Arequipa, the city of volcanoes

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Peru Arequipa Misti
Arequipa is he second largest city in Peru. Known as the White City, it was founded in 1540 under the name Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunta”. However, in September 1541, King Carlos V ordered that the city was called Arequipa.
This beautiful city is a fertile valley that is bathed by the Chili River and connects the beauty of nature with colonial buildings, therefore it is a place that su be visited if you decide to go to Peru.
Tourist Attractions

There are many tourist points around the city, in this post we will highlight the best-known and most popular spots.

Colca Canyon (Cañón del Colca)
Surely the Colca Canyon is the main attraction of Arequipa, and one of the most important in Peru. The canyon has a depth of 3400 meters and is considered the deepest in the world. It is located approximately 1 hour from the city center, and many activities can be practiced on its premises, such as biking, boating, trekking and climbing.

There are approximately fourteen villages along the route of the Colca Canyon, where you can see traditional celebrations, local crafts and textiles, and also hot springs.

El Misti Volcano
The city of Arequipa is surrounded by three major volcanoes: Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu. Of the three, the most well known is the Misti. If you like adventure, you just have to climb this volcano, which has an altitude of 5821 meters. We went up with some friends one time, the visit took us 3 days. The first part is done by car, to the area where it is possible to camp. On the next day, the trekking to the summit begins. Remember, if you dare to go up, hire a specialist guide, because, even though it is not a difficult climb, it is better to go with someone who knows the way and is able to help you if you get affected by the altitude.

Yanahuara Viewpoint

arcos mirador yanahuaraThe district of Yanahuara is an area of traditional buildings, with cobbled streets, where you will find many homes built with the famous stone Ashlar. In this district there is a viewpoint from which it is possible to see the wonderful landscapes of Arequipa, including its three most famous volcanoes.

The viewpoint was built in the 19th century, and is made of ashlar arches which have recordings of famous people from the city.

Main Square (Plaza de Armas)
You can not miss the Plaza de Armas, a place where not only tourists but also Arequipeños gather to walk, talk or just sunbathe and admire the landscape. Here we find the Cathedral, and the famous portals of Arequipa.

Church La Compañía de Jesús
Just like in Cuzco, the Church la Compañía de Jesus is a great tourist attraction. Built in 1698, in the Arequipa Baroque style, it has structures made of volcanoes 
ashlar. Inside the church you can find paintings from the Cuzco School.

Monastery Santa Catalina de Siena
monasterio santa catalina
Another important historic point is the Monastery of Santa Catalina. Founded in 1579, it was often affected by earthquakes and then rebuilt, while still maintaining its original appearance. Among other things, inside the monastery is situated the cloister of Sor Ana de los Ángeles Monteagudo, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The monastery, over 20 thousand square meters big, is located 5 minutes from the Plaza de Armas.

Sanctuary Virgin of Chapi
Located 90km from the Arequipa's center, the sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin of Chapi, Marian devotion born in Peru, is one of the country's most important devotions. The main festival is celebrated on February 2nd: The Day of Purification or 'Candelaria'; However, throughout the year the faithful make pilgrimages to the sanctuary, especially on May 1st (the date of the month dedicated to Mary) and September 8th (Feast of the Nativity of Mary).

picanteria comida arequipa

Typical Food

Arequipa is known for its traditional picanterías, where you can enjoy the typical rocoto relleno, el locro de papas, papel de papa, el soltero, “carnenolla”, cuy chactado, ají de lacayote, adobo, ají de camarones, ocopa and sarza de machas, as well as shrimp dishes, among others.

You will also find the delicious and diverse 'chupes', served on different days of the week: Monday is the coat; Tuesday, chairo; Wednesday, el pebre; Thursday, beans; Friday, shrimp; Saturday, timpusca, and Sunday, white loins.

All these dishes can be served with the traditional chicha de jora, beer Arequipeña or the popular soda Cola Escocesa (it only exists in Arequipa).

Other Attractions
An attraction that I like to visit whenever I am in Arequipa is the Iron Bridge, which is only 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas.

If you visit Arequipa, you can not leave without buying chocolates at La Ibérica, a famous traditional chocolatier where you can enjoy Peru's most delicious treats.

Like any other city, Arequipa has its nightlife area. In my opinion, the most recommended is Calle San Francisco, where you will find restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Just outside the city, you can go to the area of the countryside, where you can visit Sabandía Mills and Carmen Alto viewpoint (in Cayma).


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