Las ventanillas de Otuzco: The beautiful pre-colombian graveyard near Cajamarca

English, Insider Report, Journal, peru

(Approximate reading time: 5 minutes)

Who has ever heard about Otuzco? You probably thought, that in the headline is written “Cuzco” or it could be a typo. But it’s not. Even people from Peru got confused and not anybody knows where or what Otuzco is. Read the story about an insiders’ recommendation and a worthy tourism destination.

ventanillas de otuzco
Where is Otuzco located on the map?

I arrived in Cajamarca, which is far away in the mountains of Peru. Located on 3.000m (9,842ft) altitude in can be quite fresh and windy there. But the air is beautifully purified and doesn’t have a high pollution what lets you breath deeply. Fortunately I arrived there during the late summer season in early March, so it wan’t that cold. But imagine really cold months like July or August I was glad to have picked the right time to arrive.

Ventanillas de Otuzco – Thanks, dear entrance sign!
Otuzco, from miles away

In the area of Cajamarca is a lot to see and to do: Camping activities, hiking challenges, vacations and experiential activities on a traditional Peruvian farm, swimming in waterfall areas and health spas are only a little part of the all things that are possible. One sight invites to be seen and discovered. Maybe it’s not as exiting as all the activities before, but it will still astonish you.

Little description of the history (in Spanish)
Little description of the history (in Spanish)

“Las ventanillas de Otuzco” (The little windows of Otuzco) is a Pre-Colombian archaeological site located 8 km northwest of Cajamarca. The crypts fulfilled its function of funerary enclosure, at least that’s what experts and archaeologists expect the site to be. And obscurities and myths are always good to create a reputation and story. It’s located on a volcanic rock and has an area of 4000 square meters, what is quite a small tourism destination.

So much about the facts and figures. There is a bus connection that brings you directly to the entrance of Otuzco. You will need to pay 5 Soles for the entrance which is basically more cost coverage than revenue. Additionally you can pay for a tour guide, who will lead you through this site. But seriously: It’s so small and all the basic information can be seen on a sign.

Climbing up the hill can be exhausting. Don’t forget, that you are on 3.000m altitude and might have a heavy backpack on your back. So take your time for all the steps when you ascend, it’s not as easy as it looks on first glance.

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Directly above and at the sides of Otuzco there are several little sheds, cabins and simple fabricated estates in which people live under humble conditions. There isn’t any overhead power cable that could supply these people with an electric current. Hence the people are not influenced from any radio or television and gain all there information from mouth-to-mouth propaganda in the villages.

The children of the farmers and ranchers are as well very innocent and don’t really know, what’s going on in the world. They will beg you for a few coins but offer you a story or two about Otuzco. When my travel buddy put out his camera and wanted to show them some of his pictures from Ecuador and Colombia, they were all very curious and gathered around him. Probably they don’t see ver often so different people like a Greek with a nice camera very often. I put out my camera and took this photo when they were all looking for his pictures.

What a beautiful view from Otuzco to the landscapes
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A closer shot to zoom into the tombs

But a few minutes later they lost their interest and went away to play some games. Time enough for me and my friend to rest a little bit, enjoy the tranquility of the area and to observe all the green spaces in the surrounding. Otuzco is definitely worth a visit!

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