Two or three nights in this lovely ‘white city’ is a great way to start to acclimatize to altitude. As you do so you can explore the handsome colonial buildings that have made Arequipa’s centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enjoy the superb Andean food the city is renowned for, and take in the views of the three snow-topped volcanoes that act as a majestic backdrop. Then you’ll be ready to head to higher altitude and discover Colca Canyon…
Reasons to visit Arequipa
- The colonial architecture really is beautiful and fascinating. Don’t miss La Merced, the Cathedral, the 16th century Santa Catalina convent and the Jesuit Iglesia de La Compañía, known for its colourful and unusual murals.
- Learn about the ancient civilisations that inhabited this region, and meet Juanita, the ‘Ice Maiden’ mummy, at the Catholic University Museum.
- Shop! Arequipa is a brilliant place to buy high quality products. You’ll find everything from brightly-coloured textiles to the softest of alpaca products in the Mercado de Artesania (artisan market) based in the old jail, and there are many shopping malls where you can also find antiques and leather goods.
- Eat! Arequipa is at the centre of the revival of Peruvian gastronomy and is famed for its native dishes and Andean cuisine. Make sure you have a meal in a picanteria – these communal restaurants are the perfect place to try traditional food while indulging in a spot of people-watching.
- Head out of town for amazing views of the perfectly conical El Misti volcano.
- The elegant sleeper train, the Belmond Andean Explorer, runs between Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa – and could make a wonderful element to your holiday.