The South-West of Peru, at the foot of Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes, in Arequipa, also known as the "White City" for the color of its buildings.
Its unique architecture, its temperate climate - where the sun shines 300 days a year - and its beautiful scenery, make Arequipa a compulsory stop for those who decide to spend their holidays in Peru.
The most practical way of reaching the city is by plane. Arequipa has the International Airport Rodriguez Ballon that arrive daily flights from Lima and Cusco.
Also is accessible overland from Lima by the Panamericana Sur highway. The distance between the two cities is 1000 kilometers and the trip takes about 14 hours.
A cheaper option is to travel by bus. Departures are daily from Lima and several times a day. There are also daily buses from Cuzco (12 h approx.) and Tacna (7 h aprox.).
Finally, there is a train service that follows the Arequipa-Juliaca-Puno-Cusco route and has a duration of 23 hours.
The best way to get around Arequipa is by taxi. It is an option relatively economic (the price is quoted before the trip without parking meter) and fast. It is important to mention that for added security you should use only authorized companies. Ideally, the hotel takes care of managing the service.
Declared heritage of mankind 2000, the historic centre of Arequipa is a good starting point to visit the city because here you can find the main monuments.
To know the full extent the ideal is to explore on foot. So, the first thing shall draw the attention of the visitor will be its colonial buildings, where el sillar - volcanic stone white - plays a key role and gives its characteristic architecture to Arequipa.
In the Plaza de Armas, meeting place for the arequipeños, stands the Cathedral, a majestic building in neo-Renaissance style that encompasses all the road north of the Esplanade.
Towards the southern part of the square you can visit the Church of the company of Jesus, with its carved stone facade and following by Santo Domingo Street arrives at the convent of the same name.
Another unmissable tourist site of Arequipa is the monastery of Santa Catalina. Located four blocks from the Plaza de Armas, is a citadel of 20 thousand square meters, with streets and avenues, which also saves a collection of 400 paintings from the Cusqueña school.
Less than an hour from downtown, the typical picture of Arequipa, a city of one million inhabitants, changes completely when it comes to places like Sachaca, Sabandia and Cayma. Where Queen calm and the landscapes become green.
Sabandía, place where you can visit the mill built in 1785 is located 8 km from Arequipa. Another place of interest is Paucarpata, located 5 km from the city and famous for its platforms.
For spectacular views of the city you can go to the districts of Sachaca, possessing a viewpoint of 5 floors and Yanahuara whose Ashlar arches provide a beautiful postcard of the Misti volcano.
The countryside of Arequipa you can be reached by bus or by car, but if you have little time hire a tour is best. Tours last between 3 to 4 h and prices range between 15 to 35 dollars per person.
A trip to Arequipa would not be complete if you don't visit the Colca Canyon, which has to be one of the deepest in the world. But the excursion to the Colca is not only the barrel, the road is full of beautiful landscapes between the Valley, the mountains and the towns that comprise.
To hire a tour to Colca visit the Plaza de Armas, there you can find many alternatives with different prices and itineraries. As always, the best advice is to quote. The excursion to the Colca is possible in one or two days.
Arequipa boasts of being one of the cities with the best cuisine in Peru. The most famous arequipeños dishes are hot pepper filling, shrimp Chupe and marinade, which can be enjoyed in the typical restaurants, also called "picanterías". Some of the most well-known are the tradition Arequipeña, may Sun and Chicha, this last property of the famous Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio.
In Arequipa you can find accommodation for all tastes and pockets. For those who seek a place of luxury the option is Hotel Libertador, elegant five-star lodging located in the area of Selva Alegre.
If you are looking for a place that is sophisticated with a privileged location, the Sonesta Posadas del Inca hotel may be a good alternative. It is located in the Portal of flowers of the Plaza de Armas.
Three economic accommodation options are: Hostal Solar, Posada Misti House and the Santa Catalina hostel. All stand out for its central location and are within the recommended by the travel website Trip Advisor.Article copyright: Silvia García. Please contact the author of this article to obtain your permission and authorization express to be able to use or publish their content in whole or part. Cathedral of Arequipa - Martintoy
Monastery of Santa Catalina in Arequipa - Adam Jones, PhDMirador of Yanahuara - fortes
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