Arequipa is one of the largest and most exciting cities in Peru. It’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the combination of heritage architecture, a lively modern cultural scene, and stunning natural landscapes in the surrounding area make it a must-see destination.
The Andes Mountains are to the north and east of Arequipa, and the Chili River cuts through the city’s heart. It’s therefore always been shaped by the natural environment, even though the Spanish attempted to implement a checkerboard city plan.
It’s the historic centre of Arequipa which is the greatest attraction; more than 500 of the buildings here are heritage properties. The distinctive volcanic stone used for construction is fairly earthquake proof, which is why structures such as the churches, convents, and palaces have survived.
From Arequipa, let us take you out to the Colca Canyon, either on a day trip or for a longer visit. Set in a colourful Andean valley, the canyon is one of the deepest in the world, cut by the Majes River. This is the best place in Peru to see vast condor, as they circle just below the canyon’s rim. Relax in thermal pools, mountain bike and hike to the Mollepunko Caves to see ancient rock art depicting the domestication of the alpaca, and to the Fortaleza de Chimpa, an impressive mountaintop citadel. The views in every direction are sublime, so don’t forget your binoculars and camera.