Arequipa, the "White City"
at the foot of El Misti volcano

El Misti Volcano. Arequipa
El Misti Volcano by dongyuan - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Villa Hermosa de Arequipa is Peru's second largest city and Capital of the Department of the same name.

An area firstly inhabited by the Collaguas (7600BC), then overtaken by the Incas (6300BC) and finally given its name by Garcí Manuel de Carvajal in 1540, a Spanish conqueror-founder- close to Francisco Pizarro.

It preserves one of the best architectural legacies of the colonial time in Peru - a fusion of European and Native art - best evidenced in its manorial houses, monasteries and convents.

In fact, the "White City", as often referred to for its glistening white buildings made of sillar (volcanic rock) and ashlar (petrified volcanic ash), has its Historical Center listed as a World Heritage Landmark by UNESCO since year 2000.

The white city is not only one of the major cities in Peru, there is a wealth of attractions waiting to be discovered by you...

  • Santa Catalina Monastery
    A city within a city, home to the Dominican nuns for centuries.
  • Claustros de la Compañía
    Built in 1660 as the architectural complex of the Old Society of Jesus Monastery
  • La Recoleta Convent
  • Goyeneche Palace
  • Casa del Moral
  • Plaza de Armas
  • Cathedral

And Museums like...

  • Anthropological Museum of the Catholic University of Santa Maria
  • Archaeological Museum of the National University of San Agustin
  • Sanctuary Museum - Juanita Mummy's Collection
  • City Museum

More examples of this beautiful architecture from the Colonial past can be appreciated in surrounding towns like...

  • Chivai
  • Cavanaconde
  • Maca
  • Achoma
  • Yunque
  • Lari
  • Coporaque

And of course, the whole Department of Arequipa is full of natural wonders that you would love to explore...

  • Andagua Valley of the Volcanoes (with more tha 80 volcanoes without activity)
  • Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto and Sumbay
  • Cotahuasi Canyon
  • Colca Canyon
  • Laguna de Salinas
  • El Misti Volcano
  • Chachani Volcano
  • Picchu Picchu Volcano
  • Pampas de Cañihuas national park
  • Mollendo, Camana and Puerto Inca beaches

Colca Canyon: Where The Condor Flies

Andean Condor. Arequipa
Andean Condor by Chimi Fotos - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Colca Valley is located around 180 km. to the north of the white city (3+ hours driving), so your best bet in order to explore the area is to make base in the town of Chivai.

Its name comes from the profusion of "collcas" - deposits to store grain in pre-colonial times.

The landscape in the region is formed by "andenes"- terraces on the hills - a technique used profusely by the Incas for cultivation, supported by a complex system of artificial and natural irrigation.

But the most impressive sight is the Colca Canyon, formed by the erosion from the Colca River, with an extension of about 70km.

It was long considered to be the deepest known canyon in the world, but the Cotahuasi Canyon was found to be the deepest-3.354 meters- twice as big as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.
For sports and adventure lovers, Colca Canyon is ideal for hiking, trekking and whitewater rafting.

In fact, is one of the best places in the world for canoeing, with rapids of high speeds (gradient +V) in the upper part -Andagua (please check the International Scale of River Difficulty for more info).

December to March is the best time of the year to visit. Mirador Cruz de Condor is the ideal place to watch the condor, the biggest bird on earth, with a wingspan of over 3 meters and weighting up to 12 kg.

Absolutely magnificent...

Arequipa, Peru, will present you with an unforgettable travel experience while discovering this amazing South America...

Colca Valley. Arequipa
Colca Valley by Chimi Fotos - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

How to Get There:

By Air:
Rodriguez Ballón Airport only attends domestic flights. Check Airports in Peru for more info.
From Lima it's about 55 minutes ride.
You could also flight from Juliaca-Puno, Cuzco and Tacna.

By Road:
From Lima, heading south along the Pan American Highway and Pacific coast.

Where to Stay:

There is plenty of hostels and hotels in Arequipa, Peru. Check some of the following...
Find and compare best hotel rates in the city.
Book budget accommodation in Arequipa.


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