Arequipa is set in a beautiful valley at the base of El Misti volcano. Arequipa is a stunning town regarded for both its colonial charm and rich cultural heritage and is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Due to its quantity of white buildings, the city is also known as the “White City”. These buildings are made of a volcanic stone called sillar.

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Beautiful churches, convents and colonial mansions, perfectly framed by majestic snow-capped mountains, distinguish Arequipa from its larger neighbor, Puno. The town and its surrounding mountains draw culture buffs and outdoorsy folk from around the globe.

The Plaza de Armas is dominated by the sprawling neoclassical La Catedral. From here you can walk to the 400 year old Monasterio de Santa Catalina , La Compañia, the church of San Francisco, Chapel of the Third Order, or Santo Domingo. Arequipa’s history provides ample activities for history fans, including many fascinating museums. These include the Museo Santuarios Andinos, home to the famous mummy of 13-year-old Juanita, Museo Histórico Municipal, and Museo de Arte Contemporá. Also, head to any of the colonial mansions. Some of these are located outside the city.

For active travelers looking for more than history and tours of colonial homes, take a trip to the volcanoes towering over the city. Chachani has a 6,000 meter summit, while El Misti and Ampato provide more exciting climbs. Beyond these, in the extraordinary Valley of the Volcanoes, are two of the world’s deepest canyons, the Cotahuasi and the Colca. If you’re lucky you might spot a condor. The villagers in this area practice ancient traditions. In comparison to other areas, this is also one of the best places for trekking, mountain biking, and rafting.

To find further information, i-Peru (Portal de la Municipalidad 110, tel 054-221-228) is a good starting point. Theiving can be an issue after dark, particularly in the market areas. You should also be careful when taking taxis at night too, as car-jacking has been reported as a problem. Arequipa has a wide array of hotels and restaurants, which cater to many.

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