Mirador Santa Apolonia

I always say one of the best ways to see a new city is to get to its highest point. And that doesn’t change when visiting Peru. Cajamarca is located in the Andes mountains and is of substantial historical importance to Peru. Before you see all of the archaeological sites in Cajamarca then you must go to its most famous viewpoint.

This doesn’t have to be a huge part of your day either. Cajamarca sits at 2,750 meters. This is a decent height for a big city. If you’re just arriving in Peru then you want to take it easy for a day or 2 when arriving. The perfect thing to do is go on this short 10 to 15-minute walk toward the best viewpoint in Cajamarca.

Mirador Santa Apolonia

How to Get to Cajamarca

The busing system in Peru is amazing. Unless you are short on time (because Peru is huge) then you should always be taking a bus. The preferred online bus ticket website is RedBus.

Mancora to Cajamarca

This is the route we took since I crossed the border from Ecuador to Peru. Mancora is one of the most popular areas in the country, so finding a bus won’t be difficult.

  • Google the bus station in Mancora and head there. We paid 100 soles for a 7-hour bus to Chiclayo and then another 7-hour bus to Cajamarca.
  • If you can afford it, I highly suggest you upgrade your bus seat to the bottom deck for an extra 10 soles
    • This is especially good for night buses which are one of our favorite ways to travel
    • This gives you a massive seat, and more leg room and you can have a much better night’s sleep.

Lima to Cajamarca

The distance is much farther but there are better roads leading up the coast. The price is very good as well.

  • Head to Lima Plaza Norte. One of the bus companies that will take you there is called Emtrafesa.
  • The cost should be around $15 to $20
  • It is around 15 hours but such a deal

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

Viewpoint in Cajamarca Hike Details

  • Distance: This hike is around 1 mile. This depends on if which viewpoint in Cajamarca you go to. There is the church and the top of the hill.
  • Duration: It will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your fitness level from the main square.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as easy to moderate. It could be more difficult if you’re coming straight off the plane/bus as Cajamarca sits at nearly 2,800 meters.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 252 feet or 76 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.

You can find out more about this hike as well as reviews on Alltrails

My Experience Hiking to the Cajamarca Viewpoint

Cajamarca is a very unique town. Once you head downtown you will see many archaeological buildings spread across multiple streets. One of the most famous buildings in the town is the ransom room which held the last Incan Emperor before he was executed.

If you want to reach the popular viewpoint in Cajamarca then you should first head to the main square. That main square is called Plaza de Armas de Cajamarca.

Once here, if you look southwest you will see a bunch of stairs and a church. That is the viewpoint you will be heading to if you want to have great views of Cajamarca.

viewpoint cajamarca
viewpoint cajamarca

The Hike up to the Cajamarca Viewpoint

Once you see the white and blue church you will also see the interesting-looking set of stairs. These stairs come in at each other in a very unique but stunning way.

Along your trip up these stairs, there are many shops on both sides as well as some at the top.

This is the path to the church. You can also walk around the street in a spiral to reach another viewpoint of Cajamarca. This one is called Cerro Santa Apolonia.

Both of these are great, so it depends on personal preference which one you choose. You can easily do both as well.

The church is an interesting sight to see so I would suggest coming here.

Mirador Santa Apolonia
cajamarca viewpoint church
viewpoint cajamarca

Final Thoughts on the Viewpoint of Cajamarca

I love when towns and cities have areas like these. It makes for easy first-day activity and it also helps you get a feel for where you just arrived to. Notoriously, these types of activities are very popular so it is suggested to go early if you want to avoid the crowds. Overall it wasn’t too bad for us here as we went at 2 PM. Overall I suggest everyone visiting Cajamarca check out this viewpoint and church. It is a great way to get used to the altitude as well.

Thank you for reading my guide about visiting the viewpoint of Santa Apolonia in Cajamarca! I hope these views help push you to check out this amazing town in Peru.

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