Arequipa

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Arequipa, Peru


Arequipa is located in the Southern Coastal region of Peru at 2380 meters above sea level.

By far the easiest way to get to Arequipa is by plane, landing in Rodríguez Ballón airport, 8km from the city.

There are two bus terminals serving the city, Terminal Terrestre and Terminal Terrapuerto. They're next to each other, about 3km from the center.

Some of the more reputable bus companies are Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Excluciva, Oltursa and Flores.

The city is part of the so called "Southern Peru Tourist Corridor", together with Nazca, Puno and Cusco. Unlike the other cities, there are no Inca artifacts or ruins in the city. Rather, Arequipa is an example of the Spanish and mestizo culture developed in Peru.

The historical center is a 5 block area around The Plaza de Armas, the main square of Arequipa. The historical districts of Yanahuara and Cayma are also close by. 

Arequipa embodies a rich mix of the indigenous and Spanish colonial cultures. UNESCO has declared it a Human Heritage site. Some ancient houses, such as the  "Tambos" located at Puente Bolognesi street, have been refurbished and are now museums.

Churches are among the most beautiful buildings preserved. La Compania, San Francisco, La Merced and the Cathedral are some of the most famous.

Convento de Santa Catalina is the most visited building from the Spanish era of the city.A beautiful place with its colors, flowers and little streets. Near Plaza de Armas.

Arequipa has beautiful bridges including Puente Bolognesi , and Puente Fierro, an iron bridge designed by Eiffel and still in service. From this bridge you can get some great photos of the volcanoes and the city.

Take a bus tour and explore the countryside, where you will find ancient mills and mansions such as:

Molino de Sabandía (Sabandía Mill), a three centuries old water mill, set in the old Arequipa countryside.

Mansión del Fundador, a renovated centuries old Spanish Colonial mansion. 

For the adventurous traveler:


Downhill volcano biking, Half day adventure managed by professional guides.

Volcano climbing: Excursions to Misti or the  more challenging Chachani.

Whitewater rafting on some of the world's best rivers. Usually a half-day tour with some 90 min actual rafting.


Shopping:

San Camilo Market, the oldest one located in the centre of the city. It's three blocks away from the main square.

Many boutiques sell beautiful Alpaca wool items, just beware, if the price seems unusually low, it could be fake.

The old Jesuit convent, half a block from the Plaza de Armas, is free to enter and has very good shops for fine Alpaca garments and local products.
 
There is also a square near La Compañía having a lot of the more expensive handicrafts shops.

Eat:

As with all Peruvian food: local delicacies are heavy and sometimes very hot. Try them with care, especially since the height of the city (around 2,300 meters) makes digestion slow. Take a mate de coca, coca-leaf tea, after meals: it helps indigestion and makes the altitude more bearable.

Nightlife:

Most bars and clubs for tourists are on Calle San Fransisco, uphill from the main square. Many have happy hour specials until 10.00PM.

There is an area of the city called Calle Dolores, with discotheques, karaoke bars, and salsa ball rooms usually attended by locals but safe enough for travellers.

All the usual advice given for Peru applies here as well. Arequipa feels relatively safe, and there is always a visible police presence. That said, keep a low profile and leave the expensive jewelry at home. And it is ill advised to walk alone after 11.00PM in the downtown area.

If you need a taxi:

Do not get in to any random cab on the street!

The safest way to call a taxi is to ask your hotel or hostel to do it for you. Almost all hostels and hotels have a relationship with a taxi company whose drivers are known and trusted. This is true for the rest of Peru as well.

The cost of living in Arequipa is 64% cheaper than in New York City. To keep the same standard of living that would require $36,000 in New York City, you would only need to make about $12,815 in Arequipa.
 


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Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa, Peru
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