Arequipa is located at an altitude of 2,335 meters above sea level in a thousand kilometers from the capital of Peru - Lima. It is the second largest city in the country and a major economic center of the south. When you fly up to Arequipa, it seems that the mountains surrounding it consists of sand, that there is no water, plants, animals - nothing can stay on the barren soil.
According to one version, Arequipa received its second name - "white city" for the beautiful houses of white volcanic stone. According to the other, it received its name because of the settlement founded by the Spaniards. There were so many Europeans that Arequipa was called a "white city" because of this. Arequipa was founded in 1540. The city is filled with the spirit of the colonial era. The houses here are built of white stone with carved facades. The central square of the city called Armas is considered the most beautiful in Peru. During city tour Arequipa you will get to see one of the main attractions called the Santa Catalina convent, which was built in 1580. Perhaps the main attraction of Arequipa is the unique, world-famous Santa Catalina Convent. Saint Catalina (Catherine) has never been to Arequipa. Nevertheless, the monastery bears her name. It was founded almost simultaneously with the city. But it was opened to the public only 30 years ago, in 1970. The townspeople sent girls to it at the age of 12-14. To give a daughter to a monastery was considered prestigious. It was believed that if at least one of the girls in the family went to the monastery, it could save the souls of all her relatives. However, for girls, perhaps it was not the worst way out - they could avoid marriage with a man who could never see life. Now the interior of the monastery is decorated with paintings and furniture of colonial style. This place is so unique that it can be considered a whole separate city. Inside the walls of the monastery, there are a lot of flower gardens with beautiful fountains, there are even small streets connecting the buildings of the complex. Other interesting places of the city include the Cathedral, the Jesuit church of La Campania, the former mint of the Casa de la Moneda and the Casa Moral mansion.
Arequipa can be called one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish colonial architecture that you can see during South America tours. Most of the majestic patrician houses, built in the late XVIII century, still withstand tremors, constantly shaking the city. It is said that it was the population of this city who came up with a simple and effective way of placing so-called outdoor advertising. Since the city is in the valley, and the mountains rise above the valley, Arequipa decided that on the mountains they can write anything they want. So on the slopes of the mountains near Arequipa appeared a giant rock advertisement of the famous in Ukraine firm "Nestle" and Venezuelan coffee.
180 km from Arequipa there is Colca Canyon. It is the deepest canyon in the world, its depth from the bottom to the mountain peaks reaches 3400 m. From the observation deck of the Cruz del Condor canyon, you can see giant Andean condors floating in the air, which are considered a landmark in this region. It is also worth exploring the nearby canyon of Cotahuasi. From Arequipa, you can see the snow-capped summit of a volcano called El Misty. This active volcano has a height of 5822 m. It is a very popular activity to climb this volcano. Hikes here are organized in Arequipa in travel agencies. They usually last for two days. Before climbing the volcano, tourists are recommended to spend a day or two in mountainous areas, in the cities of Cusco or Puno, or come here after visiting the Colca Canyon. The city of Arequipa got incredibly lucky with the weather: more than 300 days a year the sun shines, there is not a cloud in the sky, humidity is low. The temperature practically does not change during the year, being equal to approximately +24 ° С in the daytime and, as a rule, not lower than +6 ° С at night. Therefore, you can travel here all year round, without fear of weather surprises.