Arequipa is a unique, beautiful and interesting city that has enough to warranty at least 5 days of your travel time. Despite its picturesque location in the shadow of three dramatic volcanoes, its wealth of well-preserved colonial architecture, and vast array of accommodation options, quality restaurants, boutique shops and trendy bars, Arequipa, Peru, often gets overlooked in favor of its rival sibling, Cusco. I would like to give my 2 cents and say that Arequipa can give Cusco a run for its money in regard to the charm and scenic beauty. So if you find yourself in Arequipa during your Peru travels (and I thoroughly recommend that you do), here are a few of my favorite things to do in the city:
- Explore the architecture of ‘The White City’ Arequipa is one of those cities you could keep walking all day staring at the intricate details on doors, walls. It is all so magical. The 1st stop was the Plaza de Armas the white buildings with very Spanish rich architecture made a good stop fr coffee and perfection of doing nothing. Teamed up; with 5 french friends coffee and pastries were a staple.
- Take a peek of the the Santa Catalina Monastery It was founded in 1580 by a rich widow, and subsequently enlarged so that it now occupies an area of over 20,000 square meters just north of the city’s Plaza de Armas. The enormous complex was once home to 450 people (a combination of nuns and their servants), but now just 20 nuns reside in its northern quarter; the rest is open to the public. I did not get to see this myself – such a shame
- Experience the Misti Volcano – If your sporty self kicks in whilst in Arequipa Misti volcano is your stop – think volcano biking and climbing. Well for me, I decided to go for the stunning views best seen from the bridge on Puente Grau street. There are also great views from the main square at Plaza de Armas, where the volcano peeps out from behind the cathedral in well thought painting style. its best to combine this with a stroll of the neighborhood of Yanahuara where you get to eat some queso helado – cheese icecream. We tried this and though the texture is rather weird the flavors of coconut, cinamon, and cloves make it a great snack while exploring.
- Go shopping at San Camilo Market – I love checking out markets. Alex my roommate where were volunteering loved making fruits and yoghurt for us for breakfast so when we reunited again here we had to go get some fruits to get some rooftop breakfast as we soak in all the views and swap stories since we had split ways.
- Capture the flying condor at the 2nd deepest canyon in the world – I was not fortunate to capture the flying condors but the sight of the massive bird with strong great wings flying low with the background of the canyons was breath taking. I am glad I chose to drive up there and not hike as the cold and the altitudes would have killed me hahaha.