“The day started for me with a hotel pickup as 0245. Fair enough given the length of the day but then there were more than another hour of pickups with more than a hint that the driver and guide did not know for sure where they were to be.
The road to the breakfast point took about 3 more hours. I already had more than adequate food for the day from the tour company and the hotel so I would have preferred a shorter stop with just a drink. The mango juice was good, though I have never had it warm before. But that needed only 5 minutes.
The tour was said to be in English but there were only four English speakers aboard and I was the only native speaker.
We had a pleasant enough stop at a colourful local village (can't remember if that was before or after the canyon). Then the canyon for only half an hour. Given longer stops at less interesting places this seemed farcical.
We had a lunch stop of forty minutes at which I ate a little more of my food and had a pineapple juice. Again five minutes would have been ample for me.
Then a visit to some hot springs for an hour which didn't interest me at all. We did see some 'wild' llamas, guanacos (I think) and alpaccas That bit was pleasing. Then we went to 4800 metres to see the inside of a cloud. (We were supposed to see views of volcanoes).
Finally we took the long run back to Arequipa and I reached my hotel at 1738, almost 15 hours after leaving.
Although the day was still worthwhile, it would have been much better to travel in a small group with an actual guide. I thought the value for money aspect quite good but I would have liked to spend more money for a better experience.”
Competing with its famous neighbor Cusco, Arequipa is the second largest tourist hub in Peru. And while there are no Inca artefacts to be discovered in Peru’s second largest city, a trip to Arequipa is not lacking in charm or character. In a majestic setting that includes three protective volcanoes of Peru, Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu (though they also do have a tendency to wreak havoc), Arequipa is a stunning city of white stone and Spanish architecture. Check out our guide on the top 10 mountains in Peru that are great for climbing!
La Catedral is hard to miss even if you want to, spanning the length of Plaza de Armas and built from the typically dazzling white sillar stone, this landmark is literally unmissable.
The Monasterio de la Recoleta is more known for its vast library, which holds as many as 20,000 books.
You won’t find anything Inca inspired in Arequipa, but the Museo Arqueológico Chiribaya details the pre-Incan Chiribaya civilization.
The Fundador mansion once belonged to Arequipa’s founder and is a perfectly restored example a colonial mansion.
The Plaza de Armas has remained virtually unchanged in hundreds of years.
Take a visit to Arequipa’s Mercado San Camillo which sells just about anything you might need from a quick snack to novelty clothing.
Explore the neighbourhood of Yanahuara and look down over Arequipa while enjoying a light lunch.
The wet season lasts from January to March though Arequipa enjoys a temperate climate year-around.
Combis are the cheapest way to get around the city, though taxis are also available.
Arequipa is part of the Southern Peru Tourist Corridor and it’s very easy to combine a trip to Arequipa with a trip to Cusco. A flight between the two is only one hour.
It’s necessary to take a taxi from the airport to the center but a flat, affordable rate is charged.