Main Plaza of Arequipa
Santa Catalina Convent
Santa Catalina Convent
The city of Arequipa sits nestled in a fertile valley located over 2300 meters above sea level, among typical landscape of the maritime Yunga ecological level, in the southern Andes. Arequipa is the name of the region, the province, and the regional capital, which is one of the most prosperous cities in Peru, thanks to the efforts of its inhabitants who proudly call themselves “characatos”.
The naming of Arequipa is interesting, as there are legends which tell of Inka Mayta Capac, who when passing through the area, authorized his vassals to populate the region saying Ari Qhepay, which means “yes, you stay”, in Quechua. Another meaning comes from the Aymara language, influential in the area, which would be “behind the mountains”. This is the geographical location of Arequipa, behind the Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu mountains as seen from Cusco as the center of the Andean universe.
The city of Arequipa was founded by the Spanish on the 15th August 1540. They used “sillar” stone (a white stone formed from volcanic lava) as construction material, and so the city is also known as “The White City”. Destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1868, the city had to be rebuilt almost in its entirety. There are still some houses built in architectonic styles such as barroque and necrotic, emphasizing the beauty of the sillar. The historic center of the city of Arequipa was declared a Cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO in the year 2000.
The arequipenian countryside is a beautiful watercolor painted by the farmers in their fields. One important economic activity in this region is cattle farming, the other of course, tourism. Arequipenian food deserves a chapter of its own, best enjoyed in the typical “picanterías” (local restaurants). Simply a treat for your taste buds.
National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca
Another beautiful attraction to visit is the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca, home to flamencos and south american camelids such as the vicuña and guanaco, which are protected by Peruvian environmental laws. Pampa Cañahuas provides us with the perfect backdrop to observe these camelids.
One of the “main dishes” of Arequipa is the wonderful Colca Canyon. Carving through the Andes mountain range, the Colca river canyon is considered to be one of the deepest canyons in the world. The Cruz del Condor lookout is a special place to watch the flight of the largest bird on the planet, we mean of course the condor (vulture gryphus).
The depth of the canyon, the flight of the condors and the agricultural terraces built by ancient peoples, makes this trip an unforgettable experience. Another beautiful watercolor of our land.
Also history leaves us impressed with the famous mummy “The Lady of Ampato”, also known as the “Mummy Juanita”, found on the Ampato volcano close to the city. Stories of our land. Arequipa is an enchanting places where poets and composers have been inspired by the beauty and strength of the landscape of this wonderful part of Peru. Arequipa says “ari qhepay”. Welcome.
design by Gissel Enriquez - development by Jeronimo Design DDS