Baños del Inca

January 13th, 2008

They say that Inca Emperor Atahualpa was taking a well deserved rest on his way back to Cusco after a long journey from Quito and the recent defeat of his half brother in battle. While bathing he was disturbed by a messenger bringing word that strangers had arrived, these strangers were the Spanish.

In the time before horses, mototaxis and cars in the Andes, it is obvious why hot springs were enjoyed. Us less-hardened people of the 21st Century seem to enjoy them just as much, as a trip to Baños del Inca will prove.

Cajamarca has preserved the original bathing pool of the Inca Atahualpa as well as some canals leading to it. Around it however, a modern complex has been constructed with a large public pool and dozens of smaller private pools of various shapes and sizes and quality. All cost no more that 6 soles for the recommended 25 minutes you should spend in the hot water, and whether the various stories of the healing properties of the waters are true or not, it is definitely enjoyable.

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