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Arequipa and Surroundings

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Arequipa, "The White City"


Central Arequipa with the Cathedral and the Palms

Arequipa, the cathedral in the city center



The city of Arequipa is the capital of the Peruvian region with the identical name.

It has over 900.000 inhabitants and it's Peru's second largest city.


Arequipa is located on the edge of the geographical area called Altiplano. This zone stretches across southwestern Peru, western Bolivia, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina.

It is a high plateau with an average sea level height of 3.500 m.


Those who visit Arequipa mustn't miss seeing the El Misti volcano, which overlooks the city, the Spanish colonial era buildings and the colourful religious mini city.

Arequipa is one of Peru's most beautiful cities.

This guide will present you the main attractions and will give you advice on getting there!


Arequipa is not only the 2nd largest in the country, but also considered economically the 2nd most developed, thus the second most powerful economic hotspot of Peru. Close to 6 % of the country's GDP is produced here!

Arequipa is the 3rd most visited city (Lima and Cuzco precede it).




The Dry Desert Climate


Arequipa is an all-year-round destination, with average daily temperatures of 20°C (68°F) per year.

Though, temperatures can drop in June, July, August to around 10°C (50°F) in the evening already.

The weather of Arequipa i in general warm, dry, throughout the whole year.




Main Attractions of Arequipa


Nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca or The White City, Arequipa has several iconic white and other light-coloured buildings. Indeed, the feeling that you get is of "whiteness"...

It is a very beautiful Peruvian city with beautiful white churches, palaces, houses...


Arequipa has 468 years of history. Quite an old city. Rich colonial architecture, universities, museums, palaces...

The city is famous for its many churches and recognized UNESCO World Heritage wonders.


Many travelers pass through Arequipa when travelling from the Cuzco and Puno directions to Cuzco and Chile.

Interestingly Arequipa has no Inca ruins inside or anywhere near it. It is though, a place where you can admire the masterpieces of Spanish colonial architecture and the mix of mestizo and colonial culture.

Though, there were some Inca mummies found in the Misti Volcano area.


A "Red Street" in Arequipa

Arequipa's colourful streets...



Plaza de Armas (The Main Square)

It is surrounded by buildings constructed of sillar.

The Plaza de Armas has beautiful palms in its center, surrounded by roads and walkways.


The buildings around the Plaza de Armas contain dozens of arches, which at night are very nicely lit!
Imagine standing in a small park-like place in the middle of palm trees and with rows and rows of arches around you... a beautiful sight!


This area has a number of other attractions, which are worth presenting in details, separately.


The arches are an two levels, which makes them even more interesting. The complex they belong to is the Arequipa Cathedral.

The Cathedral


The Cathedral is a "must see"... On most photos of Arequipa you will see this white church. It is a white building with two towers that get narrower towards their top.


In the year 2001 a major (over 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale) earthquake had occurred in southern Peru. Unfortunately one of the Cathedral's towers was literally demolished, while the other one was severely damaged.

Fortunately, they both have been restored since then!

Iglesia Y Claustro de la Compañia de Jesus


This complex is just a little bit southeast form the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa. Just cross the road diagonally and you will find it in the next block! It is that close... Just across the street!


The Santa Catalina Monastery


Considered the most important religious monument in Peru, it is also among Arequipa's most beautiful constructions.

It is a complex of buildings, internal streets.

It is like a tiny town with its own streets. Coloured walls...

Very very beautiful!


To find the Santa Catalina Monastery, you will have to walk 4-5 blocks.


The Colonial Houses


There are about 500 colonial houses and other old houses in Arequipa.

Notable and recommended seeing are: La Casa del Moral, La Casa de Tristán del Pozo, La Casa de Irriberry, La Casa del Pastor, El Palacio Goyeneche, La Mansión del Fundador.




Main Attractions in the Proximity of Arequipa


The main attractions in the proximity of the city are the 3 volcanoes.


El Misti Volcano


Iconic to this region around Arequipa and to the city as well...

A typical volcanic cone. Beautiful sight...


El Misti has a height of 5.822 m (19,101 ft) from sea level. It has a prominence of 1.785 m (5,856 ft).

The cone is often snow-capped...

El Misti is an active volcano!

The last eruption was in 1985.


Some take hikes to El Misti... It can be an interesting experience, but a dangerous one as well. Never go without at least one experienced hiker in your group.

Avoid getting to the top, where the crater is. The volcano is boiling constantly and sometimes it releases large amounts of hot gases. Hot or not, you might be in danger of not receiving oxygen up there.


The Gigantic El Misti Volcano

The El Misti Volcano... Fantastic view from above!



Chachani Volcano


Another volcano close to Arequipa.

This one is 6.095 m (19,997 ft) high. And a prominence of 1.963 m (6,440 ft).

Higher than El Misti, less popular than the latter and a less recognizable too, due to its irregular shape and multiple peaks.


Pichu Pichu Volcano


Pichu Picchu is 5.664 m (18,583 ft) high volcano with 7 peaks.

From the distance, the volcano looks rather like a mountain range. It is not a typical cone like the Misti, therefore, many people don't even know that the "mountain range" is actually a volcano...


The Incas used to bring sacrifices, offerings to this volcano.


Some companies organize guided tours to the peaks of Pichu Picchu Volcano. The ascent is dangerous and make sure that you are with well-equipped and trained personnel.




Getting to Arequipa


You can get in by plane, if you arrive to Rodríguez Ballón Airport. It is very close to the city and there are several domestic flights. Including some to Lima, Juliaca, Cuzco.


There are many buses to Arequipa. But the trips are long, even though there are very good roads connecting the city to other cities. Travelling time duration by bus are approximately: 18 hours from Lima, 9 hours from Cuzco, 6 hours from Puno, 12-14 hours from Pisco, 9 hours from Nazca and 8 hours from Tacna.


Trains: There are trains from Juliaca and Puno. This way, you can get from Machu Picchu and Cuzco to Arequipa through Puno or Juliaca.


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