Andean Explorations – 6: Arequipa

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery


Arequipa is the capital of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. It is the second most populous city of the country and lies in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2,380 meters, overseen by the snow-capped volcano El Misti. The city has many colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock, from which it gets the nickname La Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”). The historic centre of Arequipa was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000, in recognition of its architecture and historic integrity. Arequipa is a city of Artists, and they say that everyone can not only play atleast one musical instrument but also sing well.

I dropped my bags at the Point Hostel and took a quick shower and a quick nap. All my dorm roommates were barely legal Australian girls who spoke with thick accents. Some of them had been to India so they were thrilled to see me, but I obviously wasn’t interested to explore the city with them.

The hostel is located about 15 minutes away from the city center and the walk is pleasurable. I guess Arequipa is an old city, judging by the narrowness of the street and the ancient look overall.

↑ Colonial Church. The Spanish built huge churches all over Peru (and South America). These are important landmarks of cities now.

The very noticeable thing is the number of policemen, they are so many. One or two posted on every little street corner. There were also a large number of civic cleaners who dusted the streets clean. I liked the way Arequipa looked. The central square, Plaza de Armas is stunning. There is a huge colonial cathedral on the north side and several colonial structures in the alleys surrounding the Plaza.

↑ Potato soup, a staple diet in Peru

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery