The rock spires near Cumbe Mayo
Cajamarca is the first real city of any size that I have encountered since Cuenca on my trip south from Ecuador. This is good because it has given me a chance to upload some pictures since the internet is fast enough to accomodate this, and to buy a few necessary things before I leave the for the towns in the mountains on the road south towards the Cordillera Blanca. It is nice to have some variety in food choices and many shops to choose from, and for the most part Cajamarca seems like a reasonably nice city. In many ways it reminds me of a more rundown and less upscale version of Cuenca. Nearby Cajamarca are numerous archaelogical sites, but the one that I chose to visit was Cumbe Mayo. The site consists of a 6km long aqueduct carved into the mountains about Cajamarca by the Incas to bring water down to the city.
The Inca aqueduct at Cumbe Mayo
Cajamarca is at about 8,000 feet and the mountains around the city are at a little over 11,000 feet so the aqueduct carries water all the way down to the city. It is carved out of the stone with amazing precision, especially considering the tools available at the time. Around part of the channel located high in the mountains are these strange rock spires forming various shapes, some resembling animals and people, in a lush green landscape that is rather damp and cold when the wind is blowing and the sun isn´t shining. With ruins and the rock shapes together it makes for quite the amazing landscape. Other than that, Cajamarca is merely a stopover on the way south towards the taller mountains to come. From here, I take a bus south to Cajabamba and a combi from there to Huamachuco, a total over 5-6 hours. After that, the travel information seems to be rather thin as the road, or what passes for a road here, splits into two different paths, according to the maps both seem to arrive somewhere near the northern end of the Cordillera Blanca, although it is supposed to be a very rough journey, especially this time of year during the rainy season. Hopefully some of the people in Huamachuco will have some advice and information and I can continue to make my way south.