Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Arequipa Travel Information
Upon arrival to Arequipa, you will feel deeply grateful that it is included in your itinerary of Peru! The city, located 1000 km away from Lima at the foot of Misti volcano, is Peru´s second largest conglomerate. Surrounded by several other volcanoes and snow-capped summits, it appears beautifully framed by breath-taking landscape. The locals commonly name it the 'White City' in honor of its buildings, largely made of a volcanic white rock that endows it with a quiant touch. Its friendly and welcoming people are really proud of their town, they even have their own flag and passport, different from the rest of Peru.
The Plaza de Armas is the best location to appreciate examples of the local architecture made from volcanic rock. The cathedral has been reconstructed several times, suffering the destructive effects of fires and earthquakes. It´s interior is rather simple but enchanting, especially the majestic Byzantine chandelier in front of the altar.
The Old Town harbors an array of interesting colonial and baroque-styled buildings and churches. One of the most impressive is Santa Catalina Monastery, a small walled-in city within the borders of Arequipa. Its intricate alleys and delicate details are nothing but a delight to photography fans. Another place worth of a visit is the Museum at Santa María Catholic University, where they exhibit 'Juanita', the famous Princess of the Ice, a 500-year-old mummified girl found on the snow-capped summit of Ampato.
Don´t miss Arequipa and its friendly people. This city also offers a vibrant nightlife found at bars and night clubs.
Several excursions can be taken from Arequipa into the region of the Colca Canyon. This is by far larger and deeper than the Gran Canyon in the USA, though its cliffs are not as steep. Before getting to the canyon, you pass by Chivay, a rather simple but attractive little town. This is the place to find the best local crafts, such as dresses, hats and finely-woven colorful handbags and purses. Staying overnight will offer the opportunity to visit a ?Peña´, a bar where local live music and dances are performed.
The road to Cabanaconde leads to the Canyon, which snakes its way through many small villages like Yanque and Achoma, flanked by ancient Inca terraces, still operational today. Pinchollo is another of the interesting places to go. There is a trail up to Hualca Hualca Volcano that makes for a 4-hour walk full of fantastic views of the canyon; unfortunately a geyser here was covered by rocks after an earthquake. The Condor Cross is no doubts the best spot for the most amazing view of the canyon, and from here you can admire the majestic birds at close range. Bear in mind that the best time to watch them is between 8 and 10 in the morning.
The descent down the Canyon begins here in the town of Cabanaconde. The trail winds down abruptly into the valley, taking approximately 2 hours and leading to Sangalle, a place known as 'the Oasis´, a complex of facilities featuring several cabins and pools. It is worth spending a couple of nights there. In order to explore the canyon in depth, you may head on to Tapay, trekking along the river course for 4 or 5 days
The region also offers other tours, maybe not as popular a choice as the Colca Canyon, but equally attractive. The Cotahuasi Canyon, the world´s deepest, could be considered. The trekking tours, which normally take several days, visit small waterfalls and offer beautiful views of the valley. Other good tours are the ones going up the Misti Volcano and the petro-glyphs at Toro Muerto.