An Arequipa is known as the White City for use in some colonial buildings a volcanic rock called sillar, which gives them that color. Southern Peru and much of central Peru are high up. Arequipa, in particular, is a little more than 2,300 meters above sea level. This causes that, first, oxygen is lacking, and second, the body works slowly the first days, if you arrive from levels close to the sea.
It is an expensive city. The mix of tourism, trade, and production makes it’s economy a bit higher than other cities in the region. Therefore, a good option to reduce costs is to use Worldpackers and do a volunteer or exchange in Arequipa.
Do not miss the Historic Center
The history of colonization has a meeting point with this city, which was recognized as loyal to the Spanish crown, and later, UNESCO declared the historic center of the city as a World Heritage Site for its cultural content. This city was part of the fight for freedom between the local peoples and the Spanish crown. And it still is. Its center is living history. The extension of this helmet is more than 300 hectares. If you want to go all over it, it will take you a whole day to walk and soak up the magic of the place. It is located in the center and in it you can see houses of colonial style and life along its small streets.
People dressed in costumes left in time, fluorescent colors, like many of the highland peoples of South America. “Mamitas” or “Cholitas” in its streets, selling all kinds of handicrafts, healing herbs, or typical foods.
The Monastery of Santa Catarina de Siena
This is another of the things to do in Arequipa. History tells that this building remained as a monastery for women who took vows, it remained crestfallen until 1970, and after that it was opened to tourism, demonstrating a kind of historical, living, spiritual, and cultural monument of the city and the region. Rather, I would say world-wide, due to the number of tourists that can be seen in it.
It can be visited every business day, and not on religious holidays. The entrance costs 40 Peruvian soles. There are some discounts, but they are only for people born in Peru, and for foreign students. So if you are a traveler, foreigner and travel cheap, this attraction may seem a bit expensive.
The Cathedral of Arequipa and the Church of the Company
The old town is also full of large houses and cathedrals that can be visited. Like the Cathedral of Arequipa and the Church of the Company, two monuments built with different styles of architecture and impressive majesty. Civil and military monuments of those times, some rebuilt for tourism, and no less impressive.
The central square or Plaza de Armas
As they say in Peru to the main historical squares, it is beautiful. Every day you will find tourists from all over the world taking photos, something very similar, but on a smaller scale than what happens in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. This place is another of the things to do in Arequipa that you cannot miss.
Things to do in and around Arequipa
Arequipa is in the middle of seven volcanoes. The Misti, the Chachani, the Pichu Pichu, the Sabancaya, the Ampato, the Hualca Hualca, and the Coropuna. The most important and characteristic for the citizens of Arequipa is the Misti. And for us too, since it is one of the two to which, if you dare and take precautions, you can go on a trek to climb it. The other is the Chachani.
Climb the Misti volcano:
You have to hire a tour from the city of Arequipa or go on your own to the neighboring town of Chiguata, 30Km from Arequipa, or to the Aguada Blanca and Salina Natural Reserve and from there start a “climbing trekking”.
It is important, and they will tell you when you are in the city, that you do not try to go on these treks the first days of being in the area, because the body needs to adapt to the altitude. El Misti is 5800 meters above sea level. If they feel like doing it, you should take these precautions.
The entire Arequipa area has beautiful views. Fields on the mountainside to feel inside a living postcard. With the entire city on the side of this volcano, I am not lying when I write that when you go and see this imposing crater so close to the city, it will shock you greatly.