"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.

  • Last visit to Arequipa: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (17)

  • Jul 21, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    ohhh this will be me in just over 2 weeks!! thanks for your insight into arequipa. im gonna try queso helado, but definitely not cuy!

  • Mar 19, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Queso Helado, even though the name is literally cheese ice cream, does not actually have cheese in it. It just has a lot of milk and cream.

  • pure1942's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    Great page and pics Mark. Planning on visiting Arequipa and Colca Canyon next year...don't think I'll be brave enough for the 'cuy' though ;) All the best. Brian

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2007 at 3:41 AM

    Thank you for visiting my Flores page. I missed Arequipa when I was in Peru, and I see from your page I should visit there next time.

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    Mark, great to read your interesting Arequipa page. I enjoyed my stay in this town and in the Colca Canyon some years ago.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2007 at 4:28 AM

    thats a really excellent page mate. i'm heading to peru myself by the end of the year. it looks very nice there indeed.

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2007 at 7:11 PM

    Wonderful page as always Mark! This looks like a wonderful trip, some times wish we weren't to old for this kind of travel! Great photos & very helpful information. So how was the Cuy? thanks :o)

  • maple_air's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2007 at 3:44 PM

    So, how dya find the taste of the cuy then?...does it taste like pork ( guinea PIG! ;0 )

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2006 at 8:24 AM

    Hi, Mark! Arequipa is one of the places I missed while in Peru, looks great, thanx for the page! Did you do the Inca Trail? I loved that! Greetings from Madrid.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2006 at 3:42 AM

    looking again at Peru and don't know how I missed your great photos of the churches. thanks. make Arequippa move up on places to visit list.


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