Through its architecture, Cajamarca summarises the encounter between two civilisations: the Inca and the Spanish. Its archaeological past, however, tells of more ancient times, including the Caxamarca culture (which existed until 800 A.D.) through its aqueducts and enigmatic petroglyphs, and other even older civilisations.
Just 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the city, in the Inca Baths district, the Ventanas de Otuzco stand out from the landscape. The site is a necropolis from a pre-Inca civilisation, older than the Caxamarca culture, most probably with Wari influences. Hundreds of galleries and individual niches, which resemble windows, were carved into the volcanic rock. The niches reach depths of up to 8 or 10 metres (26 to 33 feet) and have rectangular or quadrangular entrances which are 50-60 centimetres tall.
According to tradition, the Incas emptied the inside of the rock and gave the niches a different purpose: they were converted into grain deposits (collca, in Quechua), which led to the entrances being altered to protect the contents from the wind and keep them fresh. Through some windows, one can enter the dark and mysterious galleries, whose inexorable end inspired man's imagination in the creation of the secret passages that link Cajamarca with Cuzco.
Location: 8 km (5 miles) to the north of Chiclayo, Lambayeque region, 2,650 metres above sea level (8,694 feet).
Climate: semi-dry, temperate and semi-cold.
Average temperature: maximum temperature of 22°C (72°F) and minimum of 5°C (41°F).
Season: all year round.
Access by Air: flight of 1 hour 20 minutes. From there, visitors can take tourist buses or taxis to the Ventanillas de Otuzco.
Access by Land: Cajamarca can be reached by driving to km 695 on the Panamericana Norte highway, taking a turning and driving 161 km (100 miles).