A volcanic backdrop provides an impressive setting for Arequipa, Peru’s second city. Volcano mountains Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu ring the city to the north and east.
From left to right, Chachani (partially obscured), Misti and Pichu Pichu volcanoes viewed from Arequipa’s Yanahuara Plaza
Located in the gigantic Andes Mountain Range’s Central Volcanic Zone, Misti last erupted in 1985 while Chachani and Pichu Pichu are extinct volcanic groups. All three volcanoes are climbable either with or without a guide. I didn’t consider climbing them because of altitude sickness. Continue reading →
Santa Catalina’s white volcanic stone walls tower over these Pokémon Go players
Founded in 1579, Arequipa’s imposing Santa Catalina Convent (monastery) takes up a whole city block and is a major tourist attraction. One can easily spend hours exploring the different rooms, cloisters and galleries. The convent’s history, size, architecture, art and ambience impress. Besides the museum, an adjoining New Monastery still functions although it is closed to the public. Continue reading →
Peruvian cuisine’s variety, taste and freshness make it South America’s finest. Although Lima has Peru’s best restaurants and food festival (Mistura), Arequipa is the city most synonymous with food. Following are culinary highlights from my time in Arequipa, including my favourite food from the city, country and continent: a true chocolate delight!
For ease of navigation I have divided the article into the following sections:
Originating in the Colca Canyon, Wititi dancing is important and unique enough to be included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Most visitors to the Colca Canyon see touristic Wititi dancing in town squares or at folkloric evenings but at Arequipa’s Yanahuara Plaza I was lucky enough to watch an informal performance.
In November 2016, to celebrate our birthdays, Rocío and I took a two day tour of the picturesque Colca Canyon. In southern Peru’s Caylloma Province, the Colca is one of the world’s deepest canyons and a must visit to see the Andean Condor. I had previously hiked the canyon. This time we wanted a relaxing trip. Booked through our YES Arequipa hostel, the tour was extremely good value.
On our first morning we were picked up from our accommodation by the tour bus and driven north to Chivay, the canyon’s principle town.
Festi Sabores, Festival of Flavours in English, is southern Peru’s most important food festival and a highlight of the Arequipa calendar. With free entry, Festi Sabores is held at Plaza Yanahuara over multiple days around October-November each year. Rocío and I enjoyed the 2016 festival enough to attend two days.
Cuyassic Park: like Jurassic Park but selling roasted guinea pigs instead (cuy in Spanish is guinea pig)Continue reading →
Note: see article end for 14 tips on visiting and hiking the Colca Canyon
A majestic Andean condor flying past Cruz del Condor in Peru’s Colca Canyon
One of the deepest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon is an excellent hiking destination and a prime place to see the awesome Andean condor.
Located in Arequipa Region’s Caylloma Province, the Colca Canyon is five hours’ drive north of Arequipa city. A major tourism destination, buses, tourist vans and guided tours depart daily from Arequipa for the canyon. Continue reading →