"The White City of Arequipa" Top 5 Page for this destination Arequipa by acemj
Arequipa Travel Guide: 316 reviews and 746 photos
Many tourists in Peru do the traditional route of Lima-Cusco-Machu Picchu and then head home. If you have a bit more time, a visit to Arequipa and the nearby Colca Canyon is certainly worth the effort for a few very good reasons. For starters, the dramatic altitude shift when going from Lima to the over 11,500 foot city of Cusco can be too much for some visitors. Going from the sea-level Lima to a more reasonable 7500 feet (2300 meters) in Arequipa allows your body to adjust slowly to the increasing altitude and thinner air.
The city of Arequipa is actually the second largest city in Peru and the largest between Lima and Santiago, Chile. The town was once an Aymara Indian and Incan village, until Francisco Pizarro and the Spaniards arrived in 1540. The architectural remnants of the Spanish conquest are beautifully evident in the white sillar stone that was used to build the various churches, courtyards and monasteries of Arequipa.
Another great thing about Arequipa is its location in a valley alongside the River Chili and surrounded by snow covered peaks such as the Misti Volcano, and the Chachani and Pichu Pichu Mountains.
I would suggest one full, uninterrupted day to explore the museums, churches and architecture of Arequipa and an additional two days to explore the Colca Canyon. While Arequipa has an abundance of restaurants and accommodations, the canyon would be best appreciated by staying overnight in one of the local villages.
One thing you won't find on this page is information on visiting Museo Santuarias de Andino, which is best known as the resting place of "Juanita" a young Inca girl who was apparently sacrificed to appease the gods over 500 years ago. Her body was found on Mt. Ampato in 1995 by a local climber and anthropologist Johan Reinhard. Unfortunately, an American from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. did some tests on the case in which Juanita is stored and discovered some humidity, so she was not on display and the museum was closed when we attempted to visit.
This church is slightly off the beaten path on northern edge of the center, but it's worth the short walk. When we were... more travel advice
Arequipa is a great base for exploring one of Peru's most visited spots, the Colca Canyon. The canyon is a few hours... more travel advice
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