With the snowcapped El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu Volcanoes towering gloriously above the city, the rolling green campiña and the sun shines all year round; Arequipa – nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca (The White City) – is one of Peru’s most stunning cities.
Arequipa most definitely rivals Cusco for the title of Peru’s second most important city. With famous people such as the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, among its citizens, and arguably the most delicious cuisine in Peru – if you don’t believe us just try a rocoto relleno or chupe de camerones washed down with a shot of anisado – this city has a lot to be proud of! People from Arequipa have a strong sense of their identity and are often considered stuck up by the rest of the country – in fact, you can even buy fun Arequipeño passports here!
The White City & Colca Condors
Just 3 hours from Arequipa is the breathtaking Colca Canyon, which is thought to be almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The journey there is a great experience in itself – you climb up to Andean plains where you can spot herds of vicuñas and llamas and then dip down into the canyon itself to find small traditional villages with young boys herding cattle and women in colorful and traditional clothing. Stand on the edge of the canyon and wait to see giant condors drift on thermal winds above. Once you’ve done all that, why not relax in the thermal waters at the end of the day? You’ll have earned it!
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WHAT NOT TO MISS IN Arequipa & the Colca Canyon
Arequipa’s main square
The Plaza de Armas in Arequipa is arguably one of the most stunning squares in Peru, the entire Plaza glimmers with its sillar architecture – white, imposing and aesthetically unique. Impressive colonnaded balconies line three sides, on the north side of the Plaza the impressive twin-towered cathedral soars above the Plaza and feels belittling. However, even this colossal edifice is dwarfed by the snowcapped silhouettes of El Misti and Chanchani volcanoes, both visible from various points of the park.
Santa Catalina Monastery
At 215,280 sq.ft. (20,000 sq.m), the Monastery is a fascinating miniature city in its own! The monastery occupies an entire block and guarded by high walls, while it was closed to the public until the 1970s, you should only be so lucky to spend hours (or ages) wandering through the narrow passageways, streets, and small squares hidden behind its walls. By far one of the most fascinating and impressive religious buildings in Peru, this convent should not be missed, save a handful of hours to explore.
Just 3 hours from Arequipa is the breathtaking Colca Canyon, which is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The journey there is an experience in itself – where you climb up to Andean plains and spot herds of vicuñas and llamas, in the evening dip down into the canyon to find small traditional villages with young Peruvians herding cattle and women in colorful and traditional clothing. The canyon has many adventures to offer, from hikes to cultural exchanges, it’s rich with experiences to be had.
Cruz del Condor
On the Cruz del Condor lookout point in the Colca Canyon you can spot condors during the early morning hours. Stand on the edge of the canyon and wait to see giant condors drift on thermal winds above. Viewing platform Mirador Cruz del Condor is for amateur and professional birders. Early May until early December is the peak dry season for spotting condors in the region. The ideal time to visit the mirador is between 9 am and 12 noon on the canyon’s rim.
Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
San Camilo Market
|08680, Perú||Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is quite possibly the reason you chose to travel to Peru in the first place! It was recently voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and we guarantee that this magical spot will not disappoint you. Read more…|
|Cusco, Perú||Cusco is the jump off point for a trip into the surrounding Sacred Valley to the less visited ruins and brightly painted churches of the southern valley en route to Puno or to crop circles and Inca salt pans…and of course to the World Wonder of Machu Picchu! Read more…|
|Valle Sagrado, 08670, Perú||Nestled deep within the Peruvian Andes, the Sacred Valley is home to charming Inca towns, impressive archaeological sites, and traditional local markets. It is also one of the best areas in Peru for a wide range of adventure activities while en route to Machu Picchu. Read more…|
Known as the ‘City of Kings’, Lima is a city of contrasts. A mix of the old world and the new; modernity and tradition…Lima is a chaotic yet fascinating capital city. As well as being Peru’s capital, it is also the capital of gastronomy for all of the Americas! Read more…
Lake Titicaca / Puno
Legend has it that the children of the sun god, Manco Capac, and his sister, Mama Ocllo, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca to build the Inca Empire. Explore the floating Uros Islands made from totora reeds and, discover the region’s authentic folklore. Read more…
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
|Selva Amazonica, Perú|
Early morning bird watching, late night jungle walking, fishing for piranhas, or a visit to the world’s largest macaw’s clay lick where hundreds of birds meet to feed – a truly colorful sight! There’s nothing like the wildlife that thrives in the Peruvian Amazon! Read more…
Ica, Paracas, Nazca
Situated on Peru’s arid desert coastline, this region boasts an interesting mix of ancient local culture, spectacular natural beauty and adventure sports. Ica, Paracas, and Nazca makes a great stop off or break point on a coastal ride towards Arequipa. Read more…
Trujillo & Chiclayo
Surrounded by jagged snowy peaks, glaciers and turquoise blue lakes, Huaraz is a real mountain adventure destination, not to mention home to ancient cultures and charming little villages. Read more…
Depending on your client’s preferences, we can help you determine the best experiences tailored for your clients. From where to visit, when to go, what to do and how to get there safely, our travel experts will help you create an experience your clients will love.
Best times to
visit arequipa & the colca canyon
Arequipa has a sunny, dry climate. There is very little rainfall, so Arequipa is good to visit all year round. It is best to visit the Colca Canyon in the dry season from May to November with the greatest numbers of Condors seen between June and September.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air travel is available between Arequipa and the cities of Lima, Juliaca and Cusco. LATAM, Aero Condor and Star Peru each offer daily nonstop flights between these cities.
While passenger train services are no longer available, many bus lines travel frequently between Lima and Arequipa. The journey between the two cities via the Southern Pan-American Highway takes about 14 hours. These bus companies provide non-stop journeys, with meals, air conditioning and comfortable seats. There is also a limited bus service available between Arequipa and the cities of Cusco, Puno, Pisco, Nazca, and Tacna.
Public transport in Arequipa is available by bus and minibus which cover specific routes.
Taxis can be hailed from the sidewalk and since drivers usually work independently, fares are reasonable. However, while the taxis may have a meter machine none of the drivers use it. A price for your destination should be decided upon before getting in the car and it is possible to bargain a bit. Be aware that some cab drivers may try to overcharge you by saying prices are per head but it is always one price per ride for all passengers. If you have excess luggage a minor extra amount may be charged.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several different types of accommodations to choose from in Arequipa. Hotels range from the deluxe variety to those for the more budget minded traveler. There are also numerous hostels available for the city’s independent visitors from which to select.
Arequipa has many upscale restaurants in and around the best hotels however this does not mean that a nice meal cannot be found elsewhere. There are a variety of other restaurants available at all price ranges to be found in and around the city.
More highlights of Peru
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