By Wand Agency
The beautiful north Andean town of Cajamarca is an unlikely spot to be the point from which the Spanish started their conquest of Peru in 1532.
It was here that they captured the Inca Atahualpa and held him for ransom.
Six tons of gold and silver was delivered in exchange for his life, but fearing reprisals the Spanish took the precious metals and killed their hostage.
Today, Cajamarcas laid back serenity belies that violent history.
Atahualpas ransom room remains intact, the last vestige of Inca architecture in a quiet colonial town.
Its Andean-Baroque style Cathedral and the churches of San Francisco, Belén and La Recoleta front the graceful Plaza de Armas.
At the center of the main square is an ornate fountain built in 1692 to commemorate the bicentennial of Columbus' landing in the Americas.
Beyond Cajamarca lie the rolling hills and green valleys of Perus northern tropical highlands.
The Baños del Inca, natural hot springs once favored by Inca royalty can be found five miles (8 km) from town.
The Ventanillas de Otuzco form an ancient cemetery that pre-dates the Caxamarca culture. Hundreds of galleries and individual niches that look like windows have been hewn into the volcanic stone.