Arequipa, also called the White city, is one of the most important cities in Peru. This city is namely known as the juridical town. But why do people call Arequipa the White city? White city comes from numerous and magnificent temple constructions, convents, homes and palaces using white stone. The material employed on the constructions of the houses and other places with a material brought from the Misti volcano, which ashes have the white colour which characteristics the town. Besides that is Arequipa one the cleanest cities of all Peru.
Arequipa is one of the only places in the world where you can admire the beauty of snow captured mountains combined with the green countryside and overwhelming volcanoes. And apart of the wonderful view of the surrounding nature, Arequipa has an excellent climate, with almost 300 days of sun per year and a sky, which is –almost- always blue. You can enjoy the warmth of the sun in one of the many natural reserves in the city.
This is probably one of the most interesting places to visit while you are in Arequipa. Around 1580 Santa Catalina was built as a city in a city and expanded in the 17th century. Over 400 years, 450 nuns lived here, totally cut off the outside world and inhabitants of Arequipa had no idea what happened inside these walls. Nowadays, there are still nuns living in the north area of the complex.
The best way to visit Santa Catalina is to hire one of the guides; those guides are waiting for you at the inside of the entrance. The duration of the guided tour is around 1 hour and after the tour you have the possibility to explore Santa Catalina yourself.
You can find the Franciscan convent, La Recoleta, next to the Rio Chili. The building is originally from 1648, but the earthquake in 1687, destroyed a large part of the building. You can find a library inside with more than 20.000 books, since the Franciscans are known for studying and teaching all their life. The oldest book you can find in this library is from 1494. You can daily visit La Recoleta from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Cathedral is located at the main square of Arequipa, with its two stunning and timeless towers is it one of the cleaners and most beautiful churches of Peru. It is definitely worth to take a visit to this wonderful place when you cross Plaza de Armas.
Only 2km away from the centre of Arequipa, you will find on the main attractions in the city. You will explore portals made of stone and on this portal there are written some of the most important characters from Arequipa. You can reach Yanahuara viewpoint within 10 minutes by car and it is open any time during the day.
Volcano El Misti
El Misti, which means the Gentleman, is the most famous and elegant volcano of Arequipa and is located in the middle of the two smaller volcanoes, the ‘Chachani’ and the ‘Picchu Picchu’. You have the possibility to enter one of the three national parks and enjoy the spectacular view and the volcanoes. To visit one of those national parks is definitely worth your time when you are visiting Arequipa.
The Colca Canyon
The Colca Canyon, only 160km east of Arequipa, is the second deepest canyon in the world, behind China’s Tsangpo Canyon. Not everybody knows this, but the Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the famous Grand Canyon. This special place offers you over more than 100 types of birds, more than 300 types of plants and more than 30 types of cactus. You have the opportunity to visit the canyon with a one-day tour or t do a trekking of multiple days.