Arequipa is undoubtedly the second most important city in the country, both for its demographic and its levels of economic development, being currently an axis of economic development in southern Peru. Its greater economic income is made up of industrial, agricultural and livestock activities; it stands out in the production of wool textiles of camelids of export quality, being also one of the most important departments in the production of milk. In addition, this city has an exquisite and varied cuisine, and is endowed with an excellent tourist infrastructure, which has allowed, on occasion, to host the most important national and international events.
Arequipa, in Quechua Ari-Quepay, has a wide range of tourist attractions, from its architectural monuments such as temples, monasteries, and large houses built with ashlar stone. For its part, the Arequipa landscape has an extraordinary beauty that captivates and attracts locals and foreigners alike. To the beauty of its countryside is added the beauty of its volcanic mountains (Misti, Chachani, Pichupichu), forming part of the Volcanic Mountain Range. Among its main attractions are the Cathedral of Arequipa, the temple and convent of the company of Jesus, Monastery of Santa Catalina ("a small city within a city"), old houses such as the house of Moral and the Goyeneche house, and the impressive canyons of Colca and Cotahuasi. Exactly because of the way of construction, of its buildings and monuments, with sillar (volcanic lava stone), Arequipa is known as the "White City". It was founded on August 15, 1540, and recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity in the year 2000.
How to get?
- Terrestrial: The main road is the South Pan-American Highway (Lima - Arequipa). The trip lasts approximately 14 hours. by bus; 1009 km of route. From the city of Lima there are interprovincial services of land transportation to this city.
- Air: Arequipa has a perfect air communication with different regions of Peru. There are daily air flights from Lima to the Alfredo Chávez Ballón airport (approximately 1 hour); This airport is located 25 min. from the city of Arequipa. In addition there are links to other regions of the country, including:
»Cusco (30 minutes approx).
»Tacna (30 minutes approx).
»Juliaca (30 minutes approx).
In addition, there are scheduled flights to Bolivia (La Paz and Santa Cruz), and Chile (Arica, Iquique and Santiago).
- Railway: This region has a wide railway network that connects the cities of Arequipa - Juliaca - Puno - Cuzco and Quillabamba.
Arequipa is a city of warm temperate climate although it presents / displays precipitations regularly. If average temperature is 17 °C. Here it is normal that being summer it can rain, even, in a torrential way.
What you should do in Arequipa:
- Tour or trek to the Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world.
- A walk to the Historical Center, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
- Visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena, a fascinating colonial construction.
- Try the local food in one of the "Picanterías" of Arequipa.
The main attraction in Arequipa is the picturesque area of the Colca Valley, an area of incredible beauty. It is one of the deepest canyons in the world, reaching a depth of 4160 meters and is home to the famous Andean condor. The valley also has a vibrant indigenous culture including several examples of the Inca agricultural terraces, irrigation systems, hot springs in the Calera and various activities from adventure sports or experiential tourism with the villagers. For all lovers of architecture, the city is known as "The White City" due to the beauty of its white structures made of ashlar, a white stone obtained from nearby volcanoes. The historic center of the city is home to numerous convents, monasteries, Catholic churches and museums. For this reason the Historic Center was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With all this beauty and history, Arequipa is the perfect place to enjoy a walking tour of the city. The local cuisine in Arequipa is argued to be the most varied in all of Peru and while in Arequipa, we recommend visiting several of the traditional "Picanterias" to try local dishes like "rocoto relleno" (it can be a bit spicy, so ask before of ordering), alpaca meat, ocopa, guinea pig and many more. Also the nightlife in Arequipa is in the best of Peru, since Arequipa has many bars and nightclubs.
What you should see in Arequipa:
- Visit to the mummy Juanita, also known as the Lady of Ice, this mummy preserved in the ice is of a girl who was sacrificed to be offered to the Inca gods.
- Visit the exhibitions of the different museums of Arequipa as:
- Art Museum
- Archaeological Museum of the Catholic University of Santa María
- Archaeological Museum of the National University of San Agustín
- Sanctuary Museum
Security tips in Arequipa:
- Be careful using ATMs, avoid using them at night if possible.
- Always carry coins with you - many taxis / small shops do not have change to turn around.
- Avoid using ATMs at night.
- Beware of pocket thieves and NEVER bring your passport or credit card with you unless it is 100% necessary.
Typical drinks and dishes:
- To drink, a good local beer, regional soft drinks or chicha de jora (corn).
- Solterito: Salad of fresh cheese, beans, onion, olives, tomato and rocoto.
- Pebre: Soup with lamb, beef, chalona or lamb jerky.
- Shrimp soup: Shrimp soup with milk, eggs and huacatay.
- Arequipenian Adobo: Pork meat marinated with chicha conch and spices cooked in the pot.
- Frozen cheese: Ice cream based on milk, cinnamon, coconut and spices.
- Stuffed hot pepper: hot pepper stuffed with minced meat with cheese, milk and accompanied by potato cake.
- Ocopa: Cooked potatoes, dipped in fresh cheese sauce, beans, onion, olives and rocoto.
- The Sanguito: Sweet made from ground wheat, raisins, honey from chancaca (honey from sugar cane), milk and butter.
Other useful tips and info on Arequipa:
- Arequipa has a semi-arid and temperate climate and the rainy season extends from the month of January to the middle or end of March. If your idea is to see the condors fly, you should bear in mind that, although Colca can be visited at any time of the year, it is best to do it between the end of March and the end of June, since it is there when the condors abound and the area is green. for the rainy season. That would be the ideal season since the sighting of the condor, the largest bird in the world, is one of the flagship activities of the Colca. As much in Arequipa as in Colca it is important that you take something of shelter for the nights, since it usually refreshes, even in summer.
- The ideal time to stay is 3 or 4 days to enjoy the city and spend time in the Colca Valley. But you could also do it "very fast" in 2 full days: 1 day to see the city (without leaving the Monastery of Santa Catalina) and another full day to see the Colca Valley.
- Police telephone number: 105
- The iPeru office is in the Plaza de Armas and there you can get a map of the city and information about the tourist attractions.
- One of the sites with the best internet connection is at the Chaqchao chocolate shop, which also sells craft beer, a delicious hot chocolate and finger-licking cakes. Address: Santa Catalina Street 204
- Arequipa, like any city, has supermarkets both food and clothing and other objects, various stores as well as banks and ATMs to withdraw money and exchange houses. Credit cards are accepted in many establishments and restaurants.
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