Cajamarca, Peru, Northern Peru

San Pablo

Orientation

San Pablo indirectly receives a lot of attention in Cajamarca city for the Kuntur Wasi ruins. Unfortunately, few tourists make the trip and those that do tend to skip San Pablo entirely, seeing just the ruins and then heading back to Cajamarca city. However, the surrounding valley is beautiful, the people friendly, the food tasty, and the street is always buzzing with vendors, making San Pablo a great place to eat, shop, and relax after visiting the ruins.

Activities

Cajamarca, Peru

Kuntur Wasi Burial Ground

Kuntur Wasi Ruins

These ancient burial grounds served different purposes for four separate civilizations, beginning in 1100 B.C. Originally a ceremonial center with platforms and plazas, around 800 B.C., the Kuntur Wasi people added the terraces, retention walls, and central system of stairs that we still see today. They also added seven special tombs for certain elite, making the site a burial ground as well as a ceremonial site. It is also believed the Kuntur Wasi erected the stone monoliths and buried the gold for which the ruins are now known. The ruins are two kilometers outside of San Pablo – you can take a mostly flat, well-maintained trail from the center of town to the ruins, which you can see on a hill in the near distance. There are signs, but if you are having trouble seeing/finding them, just ask anyone nearby for ‘las ruinas’ and they will point you the right way.

At the Kuntur Wasi Ruins

Cajamarca, Peru

Kuntur Wasi Museum

San Pablo Museum

The San Pablo museum dedicates itself to the Kuntur Wasi ruins, displaying artifacts from the three civilizations that occupied the space over the years. Their biggest claim is the oldest collection of gold in the country. While the gold is the centerpiece, the museum has some impressively intact and reconstructed artifacts, including ancient pottery, tools, and decorations. If you speak Spanish or have a translator, we also recommend watching the video – it is very informative and well made.

Granja Porcón

There is a locally-owned dairy cooperative that does farm tours, sells artisan products, allows you to milk cows, and other agro-tourism activities. See more at their website.

Lodging Options

PeruLa Palmera

Address: Jr. Iglesias 241; Telephone: 076-559-041; Cell: 976-122-958

Virgen de la Puerta

Address: Jr. Nestor Batanero 416; Telephone: 076-559-089; Cell: 976-197-080

Hospedaje Juan Antonio

Address: Jr. Miguel Iglesias S/N; Cell: 990-057-711

Hospedaje San Pablo

Address: Jr. Miguel Iglesias 464; Cell: 976-922-128

Dining Options

Cajamarca, San Pablo, Peru

Monument to the Battle of July 13, 1882 – the only battle Peru won against Chile

“Pachekex”

Address: Jr. Cajamarca 557; Cell: 990-673-961

Polleria “El Mayta”

Address: Jr. Lima 160; Cell: 941-878-088

Restaurant Parilladas “El Chalan”

Address: Jr. Lima 144; Cell: 969-691-633

“Sabor del Norte”

Address: Jr. Nestor Batanero 476; Cell: 945-638-627

How to Get There

Cajamarca, Peru

Kuntur Wasi Monolith

In Cajamarca city, get a taxi to Grifo Continental (S/.3 or S/.4) – you will be dropped off at a gas station, which is across from two parking lots with vans and taxis in them. If you’re facing the lots (i.e. back to the gas station), the lot on the left has vans, which claim to run on a schedule but actually don’t. There will probably be two vans in the morning and one in the afternoon. If you arrive well before a departure time, go to the lot on the right and ask for San Pablo. You will be pointed to the next colectivo car leaving for San Pablo, which will leave as soon as it fills up. It shouldn’t take long, but it’s definitely a toss up – could be five minutes, could be over an hour. Prices: S/.10 (Note that it is S/.12 for the front seat, which can be totally worth it since they seat four people in the back) Trip Time: 1.5 hours