Arequipa
Peru
By Chelsie Kozera

Arequipa, Peru is the second largest city in the country and sits at an elevation of 7, 661 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. The magnificent snowcapped El Misti volcano stands tall behind the city, setting it apart from other places settled in the mountain range. Arequipa is known as the ‘white city’ and once you take a walk among its Spanish-style white stone buildings, admiring the white snowcapped mountains above, you’ll appreciate the nickname.

Getting to Arequipa is easy. You can fly into Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP) only 12 kilometers from the city center. Book your flight with WhatsCheaper.com (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php). The airport has daily connections to the following cities: Lima, Cusco, Tacna, and Juliaca. You can also fly internationally from the Rodríguez Ballón International Airport to countries like, Chile and Bolivia. Taxis and buses are the only form of transportation from the airport to the city center.

WhatsCheaper.com recommends you stay near the Plaza de Armas in the city’s historic center. You won’t be bored if you stay near the plaza and it’s easy to find places that suit all budgets. You can book a hotel with WhatsCheaper.com by clicking here (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas in the city center is comprised of white volcanic stone buildings encircling a small park with palm trees and benches great for people watching. This plaza doesn’t disappoint! It’s the perfect spot to shop for alpaca sweaters, grab a Peruvian meal at one of the many second floor restaurants, or even get a massage at one of the local parlors. WhatsCheaper.com suggests you begin discovering the city in the Plaza de Armas, but there are also many more things to do.

A great way to get acquainted with Peruvian culture is to learn about their food by exploring the local market and taking a cooking class. Carlos, a good-humored native to the area and founder of the Peruvian cooking experience, teaches a class on Avenue San Martin in the Casa de Avila Hotel in Arequipa. The class only costs 40 Soles a person and includes the cost of food. He begins the course by walking you up to the San Camilo Market and explaining foods that are unique to Peru. Meanwhile, he is loading up on veggies, fruits, meats, spices, and cheeses to make a delicious lunch. After taking a walk around the market you’ll go back to Avenue San Martin to find a beautiful outdoor kitchen in a courtyard of the hotel. Here, Carlos will instruct you on how to make two traditional Peruvian meals and email you the receipts after class. This truly hands-on cooking class is a great activity to partake in while traveling through Arequipa.

If you’re not one for cooking, there are plenty of opportunities for trekking around Arequipa. This city is often referred to as ‘Canyon Country.’ Although the nickname implies that Colca Canyon is right in the Arequipa’s backyard, it’s actually a 5 hour bus ride to the canyon. As one of the deepest canyons in the world and a great place to spot condors soaring through blue skies, the canyon is definitely a site to see.  If you decide that Colca Canyon is too far then El Misti, the 5,822 meter high volcano overlooking the city is a great alternative for a hike up, rather than down into canyon country. Hike to the submit of El Misti in just two days and it will cost you approximately $160 for the trip. You can also opt to go downhill mountain biking down El Misti with numerous local tour companies. If you’re thinking this seems ambitious for your relaxing trip to Arequipa then maybe you would enjoy one of the double-decker bus tours.

The bus tours range from 2-5 hours and take you all around the city and beyond to catch a glimpse of the main square, the Cayma District, Centro Historico, Goyeneche Palace, Basilica Catedral,  the Inca Terraces, and many other attractions. These tours are relaxing and informative and make for a nice day out in the city.

Another exciting attraction in Arequipa is the Museo Santuarious Andinos. This is not just any museum; its home to the mummy Juanita found in 1995 on Mount Ampato. Juanita was a girl about 11-15 years old who was killed as an offering to the Inca Gods sometime between 1450 and 1480. She is almost entirely frozen making her one of the most well-preserved mummies in history.

Peru’s second most populous city is packed with activities for tourists, whether it be cooking, trekking, biking, bus tours, museums, or just walking around the white city admiring the influence of Spanish architecture while you consume delicious Peruvian dishes. WhatsCheaper.com knows you will most certainly enjoy your experience in Arequipa, Peru. 

MUST SEE IN Arequipa LIST:

  • 1. Colca Canyon
  • 2. Historic Centre of Arequipa
  • 3. Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
  • 4. Peruvian Cooking Experience
  • 5. Cathedral of Arequipa
  • 6. Iglesia la Merced
  • 7. Yanahuara
  • 8. Plaza de Armas
  • 9. Monastery of Santa Catalina
  • 10. Molino de Sabandia

Arequipa EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Anniversary of Mollendo - January
  • 2. Virgen de la Candelaria - February
  • 3. Santa Rosa - August
  • 4. All Saints' Day - November

PHOTO GALLERY