The best time to visit Cajamarca is during May or June for the Festival of Corpus Christi. Until the early twentieth century this was the country’s premier festival, before it was superseded by the traditional Inca sun festival, Inti Raymi, held at Sacsayhuaman in Cusco. Corpus Christi nevertheless actually coincided with the sun festival and is traditionally led by the elders of the Canachin family, who, in the Cajamarca area, were directly descended from local pre-Inca chieftains. The procession here still attracts locals from all around, but increasing commercialism is eating away at its traditional roots. Nevertheless it’s fun, and visited by relatively few non-Peruvian tourists, with plenty of parties, bullfights, caballos de paso meetings and an interesting trade fair. The city’s other main fiesta is Día de Cajamarca (Cajamarca Day), usually around February 11, which is celebrated with music, dancing, processions and fireworks.

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