Arequipa is a city in Peru which is also known in Spanish as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City). It is the location of Peru’s Constitutional court and is often referred to as the Legal capital of the country. In terms of population, it comes second to Lima with a population count of about 1,008, 290 residents. However, it has the biggest land area in Peru.
Founded on August 15, 1540 by Garcia Manuel de Carbajal, it is an important commercial and industrial location of the country. The city specializes in wool production as well as agricultural products as its major trade.
The city has a predominantly dry climate during the periods of winter, spring as well as autumn. This is caused by the reduced atmospheric moisture as well as a vibrant precipitation. It also enjoys an average of 300 days of bright and mild sunlight and is known for its attraction for tourists. After Lima and Cusco, Arequipa is the third most visited urban area in Peru with millions of tourists visiting yearly.
Colca canyon is located in the southern part of Peru and it is about 99 miles away from Arequipa, however expect a good 5 hour drive to get there. The canyon which gets about 120,000 annual visitors from all around the world is about 3,270 metres deep and is regarded as the second world’s deepest canyon and is predominantly populated by inhabitants from the CCaccatapay, Kollawas and Cabanas ethic groups. The canyon is also home the Condor birds known as the Andean Condor. The birds which are part of an endangered species is been conserved worldwide. As a popular attraction, they roughly live for about 60 to70 years and their wings span is approximately 3 metres. Due to its long life span, it is popularly called the eternity Bird and regarded as a symbol for long life and eternity.
City Tour of Arequipa
Colca Canyon and the city tour are what most tourists seem to do in Arequipa. The city is bounded by beautiful mountains, which includes the mountain formed by the now inactive Volcano known as El Misti. One interesting feature of the city is that the infamous El Misti volcano, which devastated the City in 2001, has been a bit of a blessing due to the volcanic rock known as Sillar, which is a light-coloured rock and comes from El Misti, it is used widely in the construction of many aesthetically-pleasing buildings around the city, which gave the city its nickname – “the white city” or “la ciudad Blanca”
Engaging in a city tour is one of the most enlightening ways of appreciating the sheer wonders of the city. Typically, a tour of the city comes with locations like the Arequipa Cathedral, the Santa Catalina Convent, which is known for its small streets and various building styles. Most of the viewing platforms you visit have stunning views of Misti itself. So, a good camera and a bit of posing is a must as the shots can be spectacular.
The Misti Volcano – A natural disaster turned into a blessing.
The Misti volcano is also known as Guagua Putina or just Putina. It is about 5,822m above sea level and is located between the Pichu Pichu volcano and mount Chachani. Its last eruption happened in 1985, this was roughly about 198 years after its previous recorded eruption. Due to long periods of volcanic eruptions in addition to other proximate volcanoes, the local soil around the area is extremely fertile which has led to the adjacent regions being the most agricultural region in Peru.
La Mansion Del Fundador – the Mansion of Garcia Manuel de Carbajal.
Known in Spanish as La Mansion del Fundador, the historic building was built in the 17th century and as previously owned by the Spanish founder of Arequipa, Garcia Manuel de Carbajal. Currently the Mansion has seen massive restoration and refurbishment transform it to a tourist site. It currently boasts of its initial paintings as well as furnishings. It also comes with its own dedicated Chapel. Located in the Huasacache, which is roughly 9 kilometers from the city centre of Arequipa. Tourists who visit Arequipa are largely drawn to the beautiful features of the Mansion. From what I remember you have to pay $4 or 12 soles to go in. A family currently occupies the mansion and live in another part of it. I took a photo at sunset for you to see, it does not look too big, however, I do recommend visiting in the afternoon as there are two tours 09.00 to 13.00 or 14.00 to 17.30.
Yanahuara is a collection of attractive arches made up of ashlar, which was built around the nineteenth century by natives who resided in the area. The collections of arches are a must for any visitor to Arequipa and a major attraction to visitors to the City. From here you can take stunning photos of Misti in the background. The village below resembles “Andalucia” in southern Spain, very narrow and white streets to reflect the sun. Here you can also try “Cheese ice-cream” or helado de queso as it is called in Spanish. There is no cheese in it of course, but it is really delicious. Try it, cheap and great as it can be very hot and sunny.
Carmen Alto is a vantage point that offers visitors the panoramic views of the three famous volcanoes of Arequipa which are Misti, Pichu Pichu and Chachani. Here you have to pay just over $1 to get in. They sell souvenirs and typical Peruvian pisco (liquor) mixed with fruits. I am not really into drinking shots, but each person to themselves. The views of the volcano’s are a must see and the photos are usually amazing too.