Arequipa is the second most important city in Peru with regard to economic and political development, called “the white city” for the ashlar used in the construction and architecture of its buildings. As a tourist destination, Arequipa offers great natural (Del Colca Valley, El Misti, Canyon of Cotahuasi, etc.), cultural (Monastery of Santa Catalina), and archeological attractions.
The city of Arequipa (capital) is located 1003 km from Lima by way of the Southern Panamerican Highway (14 hours by bus: Peru bus, Ormeño, Cruz del Sur all arrive directly at the Arequipa terminus).
There are regular flights to the Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón de Arequipa Airport, from the cities of Lima (1 hour), Cusco (30 minutes), Juliaca (30 minutes), and Tacna (30 minutes).
We arrive in Arequipa, located on the side of the dormant but vigilant volcano Misti. We can begin with the city tour at the Plaza de Armas de Arequipa, surrounded by the Cathedral and several portals, the Portal of Cabildo (Portal of the Municipality), the Portal of Delights (Portal of San Agustín), and the Portal of Joy (Portal of Flowers).
The Cathedral of the city of Arequipa was one of the first religious monuments of the seventeenth century, and another prominent religious building is the “Church and Complex of the Company of Jesus”, buildings erected by the jesuits for religious purposes such as housing. We can also visit the Complex and Church of San Francisco, the Monastery of Santa Catalina, the Convent of the Recoleta, the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, the Casa del Moral, the Neighborhood of San Lázaro, Casa Goyeneche, the San Agustín Church and the La Merced Church, all within the perimeter of the Plaza de Armas.
Outskirts of the city
- Yanahuara Viewpoint: 2 km from the center of the city of Arequipa a series of arcs of ashlar was constructed in the nineteenth century, in which the words of famous residents of Arequipa have been engraved. From this point you can get an exceptional view of the city and the Misti volcano.
- Town of Sabandía: 8 km to the south of the city of Arequipa, expansive terraces and three volcanoes: the Misti, the Chachani, and the Pichu Pichu, surround this town.
- District de Cayma: Known as the “Balcony of Arequipa” for its exceptional location which allows one to view the whole city.
- Misti Volcano: 20 km to the northeast of the city of Arequipa, it takes one hour in a 4×4 truck in order to get to the side of the volcano. From the height of Misti’s summit, at 5825 meters above sea level, it is possible to see the city of Arequipa, the valley of the Chili river, and the Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
- Thermal Baths of Yura: 27 km to the north of the city of Arequipa (45 minutes by bus). Thermal wells located on the sides of the Chachani volcano, at 2575 meters above sea level. They are known for the therapeutic properties of their waters, of which the temperature fluctuates between 23° and 28°C.
- Snow-covered Chachani: 55 km to the north of the city of Arequipa (2 hours in a 4×4 truck). The truck brings you as far as the base camp and from this point begins a hike lasting approximately 6 hours to the summit. Considered one of the most difficult mountains to ascend in Peru, the snowcapped summit rises more than 6075 meters above sea level. It is an inactive volcano, but the lava is still visible in the small ravines. It takes two days and one night to climb.
- Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation: 35 km to the northwest of the city of Arequipa (1 hour and 30 minutes by bus). Comprising an area of almost 367 thousand hectares, the reservation spans the territory of the provinces of Arequipa and Caylloma (Region of Arequipa) and General Sánchez Cerro (Region of Moquegua). The reservation is located between 2800 and 6050 meters above sea level, and within this area are located the volcanos Misti (5825 m.a.s.l.), Chachani (6075 m.a.s.l.), and Pichu Pichu (5664 m.a.s.l.).]
Emphasized among the most representative species of the reservation are the viscacha, the fox, the condor, and the andean/parihuana flamingo.