Northern Peru, Cajamarca, Cost of Living, Things to Do

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In this Northern Peru, Cajamarca, Cost of Living, Things to Do Guide, I share the following:

Northern Peru, Cajamarca: Cost of Living, Things to Do, How to get here, Interesting facts, Google Maps Tour, Accommodations, Restaurants, Nightlife, Livability, and Final thoughts.

Cost of Living: Northern Peru, Cajamarca

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. Many people are looking for cheap places to retire or visit. Whether they want to retire early, travel the world, write their first novel, or launch an online business, people like to save money while living internationally.  So, while I travel, I document the cost of living in each place I visit. I have been to 64 countries so far.

Below is the estimated cost of living one month in Cajamarca, Peru as a temporary visitor. Some of the estimates could be reduced as a long-term visitor, whether digital nomad or Expat. You can rent a 1 bedroom apartment here ranging from s/900 to s/1600 depending on how modern and how close to town, but you will pay more as a temporary visitor, as follows:

Monthly Cost of Living, Cajamarca, Peru, Ecuador ($USD)

Expense

Cost

Low

Medium

High*

Airbnb (1 Bedroom Apt)

$25.00

0

14

30

Moderate Hotel

$20.00

0

12

0

Backpacker Hostel

$15.00

30

3

0

High-End Restaurant

$8.00

1

4

8

Neighborhood Restaurant

$3.00

30

44

48

Food Cart

$1.00

30

12

4

Subway/Train/Metro

$0.00

20

26

8

Bus

$0.00

20

10

0

Taxi/Uber

$1.50

6

10

20

Total

Per Month

$587

$826

$992

Total

Per Day

$20

$28

$33

For more information about how the above “Cost of Living Monthly Multiplier” works, please visit the bottom of this page at Vagabond Buddha. The above estimates do not include alcohol, excursions, or extras, and it is for one person. Some of the expenses remain unchanged when you add another person. I am not guaranteeing anything. These are just my notes from my personal travel.

Things to Do: Cajamarca Peru

It is not all about saving money. You also need to have fun. The first seven things to do are on a below embedded Google Maps old town Cajamarca walking tour.

Commercial Elizabeth: This is one of the best places to people watch in Cajamarca, Peru. Here you will see the locals selling fruits, vegetables, meats, clothes, and anything else you need for daily life here in Cajamarca, Peru. Walk from Commercial Elizabeth to San Antonio Market, to get the full experience. This market is the first of seven stops on the below embedded Google Maps old town Cajamarca walking tour.

Plaza de Armas: This is the city center of Cajamarca and is where the King Atahualpa of the Inca Empire was executed by the Spanish. The water fountain in the center of the plaza was where the King was executed. The plaza is surrounded by Church of San Francisco, the Cajamarca Cathedral, and other buildings from the Spanish colonial period.

Cajamarca Cathedral: This church is also called Santa Catalina Church. Although only a church when it was built in 1665, it was elevated to the category of Cathedral in 1685. The facade is carved from volcanic stone. It is considered one of the best examples of Peruvian Baroque architecture in Peru.

Church of San Francisco: The construction of the San Francisco Church, also known as the Antonio Church began in 1699. It was constructed in part from stones removed from the House of Snakes Temple on Mirador Santa Apolonia. The first version of the convent on site was completed in 1562, by Franciscan monks. The Franciscans were asked to leave the church for a period of about 60 years but later returned after a request was received in 1870, and remain there today.

Cuarto del Rescate: This is where the Inca King was held ransom for gold and silver by the Spanish conquistadors. The King offered to fill this room full of silver twice and gold once if the conquistadors would let him go free. The conquistadors agreed. After the King delivered the gold and silver as promised, the conquistadors executed the King. The room where the King was held predated the Spanish invasion of South America. The sophistication of the construction of the Cuarto del Rescate and the way the stones fit together so perfectly that no mortar is needed exceeds the ability of modern western masonry construction.

Convento La Recoleta: This Convent and Church of La Recoleta is located in Cajamarca’s Historic Center. It was built in the 17th century. Today the convent operates as a school.

Mirador Santa Apolonia: The pre-Inca Chavín’s modified the top of Santa Apolonia in 1200 AD. They built platforms and subterranean structures used as tombs for significant Chavins who lived in Cajamarca at the time. The tombs that were built in Santa Apolonia were for important people of Cajamarca. In the 7th century AD, Cajamarcans worshipped rain, lightning, and stars on this hill.

The next four things to do are not on the below-embedded 0ld town Cajamarca Walking Tour so they each have their own Google Maps link.

Mirador Bellavista: This is just a great view of Cajamarca. Tours to Cumbemayo stop here because it is on the way. You can book tours to interesting places at the tour shops facing Plaza de Armas.

Cumbemayo: The Cajamarcan people worshiped rain, thunder, lightning, sun, and the moon. That makes sense since they were an agricultural economy. They also used barter for trade. Your guide at Cumbemayo will show you Petroglyphs of people and animals along with drawings carved in stone of aqueducts the Cajamarca built to water their crops. The Cajamarcans built a 9 km aqueduct that was carved in stone in some parts. You won’t believe the quality of workmanship (1000 BC) unless you see it with your own eyes. Tour s/20 per person, s/5 extra for English guide.

Otuzco: These are burial grounds for influential members of the Cajamarcan society, from the period of about 1000 BC. The Cajamarca social structure survived in Northern Peru for about 2500 years until the Spanish colonial period. The Cajamarcans fought the Incas for about a 5 year period until the Spanish showed up. Cajamarcans joined the Spanish and other local nations to defeat the Incas. Cajamarcans didn’t have the typical hierarchy of Kings and Nobles. There were economic and social differences between families but it was less formalized, more democratic in nature. This tour also included a visit to a European style cheese and yogurt dairy. Tour s/20 per person including English guide.

Baños del Inca (Baths of the Inca): These hot springs were reserved for Inca Kings under penalty of death. But now they are open to the public for s/6 per person in the public area or s/20 for a private room or s/ per person in the public area. Bring your own towel. The taxi is about s/10 from Cajamarca and takes about 10 minutes.

I share my travels and include affiliate links. If you buy something using an affiliate link, you pay nothing extra, but I make a small commission. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, get a free copy of my Ebook.

One the day I wrote this, GetYourGuide and Viator didn’t have tours for Cajamarca. But check again at the time you read this. You can book tours worldwide using these links: GetYourGuide, Viator.

Why come to Cajamarca, Peru

When we were researching things to do in Cajamarca, we read one traveler’s blog that said, “do not miss Cajamarca” when traveling through Northern Peru. He said it was a charming village in the Andes that specializes in cheese and chocolate and is of great historical significance in Peru.

That sounded great, so we headed to Cajamarca after visiting Chiclayo. While traveling south through Ecuador last month, we already knew that we enjoyed the highlands more than sea level, with the exception of the Galapagos. And we were wondering if that would hold true in Northern Peru also. It is. The highlands of Northern Peru are more charming than sea level, at least so far. Cajamarca is a charming mountain town, somewhat like a mix of Otavalo and Cuenca, Ecuador. Plus, the artisan cheese was yummy and now we can’t wait to try the chocolate.

So far, Cajamarca is our favorite town in Northern Peru. Subscribe to find out if that remains true as we head further south into Peru. We go to Trujillo next.

How to get to Cajamarca, Peru

Bus: From Chiclayo, Peru: If you are traveling south through Northern Peru, like us, you can catch a nice bus from Chiclayo, Peru, at the “Linea” bus company departure (Google Map), to their Cajamarca, Peru company destination (Google Maps). This is a 7-hour bus ride and costs about s/45. (Google Currency Converter). The taxi to your accommodations most anywhere in Cajamarca is about s/6.

Bus from Trujillo, Peru: You can catch a super nice bus from the Trujillo, Peru, Bus Terminal (Google Map), to Cajamarca, Peru. For bus times and prices in English, right click on your Chrome browser and select “Translate into English” at the Linea website. Our Airbnb host here in Cajamarca informs us that he prefers Turismo Dias and TRC bus companies more than Lineas to go to and from Trujillo and Cajamarca because “Linea” is too slow. So if you are prone to motions sickness, use Linea. If you like going fast on mountain roads, then try Turismo Dias, they gave an executive level bus service for s/40 one way.

Flights: On the day we searched there were round-trip flights on Skyscanner from Lima, Peru to Cajamarca, Peru for $232 USD per person. We consistently get the lowest price on flights using Skyscanner, so if you need to fly into Lima to get to Cajamarca, check your best price on Skyscanner.

Interesting Facts: Cajamarca, Peru

The Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro summoned the Inca King Atahualpa to Cajamarca in 1532, asking him to come unarmed to negotiate peace. The Conquistador promised that the Spanish would be unarmed also. King Atahualpa arrived in the square with 20,000 unarmed soldiers because Incans believed warriors to be men of honor. However, the Spanish soldiers were hiding in buildings around the square armed with guns, knives, and swords.

A single Spaniard walked out to meet King Atahualpa. The Spaniard told the King he must surrender to the King of Spain and the Pope, and accept Christianity as the only true religion, or there would never be peace. The Spaniard handed the King a gold ring as a gesture. The Inca King rejected the ring and proposal, saying that their gods had protected their people for centuries.

So, the armed Spanish soldiers charged out of the building and slaughtered 20,000 unarmed Incas. The Spanish took the King as a prisoner.

The King offered the Spaniards two rooms full of silver and one room full of gold (valued today at 250 million Euros) in return for his release. The Spaniards agreed.

After the King had delivered on his promise of silver and gold, the Spanish killed the King instead of freeing him.

The Spanish gave him a choice about how he would die. They called his choice his ‘trial.’

He could choose to be burned to death or be hung by his neck. But in order to qualify for the less painful death of hanging, he would have to accept Christianity as the only true religion. The King decided to accept the less painful death. They hung him that afternoon.

This was the largest kidnapping ransom ever paid in all of known human history.

We learned in Ecuador last month, that the Roman Catholic Church told their followers that the original people of the Americas had no souls. They could be treated like animals without punishment by God.  One of my guides stated that when Conquistadors first set foot in South America there were 12 million Incans.  After Spain was ejected from South America, only 2 million Incans remained.

Conquistadors are glorified in western writing. You hear a different story when you come to South America and start asking questions.

Google Map Walking Tour: Cajamarca, Peru

Here is my Cajamarca Old Town Walking Tour:

Make sure to buy a Peruvian SIM card (Claro or MoviStar) when you arrive in Peru.  Load it with Internet data so you can take the above walking tour without paying International roaming rates.

Accommodations in Cajamarca, Peru

Since we travel all year, hotel prices and eating every meal at restaurants would add up quickly. So we look for ways to save money. But if you only have a few weeks vacation per year, you may want to splurge on one of my first two accommodation suggestions.  The below two suggestions are for digital nomads and price-conscious travelers.

Costa del Sol Wyndham Cajamarca: This is for high-end vacationers that want to live it up because they only have a few weeks per year. This is on Plaza de Armas.

Hotel El Portal Del Marque: The restaurant in this place served us our favorite meals in Cajamarca. Plus, it is in the old town walking area of Cajamarca (2 blocks from Plaza de Armas) and is a colonial-era Spanish hacienda with a courtyard in the center.

Hostal Aventura: We stayed here for two nights. We waited until the last minute and everything else was booked. We got a small private room here with double bed and private bath for s/49 per night. The room was really small but the internet worked great, and the shower was hot with great pressure. It was about 6 blocks to Plaza de Armas.

Airbnb: We stayed here for two nights at s/76 sol per night which includes Airbnb booking fee. Gustavo was a great communicator and speaks English. You have your own private room and bath but there is a shared kitchen you can use with Gustavo and his family. These are very nice people and they are adding more rooms to their home now. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code www.airbnb.com/c/dbell50 for a discount).

Price Check: Once you have selected where you want to stay, then use HotelsCombined.com to find the agency offering the lowest booking price for that property.

Restaurants: Cajamarca, Peru

Hotel El Portal Del Marque: We tried four different ‘restaurants’ before we found this place. It is so good! For lunch, you can get a two-course meal with juice for s/10 ($3 USD). The sauces and dressings are unforgettable. Here you will have a combination of four things you will find almost nowhere else in the world, ambiance, gourmet food, authentic local dishes, and ridiculously cheap prices. They also are aware of vegetarianism so they had adaptations of the specials for me at the same price and the menu has English translations under the Spanish.

Street Food: Don’t be afraid to try the street food. For example, one day we had a breakfast that consisted of two Peruvian bread, egg, and cheese sandwiches with a choice of juice. The total was s/3 ($1 USD) for two people. Outside the hot water springs, we had an avocado sandwich for and juice for s/2 ($0.66 USD).

Cheese: Hearing about the big skies and large open land that could be purchased for cheap, many northern Europeans moved to Peru during the post-colonial period. A few brought cows and started dairy farms. So you will find really good cheese and yogurt in Peru. Of course, European style cheeses are double the local cheese prices. Our favorite is an Artisan Cheesemaker called Queso Los Alpes. Our tour to Otuzco included a stop at this Queso Los Alpes cheese dairy manufacturer. Here you can taste almost all of the famous European cheese styles but also learn how cheese has been made by Artisans for one thousand years.

Nightlife: Cajamarca, Peru

Sorry, we didn’t do the research and we didn’t bump into anything interesting happening at night. We did see signs around for both disco and karaoke, but we were exhausted from so much site seeing that we just went to bed at 10 PM every night.

Livability Factors: Cajamarca, Peru

Walkability: Old Town Cajamarca is very walkable. Most of the interesting stuff you can get to on your feet, so we did. We only had to get in vehicles to visit the hot springs and our two tours. But you can get a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi (“motor”) for about s/3 to most places in town. The automobile taxies are about 50% more than the “motors.”

Internet: The Internet can be decent here depending on where you stay. We stayed in two places, one had good Internet, the other only had a hot spot. So ask before you book if you care. Also, get a local SIM card and load it up with Internet data when you arrive in Peru. We bought our SIM card at Real Plaza in Chiclayo before coming to Cajamarca. It was about s/30 for the SIM card and 3G of data.

Food: The food prices in the local markets (e.g., Commercial Elizabeth) are cheap. If you try to buy from convenience vendors or stores not surrounded by competitors, it can cost up to double or triple compared to a market with multiple nearby vendors selling the same products and competing against each other. When the vendors see you go from booth to booth asking prices, they are more likely to give you a real price. But politely bargain anyway, it is a cultural thing.

Weather: The temperature in Cajamarca is about the same all year, highs of 21C/70F and lows of 4C/40F. The rainy season is February and March (15 days with some rain) and the dry season is June through August (4 days with some rain), the other months are about 8 days of rain.

Desire to Move Here: Medium. This is a green beautiful part of the world with wide open spaces around the city. If my dream was to find a place to start an organic sustainable farm just outside of a medium-sized city (Cajamarca 380k population) this place would be ideal physically at least. This place is gorgeous and green. You would have to check into the political environment before making a final decision. It is not really a place I would recommend for someone who enjoys more typical city activities like theatre, live music, arts, international food choices, or the European cafe lifestyle. But if you just need to be surrounded by gorgeous green mountains, grow your own food in your yard (or buy fresh foods in the market each day), and love cheap natural living, this might be your place. You will need to learn Spanish to live a full life here.

Final Thoughts on Cajamarca, Peru

This is my favorite place in Peru so far. It was 9 years ago that I last visit Peru. At that time, I only visited Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu. This time I am traveling from Ecuador going south on buses so I have the chance to see Northern Peru. The Andes mountains are turning out to be one of my favorite places in the world, almost without regard to what country I am in. The coastal cities along the west coast of South America, seem to be more influenced by the negative aspects of modern culture. However, villages and cities in the Andes seem to be able to keep more of their historical influences.

I would not miss Cajamarca if you are ever in Northern Peru.

The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

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