In the highlands of Peru, near the southern Pacific coast, lies a city of just under 1 million people. Surrounded by mountains, including El Misti Volcano, the city offers spectacular scenery. Many of the colonial buildings glisten in the sun, thanks to the light colored volcanic rock from which they were constructed. The city offers diversions of its own as well as access to the rugged landscape which surrounds it.
Santa Catalina Monastery
This colonial citadel, housed behind high walls within the city of Arequipa, is actually a convent. Constructed in the late- 1500's, only wealthy girls were allowed to join. In spite of the vows of poverty taken by the nuns, they lived with servants and slaves in much the same style they were accustomed to. Eventually, the Church put a stop to this with the help of a strict Mother Superior. Today, some nuns make a small part of the compound their home, but the rest is open to the public to peruse this city in a city.
Some claim this is the deepest canyon in the world. Whether it is truly number one is debatable, but no one would argue that it isn't impressively cavernous. Whether you choose to hike into the canyon to witness the indigenous people who still live within its walls, or simply enjoy the view from above, you'll gain a new respect for what some persistent rivers can accomplish over a few million years!
Half-Day City Tour
Take an exciting tour of Arequipa, known as "the White City" because of the white volcanic rock used in construction. The tour begins with a step back in time at the Santa Catalina convent, built in 1580. After exploring the "city" housed in its walls, enjoy the beauty of the Jesuit Church. You'll continue to some of Arequipa's residential districts to appreciate the nearby countryside and view the Misti volcano. Finally, gaze upon an Inca girl, sacrificed to the gods, whose mummified body was found on Ampato Mountain.
Half-Day Arequipa Countryside
The remarkable countryside of Arequipa is explored on this adventure, beginning in the town of Sabandia. A nearby waterfall powers a 17th century flourmill and is fascinating to see. The Mansion del Fundador is the next stop. This ancient hacienda belonged to the city's founder. Until the 17th century when it was sold to the Jesuits as a retreat center.
Full Day Monastery and Juanita's Mummy
The countryside of Arequipa offers visual treasures, both natural and man-made. The Santa Teresa Monastery, your first stop, was built in 1700. In spite of frequent renovations, it retains its original design. After enjoying the stunning chapel, you'll move on to meet Juanita's Mummy. This mummified female is believed to be the remains of a sacrificed Inca, and is housed in the Museo de Catolica de Santa Maria University.
Lagunas De Mejia
The National Sanctuary Lagoons of Mejia are on the southern pacific coast. This tour offers a chance to witness the variety of flora and fauna that reside in this park. Bird watchers will cherish the chance to see a vast array of colorful birds overhead, while other nature-lovers will appreciate the diversity of habitats, including sandy beaches, marshes and mountainous terrain.
2 Day /1 Night Tour of Colca Canyon
An early departure starts your adventure to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons on the planet. You'll drive in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve and spot Vicunas, a rare member of the camel family that looks like a small Llama. As you drive, you'll dramatically descend into Chivay, where you'll check into your comfortable lodge.
Lunch and dinner are included.
The first stop today is a visit to an 18th century church in the town of Yanque. From there, you'll go to the "Condor's Cross" with the hope of spotting this bird of prey. No matter how the birds cooperate, you'll be breathless at the incredible panorama of the over 9000' deep canyon. You'll return to Arequipa in the late afternoon, with stories to tell and pictures to share.
Lunch is included.
Featured Lodgings in Arequipa:
El Cabildo Hotel:
The Cabildo Hotel offers magnificent views and is one of the city's finest hotels. In the rooftop garden, the gourmet restaurant promises to keep guests satiated and the lively bar is a lovely place for a nightcap with a view of the surrounding mountains.
Further El Cabildo Hotel Information
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