Why the White City of Peru is Worth a Visit
Why the White City of Peru is Worth a Visit
The beautiful white city of Arequipa, located in Southern Peru, has it all! Eternal spring, to start with. And a nearby beach. But on top of that, an amazing architecture, nice shopping opportunities, a great gastronomy, beautiful surroundings and…. the deepest canyon in the world!
If you are interested in history and love to visit impressive architectural structures, the City of Arequipa has a lot to offer. But also nature-lovers won´t miss out in the White City!
What is there to see in Arequipa?
The Cathedral of Arequipa is considered unique in Peru, as it takes up the entire side of the Plaza de Armas. Its construction was started in 1629, but it received its present final form after the reconstruction in 1844 when it was destroyed by a fire. Only a few years later, the Cathedral was again heavily damaged by a strong earthquake 1868. The Cathedral of Arequipa is one of less than 100 churches worldwide, that are allowed to hoist the flag of the Vatican!
Do you know why Arequipa is called the „White City“?
The City has its nick-name from the white volcanic rock out of which many buildings in the city are made. The biggest volcano close to the city is called El Misti.
The convent of Santa Catalina is one of the most important religious buildings that is preserved from the colonial era. In this time, many of the rich Spanish families gave her second daughter for “God and the kingdom of heaven” to the monastery. Up to 150 nuns lived there along with their servants in strict enclosure.
The Iglesia de la Compañía can be found at the lower end of the Plaza de Armas. It was built from 1595 to 1698 and is considered a perfect example of the mixture of the baroque and mestizo architectural style. The facade shows many elements of indigenous as well as the Spanish-Catholic culture.
Don´t miss out on the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries: The Museum hosts one of the most important archaeological discoveries in South America in recent decades: The Mummy of a young Inca woman was found in September 1995 by members of the by the US-American archaeologist Johan Reinhard Expedition at the top of the Ampato volcano – she was given the name Juanita.
Take the Dos Manos Arequipa City Tour if you want to visit all these impressive sites in the White City and know more about the history of Arequipa!
Shopping in Arequipa!
Did you know Arequipa is considered the world capital of alpaca?
Looking for Souvenirs? Arequipa is a great place for souvenir hunting and the number one spot in Peru for top-quality (baby) alpaca and other woolen goods. Here you will find the nicest designs and export-quality shawls, sweaters and others.
The Mercado San Camillo near the center is one of the most famous markets of the city. Here you will find everything you need from groceries over small restaurants to souvenirs! Another artesan’s market is located at Plazuela de San Francisco. But also in the small and beautiful streets around the Plaza de Armas, as in the Pasaje Catedral and Calle Santa Catalina, you will find really nice shopping opportunities.
Want to take a trip into the nature?
Apart from the impressive colonial and religious buildings, you shouldn´t miss out on the beautiful surrounding nature in Arequipa! In walking distance from the city centre is the relaxing neighbourhood of Yanahuara where you should visit the mirador: enjoy the breath-taking view on the Volcano El Misti!
Take a day trip to Puente Bolognesi or go and visit the water mill, el Molino de Sabandina, which is over three centuries old. The surrounding valleys provide many opportunities for adventure sports, camping and hiking!
Would you like to see the landmarks in Arequipa but also relax with beautiful views outside of the city? Then the Arequipa Campiña Tour is perfect for you!
The deepest Canyon of the world: the Colca Canyon
This is not enough? Close to Arequipa you will find the Colca Valley and the deepest canyon in the world: Colca Canyon!
At 4,160 meters (13,650 ft.) depth, the Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States! The Colca Valley has its name from the mud and stone granaries carved into the cliffs or caves, called “colcas”, where pre-Incan cultures would store crops and seeds. Today the Colca Valley features colourful small villages where the indigenous people maintain their ancestral traditions through festivals, handicrafts and agriculture terraces. You can also observe the mighty Condor here circulating above you head in the simmering heat – this animal used to be one of the three holy animals to the Inca.
How do I get there?
Arequipa has an airport 8km from the city. You can arrive with a number of airlines from Lima, Juliaca and Cusco. Alternatively, you can take an over-night bus from Cusco ( 10 hrs), or from Lima (17h) or from Puno (8 hrs).