- Program & Schedule
- Living & Location
- Country Information
Program & Schedule
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 & Objectives
- Help you familiarize yourself with the local surroundings
- Teach you helpful Spanish words and phrases
- Broaden your knowledge of the local customs, history and culture
- Provide a full induction, preparing you for a longer stay
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 is our last visiting spot before heading back 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 to explore further.
Then to top it all off, a visit to the thermal baths for a relaxing evening will conclude your action packed week!This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Participant Criteria & Requirements
Minimum age: -
Maximum age: -
Minimum English level: Basic
CRB required: On Signup
Passport copy required: No
Resume copy required: No
Required qualification: None
You must be aware of the altitude (2750 MASL) and effects it may have on the condition of your health.
Living & Location
You will be staying in the Los Baños del Inca district found in the east of Cajamarca. It is known for being centered on a naturally occurring thermal spring!
Located only a short distance away from Cajamarca city (Capital and largest city of Peru’s Cajamarca Region, enriched in culture and history), this quiet location provides a relaxing atmosphere after a day out. The accommodation has beautiful view of the Andes Mountain Range and is close to the Amazon Rainforest, it will bring you back to South American nature!
You will be staying in our accommodation center in Banos del Inca, Rural Cajamarca countryside. The house is made with traditional materials such as adobe and stone, it also has large gardens and its own chicken coop off to the side. WiFi will be available in your rooms, but keep in mind that it may not be stable at times. We recommend also using 3G data if staying connected is important to you.
All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. Although rooms will be cleaned daily by staff, you will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your part to keep the accommodation neat and organized.
The food will be typically Peruvian meaning lots of corn, beans, rice, chili peppers, potatoes, wheat, and other grain, all very vegetarian friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy!
Since our centre is located in close proximity to the township of Baños del Inca, you will have access to a range of facilities including the local gym and swimming pool.
There are many local coffee shops and restaurants in the main township within walking distance of our centre. Restaurants & Cafes, a Swimming pool, mini-mart, a fitness gym, supermarket, and shopping mall are all close by.
The accommodation is about 1.3km from the main square of Baños del Inca and about 20-30 minutes away from the Cajamarca city center by bus.
There is Wi-Fi in your rooms as well as public areas at your accommodation, but there is also an internet cafe in the main township where you can access wifi from when you are not at the centre.
There are numerous shops and ATMs in the center of town.
Activities & Events
Guinea Pig Farm
An ancient Incan tradition, learn from the locals exactly why these animals are so important to Peruvian homes and assist in their feeding and raising.
Agriculture is a very important aspect of every Peruvian countryside home. Home gardens, or “Chakras” as they are called, still use ancient Incan irrigation systems for the upkeep of this vital source of nourishment. You’re more than welcome to join us in the evenings and help with the maintenance of this special part of Peruvian life.
Join your cook as they prepare meals for you and other participants. Take notes, learn new recipes, traditional food preservation techniques and more! Try not to spoil your dinner as you learn!
Daily: Mornings and Evenings
Watch the local farmers near your accommodation, as they tend to their animals in daily rituals like shearing and milking.
Sights & Surroundings
You can easily reach Chiclayo, Peru’s fourth biggest city, by public transport which is cheap and frequent. Chiclayo offers shopping centers, a cinema and nightlife, but it is also a major traffic hub in northern Peru. This makes it easy to travel on the weekends or after your program.
There are plenty of small restaurants or shops around the area. There is an active surfing community and it is easy to make local friends, we can also point you to our Tandem Skydiving program and some other events.
Only 12 km outside Trujillo. Once a quiet fishing hamlet, the town is now one of the best places for surfing.
Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1534, Trujillo has 709,500 inhabitants. It is the home of the beautiful Plaza de Armas and its glamorous colonial. 4 hrs from our accommodation, this city by the ocean is referred to as the everlasting spring, where temperature is usually 32ºC, and where the very important Festival de la Marinera takes place.
Having said that, the main reason why most people pass through this coastal city is to visit one of Peru’s top-attractions: the Chimú adobe city of Chan Chan.
Built around AD 1300, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world. You can visit it by taking a combi from C/España. The ticket (10 S) includes entrance to the Nik-An temple, the Chan Chan museum, the Huaca la Esmeralda and the Huaca Arco Iris.
A bit further from the city, the Huaca del Sol y la Luna is over 700 years older than Chan Chan and belongs to the Moche culture. The temple is filled with icons representing Ai-Apaec, the god of the mountains, feared for provoking phenomena like El Niño. To stop him from sending heavy rains, the Moches would offer him human sacrifices.
The ruins of a religious structure in Peru’s northern highlands only 2 hours from our accommodation.
Located 5 hours away is a northern Peru town, rich with history, politics, religion, culture and hometown of the international famous muralist Jose Sabogal. Here, you can also visit unspoiled archeology sites and old monuments.
Bambamarca and Chota
Located 3 and 4 hours away, respectively, these towns are known for their festive activities in the months of June/July.
Leymebamba and La congona
Six hrs driving up north, with a little more than 4000 souls, Leymebamba is the perfect, quiet place to try visit La Congona, it can be reached on foot by hiking uphill from Leymebamba.
Museum of Leymebamba is just half an hour walking from Leymebamba. Inaugurated in June 2000, the Museo Leymebamba displays more than 200 mummies and their burial offerings recovered in 1997 from the Laguna de los Cóndores by a salvage Project directed by Centro Mallqui. Once at risk from looters and vandals, today this valuable collection is housed in the Museo Leymebamba. An initiative of The Bioanthropology Foundation Peru-Centro Mallqui, construction of the Museo Leymebamba was made possible by a donation from a group of Austrian citizens, as well as by funds from other private donors.
Also known as the Warrior of the Clouds, the Chachapoyas were a pre-Incan civilisation who lived in the cloud forests of present-day Peru. Chachapoyas contains intriguing archeological sites to explore, however the drive is 12 hours away from our Center, so good planning will be required.
Kuelap: The second Machu Picchu
Famous fortress of the mystic “cloud warriors”. One of the very few places never conquered by the Incas. Visitors describing Kuelap indicate that it is “as impressive as Machu Picchu” while it is by far not as crowded or expensive.
The government just recently decided to invest heavily into tourist infrastructure around Kuelap. Be one of the last persons discovering it while it is still relatively unknown!
The waterfall of Gocta (771m) is amongst the highest in the world. Although methods of measurement are debatable, it got recognized as the world's third highest waterfall, right after Angel Falls (Venezuela) & Tugela Falls (South Africa). Combine your visit with Kuelap and pick Chachapoyas as your homebase to have an adventurous weekend!
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):
- Shaullo Grande
- Lambayeque (Chiclayo)
- Pimentel (Chiclayo)
Name: Republic of Peru
Population: 31 million
Language: Spanish (Quechua, Aymara)
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone: PET (UTC -5)
Peru is the third largest country in South America; a country known for its incredible cultural heritage such as the renowned Machu Picchu and the remains of the Inca Empire. Although the Incas are the most famous ones, there are other manifestations of pre-Columbian cultures and unexplored archaeological sites which can be located in the North of Peru. This magnificent land composed of a variety of landscapes, climates and biodiversity, is visited by tourists from all over the world.
In Peru, it is possible to enjoy a range of activities from surfing in the Northern beaches to hiking in the Andes Cordillera, from trekking in the humid and hot Amazon rainforest to visiting cultural sites, excellent museums, and enjoying traditional dishes. Peruvian people are very friendly, warm, and ready to help or to introduce you to their customs. You will find in these regions a great diversity of ethnic groups, festivities, handcraft, and gastronomy.
Peru is a country of contrasts where the crazy traffic is surpassed by the majesty of mountain ranges. You will find cities peaking at altitudes of more than 6700 meters, infinite beaches with beautiful sunsets, the magically diverse landscape of the tropical rainforest and let’s not forget about the llamas.
Despite being near the Equator, the presence of different regions of the Andes Cordillera and the arid coast along with the effects of the cold Humboldt Stream induce highly distinct weather. The climate in Peru consists in three main regions: Costa, Sierra, Selva (the coast, the mountains and the jungle).
The coast of Peru represents 10% of the whole surface of the country. Within this part of the coast, the north has a semi-tropical climate. Because of the Humboldt Stream, the temperatures are not that hot for a desert. The temperature is around 24°C all year long. The Southern region, including the central coast and the south, has a subtropical climate. The temperatures range from 15°C during the winter to 26°C during the summer. Summer is from December to March.
Alongside the Andes Cordillera, the winter is dry and the summer rainy. The annual temperatures fluctuate from 11 to 16°C but with wide differences from one site to another because of the different altitudes. Therefore, it is better to come during the winter from May to September during the dry season and enjoy the Costa during the summer.
This is the Amazon region of Peru that represents 60% of the Peruvian surface. The climate is humid, hot, with rainfall all year long and especially during the rainy season from January to April. During the dry season, it usually rains once per week with temperatures fluctuating around 30°C.
In any case, it is preferable to have 3 kinds of outfits for cold, hot and rainy weather. This beautiful country has different climate zones since it has deserts, mountains and Amazon rainforest.
The Peruvian culture is widely known for its Inca Empire and the ruins of Machu Picchu. However, Peru includes a lot of other different cultures that are lesser known. Before being colonized in the 16th century by Spain, and before the Inca Empire, other cultures were already very organized, structured economically and politically. This is particularly the case of the Chavín and Mochica cultures which date from 1800-200 BC. Hidden archaeological treasures of these cultures are present in the north of Peru. The Lambayeque Region is the biggest hotspot of unexplored archaeological places in the world while the south of Peru is the most touristic region with Cusco, Machu Picchu and Arequipa.
The country recognizes the practice of other religions. Nevertheless, since its independence from Spain in 1821, Peru remains mainly catholic at 80%. Therefore a lot of churches are present in the country. Inspired from the colonial style, they often constitute the sights to see, along with buildings from the same era in big cities such as Chiclayo, Piura, Trujillo, Arequipa, and Lima. Even with Catholicism as the predominant religion, several events and festivities in Peru refer directly to Inca celebrations and ceremonies. Peru is a colourful country, as evidenced by the traditional fabric you can find in the handcraft markets.
The city of Cajamarca is renowned for its carnival where paint battles take place every year. If you are out and about on those days, expect to be targeted with paint and water during the celebration. Peru is also a country of dances. The national dance is the Marinera and it is frequently practiced along the coast, while traditional tribal dances can be found in jungle areas.
Nowadays, Peru is a multicultural country due in part to the colonialism period, but also because of the different migration phases. The indigenous population represents 45% of the population while the rest is a mixture of different ascendances. A third of the population is Metis and has Spanish origins. Then there is a melting pot of European, African and also Asiatic people. The indigenous are more present in the Selva while the rest of the country is mixed with the other ethnicities. Also, in the jungle and mountains, it is more frequent to see people wearing traditional clothes such as the poncho, the hat and the long skirt for women. While the Amazon represents 60% of the Peruvian surface, it is the least densely populated region of the country. Therefore, it holds lots of beautiful unseen areas and uninhabited parts, which remain untouched by humans.
Another important sector in Peru is the fruit production. Peru is a land of fruit trees, like Mango and Cherimoya, which are very tasty.
Peruvian gastronomy is award winning! Among its specialities are the Ceviche, which is made with raw fish, seasoned with lemon and spices, the Anticuchos made with beef heart, the Chicha Morada, a national drink made with purple corn, and the national alcohol: Pisco.
Peruvian gastronomy is considered to be one of the most diversified and famous in South America. Very often, dishes include rice; this may be in part because of the Chinese migration influence. Since then, “Chifa” in Peru has been used in reference to Chinese cooking.