Destination guide: Cajamarca, Peru
Cajamarca is in northern Peru in the western Andes and is home to both mountains and jungle. The city was originally inhabited by the Huacaloma, Layzon, Cumbe Mayo and Otuzco tribes, who left behind an important cultural legacy.
In fact, Cajamarca is an important part of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Americas, a title it received in 1986 from the Organization of American States (OAS). This is not all though, since Cajamarca is also known as the capital of the Peruvian carnival.
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The most important town in the northern highlands, Cajamarca is a dainty colonial metropolis cradled in a languid valley and stonewalled by brawny mountains in every direction. Descending into the vale by road, Cajamarca’s mushroom field of red-tile-roofed abodes surely confesses a secret desire to cling to its village roots. Fertile farmland carpets the entire valley and Cajamarca’s streets belong as much to the wide-brimmed-hat-wielding campesinos (peasants) bundled in brightly colored scarves, as the young city slickers who frequent the boutique restaurants and bars.
In the colonial center, the capacious Plaza de Armas is bordered by majestic churches. From here, once-decadent baroque mansions spread out in concentric circles along the cobbled streets, many enclosing ethereal hotels and fine restaurants.Things have changed slowly here.
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