The Arequipa Rundown
Arequipa is tucked away in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,335 metres (7,661 feet) above sea level. The city is known as the second most populated city in Peru. The snow-capped volcano of ‘El Misti’ overlooks Arequipa; the city’s colonial-era buildings were made from pearly white volcanic rock, explaining the city’s nickname of ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ or ‘The White City’.
Arequipa offers something for everyone. People who love adventure can go to the Colca Canyon. Moreover, the most popular place for climbing is ‘El Misti’, a volcano that looms 5,822 metres (19,100 feet) above Arequipa. While making your way down the mountain, you will see magnificent views and pass the Laguna de Salinas. Also, the Chachani Mountain features a 6,000-metre (19,685-foot) peak. If you bring along crampons, an ice axe and good equipment, then you will be ready to go! As another option, for a river-rafting experience, take a trip down the Río Chili. Then once you are back in the city of Arequipa, you can visit other wonderful sites, including museums, entertainment, restaurants and nightlife!
When To Go
The climate in this beautiful city is warm and rather dry on a year-round basis. Located along the southern tip of Peru’s coast, the city has a wonderful share of sunny weather. In general, the weather in Arequipa is mild. Temperatures in the daytime are rarely below 20°C (68°F). In the evening, the temperatures in Arequipa may drop sharply, especially in June, July and August; the temperature during these months can stay around 10°C (50°F) and may fall to 5°C (41°F). The rainy season is during the first months of the year, and rainfall is moderate. A good time of year to visit is from April to June.
- High temperatures of 24°C (75°F); low temperatures of 5-10°C (41-50°F)
- Rainy season lasts from January through March
Those who travel by plane will come into to the Rodríguez Ballón International Airport, located approximately 19 km (12 miles) from the city. There are three national airlines – Lan Perú, Aero Condor and Star Perú; they have flights from Lima, Juliaca and Cuzco. Visitors from other continents will most likely have a connecting flight through Lima or Cuzco.
A taxi ride from the airport to the main square or a local hotel may cost between 15-20 soles (about USD $5.50-$7.50). There also may be extra charges for luggage (usually about USD 15-20 cents per piece).
To get around town, you can rent a car, including a driver, for as little as USD $6 per hour. You can also find trustworthy taxi companies like Taxitel, Panataxi, Mega Taxi and Taxi Turismo Arequipa. As a safety precaution, after leaving a restaurant or club at night, it is a good idea to call a taxi in order to safely return to your hotel.
Peru's second city is a formidable rival to the vast capital of Lima. For a historical center, snowy, volcanic backdrop of El Misti mountain and untold cultural appeal, Arequipa is more than special. The city's attractions, from the Cathedral to Convento de Santa Catalina, Convento de Santa Teresa and Puente de Fierro, rank among the very best in the country.
A seamless blend of architectural styles that vary from Mestizo Baroque to traditional colonial results in what UNESCO calls “a creative coalition of European and native characteristics”. As such, Arequipa is a boon to visitors today. Santa Catalina Monastery dates back to the late 16th century and is a rare and fine example of the Mudéjar school of architecture in South America. Day trips outside of the city to traditional villages and points of interest like Colca Canyon and the petroglyphs of Toro Muerto are a must.
Attractions & Activities
- Cathedral of Arequipa
- Convento de Santa Catalina
- Convento de Santa Teresa
- Molino de Sabandía
- Puente de Fierro
- El Misti
- Semana Santa
- Festival de Musica
- Feast of Santa Rosa de Lima
Restaurants & Nightlife
- Ary Quepay
- Sol de Mayo
- La Truffa
- El Cerrojo
- Las Quenas
- La Lena
- Forum Rock Café
Arequipa has a mild climate, with moderate conditions throughout the year and a short rainy season between January and March. Temperatures range from 10°C to 24°C.
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