Cajamarca is where everything started. Known as the “City of the Meeting of the Two Worlds”, Cajamarca will immerse you in Incan and pre-Incan culture while you live in a modern yet colonial city. Over the course of our Culture Week you will have the opportunity to try various traditional, often ancient, Andean recipes and see architecture ranging from 1000 B.C. to the 1700s. You will gain first-hand insight into the history, the language, and the diversity of cultures, all while exploring the sights that make Cajamarca a gem in the Northern Andes.
Our Culture Week will prepare you for your stay in Cajamarca by giving you a brief insight into the country’s background, customs, language, culture, and history. Moreover, you will enjoy some of the must-see attractions in the area and get the chance to meet and bond with fellow participants.
Aims of the Culture week
In the morning we will take a tour around Cajamarca pointing out some of the main attractions, markets, and historical points of interest. Along the way you will see churches from the colonial era, the main square that bustles with constant activity, and the Cuarto de Rescate (Ransom Room). It was in this site where the last Incan king Atahualpa bargained with Spanish Conquistador Pizarro unsuccessfully for his release, thus ending the Incan empire and opening the door to Spanish influence in Peru. We will also hike up to the top of Santa Apolonia Hill where there is small church and a beautiful overlook of the entire city. Along the walk you will see some traditional artisanal market places with typical Cajamarquino materials and goods.
We will visit Granja Porcón, a beautiful area and traditional farm. Here you will have the opportunity to get in touch with the Andean scenery that surrounds Cajamarca. After exploring the fields, forests, or farm, we will have a picnic on the hillside and return to Cajamarca. The journey will take 40 minutes both ways.
In the morning we will take a combination of public transport and walk to Cumbe Mayo, perhaps the oldest manmade structure in South America. Built around 1500 B.C.E., Cumbe Mayo exhibits the ingenuity of Pre-Incan technologies. Here you will see a system of hand carved canals that carry water over the continental divide, and at one point, sustained the in habitants of what later became Cajamarca. At an altitude of 3,500 metres above sea level, this ceremonial Pre-Incan complex and the surrounding rock forest will be where we have another picnic before returning by public transport to Cajamarca.
Only a short distance from Baños del Inca in the district of Llacanora, we will admire prehistoric rock paintings dating back no less than 10,000 years. These ancient drawings will give you a sense of the rich Peruvian culture far from Incan and colonial influence. After we spend time learning about and looking at the rock paintings, we will continue on foot to Llacanora. Here we will eat lunch and explore some of the main centres before taking transport back to Baños del Inca.
In the morning we will set off on foot to the little village of Otuzco, about 3 km from the accommodation. In Otuzco we will visit the archeological site of Ventanillas de Otuzco where a sophisticated pre-Incan culture carved tombs into a rock face. After exploring the complex we will walk back through a different route and end up in Baños. We will eat in the centre of Baños and then visit the thermal baths for a relaxing afternoon activity.
In the evening we will participate in a traditional Incan body cleansing ceremony, followed by a BBQ and traditional regional and Incan stories. This will conclude our fun filled Culture Week!