Cajamarca, Peru

I didn’t have much of a reason to stick around Chiclayo so I was on the road by 7:30 heading south on the PanAm. Once again riding through a desolate landscape and through small towns. Occasionally the land would turn lush with green farms then back to brown nothingness. I wonder why the other towns don’t irrigate like the others.

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Coming from Ecuador this place overall is a dump. Trash is dumped all over the place. It doesn’t seem to be that they don’t care about not being clean because I see shop owners and homeowners sweeping in front of their buildings. But there’s definitely a culture of trash goes anywhere. Being behind busses and trash comes flying back at me and blowing down the road.

50 miles south of Chiclayo I took highway 8 east to Cajamarca. I didn’t have my Peru maps downloaded to my GPS or MapsWithMe so I was just following signs. Once on highway 8 the scenery was beautiful as the road went through a valley along a river, slowly gaining elevation.

IMG_3846 The road rose higher and higher above the river and valley floor. Soon I was at 10,500 ft before descending into the valley where Cajamarca sits surrounded by mountains.

IMG_3861I rode to Plaza de Armas, the main plaza in centro, and found Hostal Plaza. Just as I arrived it started lightly raining. Juliana at Hostal Plaza showed me where I could park my moto. They didn’t have a ramp to get up the high curbs so I had to ride on the sidewalk, and it wasn’t at at a straight angle so I couldn’t get the front tire over the last step. Two guys walking by jumped in to help get the bike in. Hostal Plaza is in a large old mansion. With courtyards, wood floors, and old plaster walls, it likely hasn’t changed much since it was built. I have a private room with a shared bathroom, wifi, and cable tv for $7/night (20 Soles). (I didn’t check if there was hot water like they said) One downside the downstairs courtyard didn’t open till 9 so I had to wait to leave.

Hostal Plaza

Hostal Plaza

When I arrived at the Hostal a family was leaving and the dad wanted to take a photo of me with his kids. So on some Peruvian kid’s facebook there’s some random picture with a gringo that they talked to for a minute.

Cajamarca is a old Spanish city with the standard colonial design. After a lot of walking around the city, I think I’m the only tourist here. The streets are crowed with locals buying and selling handmade alpaca hats, sweaters, produce, electronics, and a lot of Chinese made products. The difference of this city and the rural cities is extreme. The rural towns I passed by were so poor. Here there are fancy hotels near the center.

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I spent the afternoon doing the usual walking exploration around the city. No map, just walk and see what I see. Up a long flight of stairs just outside Plaza de Armas is Santa Apolina.

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From a guide book recommendation I had dinner at Sanguchon Grill and Bar where the walls decorated with old photos of classic rock stars. The burger was fantastic. It could have been bigger patty but that’s only cause it tasted so good I wanted more. On ave Jr. Junin there are many other restaurants, pizzerias, sushi, and more.

 

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