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This past weekend, we hopped on a bus and visited an enchanting mountain city called Cajamarca. In Cajamarca, there are pre-Incan ruins, a farm that produces some of the best cheese you’ll ever taste, and a downtown that will sweep you off your feet in approximately 7 seconds.

We left Friday afternoon, and arrived to Cajamaraca Friday night. To get there, we had to drive through the expansive desert, impressive mountain ranges, and majestic valleys. Peru continually amazes me with its vast and diverse landscapes, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how scenic an entire country can be. We checked into our hostel, got some lasagna at a restaurant across the street (made with cheese from the aforementioned farm!), and went to sleep. The next morning we woke up early and caught a ‘minibus’ to downtown, which is just a passenger van filled to about twice its capacity.

Every city in Peru has a “Plaza de Armas” in it’s downtown, but this was one of the sweetest I’ve yet seen. There was a painting competition happening all day, so the streets and parks were lined with painters who were trying to capture the beauty of their city. It was like walking into a city from a Disney princess movie. We then took a bus up to Cumbemayo, which are the pre-Incan ruins. We hiked for about 1.5 hours, and although I was slightly disappointed with the ruins, the hike did not let me down.

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After the hike, we went to lunch and wandered the streets downtown. We ended up climbing a set of stairs that led to the top of a nearby ‘hill’ that overlooked the city, and I could not have planned a better way to spend the end of the day.

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The next morning, we woke up super early and went to the Baños del Inca, which are essentially hotsprings. When we got there, however, the hotsprings were closed, so we opted to do a ‘hotspring bath’. I didn’t know what to expect, nor could I have ever expected it. They have these large ‘baths’ in private rooms (think about the local YMCA hot tub), where you turn a large faucet on and hotspring water fills the tub. The algae that also filled the tub made for an interesting experience, to say the least! We had to catch a bus that afternoon, so we ate breakfast, caught a taxi to downtown for a little bit, and then returned to the bus station.

I need to stop visiting these little mountain cities because everytime I do, I decrease my chances of returning to the states by about 25%. This sweet little city stole my heart, and I had never even heard of it until a week before I visited!!
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