged on their promise and kept the Inca captive, marching him to Cusco, the imperial Inca city, for the final display of defeat.

The multiple churches in Cajamarca remain as evidence of the history of this Peruvian travel destination as one of the first conquered by the Spanish. There are 6 important churches, all built in the 16th through the 18th centuries. On the Plaza de Armas, San Francisco Church includes the Ransom Room, where Atahualpa was held captive. Another popular site is Santa Apolonia hill, which lead to the "Inca Seat" and provides great views of the city below. The annual Carnival festival in February and March is one of the liveliest in Peru.

Cajamarca can be reached via bus or air travel. Daily flights as well as buses in various categories (economy, semi-cama, and cama) depart from Lima (16 hours) and from Trujillo (6 hours). Once in town, buses, taxis, and mototaxis are easy modes of transport.

This article was written by a Peru tours expert at Peru For Less who specializes in helping you plan best value Peru travel packages. Peru For Less is part of the Latin America For Less family, a company is unique in its ability to offer a price match guarantee as well as the highest standards in quality and customer service. Fully customized itineraries coupled with personal and friendly service are the hallmarks of a Latin America For Less vacation.

Source: EzineArticles
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