Arequipa located in the south of Peru; it extends in an oasis 2300 m. above sea level, surrounded by desert and high mountains. By its proximity and intermediate location between the sea and the cities of Puno and Cuzco, Arequipa played an outstanding role in the viceroyal life of the region. During the republic, it strengthened his economy with the wool export of ewe and alpaca fiber, vicuna and llamas, supplying to the English industry. At the end of XIX century and beginnings of XX century, the city builds its economic leadership in the Andean south, constituting the second city of the country today.
The presence of the Misti volcano, symbol of the city, is an inescapable reference point in its historical process, because Arequipa not only has undergone successive earthquakes, but has been constructed with its own volcanic stone, the same gives rise to its popular name of “white city”.
Declared Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO, this colonial city of beautiful convents, temples and large houses, also preserves a great gastronomical wealth, a mixture of native products with foods of European origin.
Arequipa is the city of eternal spring. It has a dry climate, with temperatures ranging from 24 ° C during the day and 10 ° C at night. From January to March moderate rains fall, but the sun shines almost all year. Because of its altitude, 2335 m, altitude sickness is a contingency to take into account in this destination.
The White City constitutes in itself a tourist destination; it offers colonial historical monuments beautiful large houses and churches; also pleasant urban atmospheres, beautiful landscapes and an excellent gastronomical culture. The walks through the city include a visit to the Convent of Santa Catalina, the Company, the Cathedral and the House of the Founder among others.
Monastery of Santa Catalina
Constructed in sillar, it is the most important exponent of the colonial architecture of Arequipa. It is located in the historical center of Arequipa and after the earthquakes that knocked it down in 1958 and 1960; it was recovered and opened to the public. This originated changes in its structure, becoming therefore a citadel of peculiar characteristics.
In its cloisters the monastery it keeps an appraised the art gallery, in which is shown one of the most important samples of the religious art of the continent, besides an abundant private collection of the Cuzqueña School, maximal expression of the fusion of two cultures: the Inca and the Spanish.
A beautiful district which stresses the countryside with their crops, in remarkable pre-inca platforms. Some of their houses still retain features of a Republican pattern of the nineteenth century. There lies the Mill of Sabandía.
Valley and Colca Canyon
The impressive Valley of Colca is about four hours to the north of Arequipa from where it is possible to admire closely the majestic flight of the condor. The ascending path crosses plains and streams and where alpacas and vizcachas roam. The highest point is at 4350 m. above sea level, descending to the valley of beautiful landscapes surrounded by platforms and snow-covered mountains. Downwards, to 3400 ms of depth the Colca River runs, making the canyon one of deepest of the world. The valley contains archaeological vestiges of the Collagua, old inhabitants of the area, like the mysterious petroglyphs and caves. At both margins of the river are distributed colorful towns founded on century XVI, which still conserve their original design and traditional celebrations. Its inhabitants are still working the pre-Hispanic platforms and keep their colorful typical dresses.
Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve
Impressing landscape of volcanoes, rivers, salt mines and rock formations. It protects an altered ecosystem of dry puna that has been key to the preservation of the account of Chili River and the vicuna, in addition to other species in that habitat.
It has an area of 340,000 hectares and is home to the Misti volcano (5840 m), Chachani (6075 meters) and Ubinas (5676 meters), the most active in Peru.