We arrived in Cajamarca about 8am after a 12 hour overnight bus from Chacapoyas. I have to say that the first couple of hours in Cajamarca (and indeed the bus journey) are a bit of a blur as I took a sleeping tablet. I don’t remember getting a taxi from the bus station in to the centre but John assures me that it happened! We had breakfast at Casanuez (only ok) just off the main square or Plaza de Armas and then went about finding some accommodation. We decided on Hospedaje Los Jazmines (again just back from the main square) for S/.80 and it was perfect. We actually ended up spending 2 nights in Cajamarca as we pretty much slept the first day away. I don’t think taking those night buses saves anything in accommodation as you’re always so wrecked the following day. Anyway, the accommodation was not-for-profit and the attached café employs local deaf people so we were happy to contribute. We ate in that café a lot – they had a great tea selection so what you gonna do!
It’s quite a small city but there’s a bit to do to keep you occupied. The Cathedral overlooking the Plaza de Armas is very pretty and there’s a bit of history to the place too. We purchased the Circuito Turistico Urbano Comprendido for S/.5 which gives entrance to 5 different sights; El Cuarto de Rescate (the ransom room – the last Inca king was held prisoner here for a year before being executed somewhere near the main plaza), Iglesia de Belén (lovely albeit small church with a lovely courtyard area and a pop up art gallery during our visit), along with 3 museums that we didn’t visit (Archaeological, Ethnographic and Medical). We took a walk up to the Silla del Inca overlooking the city where the Inca King reputedly would sit and watch his kingdom. Obviously we did this the opposite way to everybody else – we walked up the back, through some beautiful gardens (costs S/.1 to enter). Once you reach the top you have a wonderful view over the city. There’s a very pretty little church, Cerro Santa Apolonia up here too.
The city wasn’t really throwing any great shapes on the food scene in general for is to be honest. We had pizza at a dotie little local eatery which was full of Peruvians and locals alike; a huge pizza oven kept us toasty! We also had ice cream at Café Holanda on the main plaza but again it was only ok.
Best thing about Cajamarca: I bought a travel hairdryer. Why in the name of Jesus did I not bring one? South America is freezing and there’s never a hairdryer anywhere. I’ve been using it ever since to warm up in icy hostels.
We popped out to the CIVA (bus company) office a few blocks from the main plaza to purchase our tickets for the overnight bus to Lima for S/.70 (14 hours).
Next stop: Lima!