Arequipa

(Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO)

Arequipa, at 2,300m above sea level, is well-known as the “white city” because the sillar (white clay) is used for the construction of most of the colonial buildings and monuments. Located 1,009 km from Lima, close to the Southern volcanic range, is Peru’s second largest city, with a population of approximately 800,000. However, it has the feel of a small town, with the center being compact and containing most areas of interest. Away from the center, the city rapidly becomes residential, although there are a few sights worth visiting.

The city is splendidly located, in the shadow of three giant volcanoes. Chachani, at 6,075m is the highest, but it is the perfectly conical Misti that draws the attention. After the rainy season, when the snowline often reaches several thousand meters below the summit, it is wonderful just to admire the mountain. Although Arequipa is in the middle of a desert, agriculture has ensured that directly around the city there is plenty of greenery. The barren hills clearly visible from the city form a stark contrast with the fields found throughout the city.

Arequipa contains many wonderful attractions, including its magnificent historical center, Santa Catalina Convent and the amazing Museo Santuario de las Alturas, which contains a frozen Inca mummy child sacrifice.

Besides the architecture and museums, the countryside around Arequipa holds many attractions for the visitor, like the colonial Molino de Sabandia watermill, the petroglyphs at Toro Muerto and other attractions, including the relatively easy climb up the El Misti volcano. The Colca Canyon offers superb landscapes, with agricultural terraces and snow-covered mountains, villages with narrow streets and ornate churches, and the dizzying Colca Canyon, deeper as the Grand Canyon and an excellent place to see the giant condors. For the adventurous, there are the spectacular but quite isolated Cotahuasi Canyon (deepest in the world) and the astonishing Volcano Valley.
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Detailed Itineraries

Arequipa City Tour (Half day, any day tour)
Colonial and Modern Arequipa (Approx. 3 hours).

We pick you up in the morning or afternoon for your half day city tour of Arequipa. You will visit the Main Square, the Cathedral, the districts of Yanahuara and San Lázaro, the superb Santa Catalina Monastery (a surprising large and interesting citadelle in the middle of Arequipa city), the San Francisco Church, Carmen Alto panoramic point and the residential zone of Selva Alegre.
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Arequipa museums

Museo Santuarios Andinos (Museum of Andean Sanctuaries)

The museum’s most famous attraction is the 600 year old frozen body of Juanita, the young Inca girl who was discovered in near perfect condition on top of the Ampato Volcano in 1995. She was killed as a sacrificial offering to the mountain gods and buried in a tomb with a number of funeral offerings that are also on display in the museum, along with other ice mummies found on the mountain. The body had been encased in ice and preserved by the freezing temperatures on the 20,000ft (6,000m) peak for hundreds of years, and was found after a volcanic eruption melted the ice and exposed the tomb. The Ice Maiden is displayed in a refrigerated glass case, and analysis of her DNA has afforded great insights into the Inca culture. An interesting video documents the discovery and is included as part of the compulsory tour.

Toro Muerto Petroglyphs (All day tour day, any day)

From and to Arequipa (Approx. 8 hours).

Morning departure to visit the Toro Muerto Petroglyphs, the most spectacular in Peru. It takes about 3 hours driving along the Panamericana highway to reach the site. Toro Muerto is an enormous boulder field in the desert overlooking the floodplain of the river Majes (Colca) to the east. It is located some 150km west of Arequipa. It is said that there are more than 5000 engraved boulders at this site.
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The Colca Canyon 2 or 3 days tour

The Colca Canyon runs for over 100km, and the average distance from the peaks of the mountains to the river below is 3,400m. Until recently, it was thought that it was the deepest canyon in the world, although it is now generally accepted that the Cotahuasi Canyon, also in the department of Arequipa, is deeper. The depth of the canyon from the Cruz del Condor to the river is approximately 1,500m, an excellent place to spot the flight of giant condors The deepest point of the canyon is beyond Cabanaconde, close to the Valley of the Volcanoes. The canyon valley is covered with thousands of pre-Inca terraces, and the scattered villages boast impressive colonial churches. There are several small hotels and lodges to meet almost all price and quality expectations.
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The Cotahuasi Canyon – Deepest in the world, off the beaten path expedition
Arequipa to Arequipa 4 days/ 3 nights tour

The Cotahuasi Canyon and the towns and villages in the area are best accessed via Arequipa, although they are really towns of the central highlands, with many of the customs and the music from the area originating from Ayacucho. The area is very beautiful, and is full of wonderful mountain scenery making for some superb hiking.
The Cotahuasi Canyon, considered to be the world’s deepest, is an incredible place, with sheet cliffs rising up from the riverbanks. Despite its attractions, the area receives very few visitors due to its difficult access.
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4X4 Off the beaten path expedition to Andagua, Valley of the volcanoes
Arequipa to Arequipa, 4 days/ 3 nights

Entering the – so called – “Valley of the Volcanoes” of Andagua means going back several geological eras to witness some outstanding phenomena that only happen in two places In the world: the Canary Islands and In this Arequipa valley. The Andagua river valley runs along the foothill of the great Coropuna volcano, the highest in Peru and the tenth highest in South America. Geothermal activity In this area has given birth to about 80 volcanoes, all of them extinct which give this area a moonlike aspect. Later, the Andagua river disappears in a 17 km (10.5 miles) stretch, running under the ground between the Chachas and the Mamacocho lagoons before flowing into the Colca. Andagua can be reached only by highway from the west There are 377 km from Arequipa. Andagua is at an altitude of 3,450 meters above sea level.
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