Watched Over by Massive Volcanoes and Snow-capped Peaks
Arequipa is most commonly known as "The White City” for its beautiful White Sillar baroque architecture. It’s historic city centre spans 332 hectares which includes one of Peru's most picturesque plazas and the 400 year old Santa Catalina Monastery. The city’s history, architecture, museums and natural scenery make Arequipa a national and international tourist destination. It is the third most visited city in Peru, after Lima and Cuzco and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2000.
What to do in the surrounding area, Colca and Cotahuasi
An Impressive Landscape of Smouldering Volcanoes, Deep Canyons & Vast Salt Flats
There are plenty of exciting outdoor activities available in and around Arequipa, making it an ideal starting point for adventure travellers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. In addition to hiking and trekking Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons, there are accessible options for mountaineering, white water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing and Indoor climbing. There are also several near by parks and protected areas, including the Cotahuasi reserve, Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, Lagoons de Mejía National Sanctuary and Sumbay Cave paintings.
The main attraction is the picturesque Colca Canyon, one of the worlds deepest canyons Colca was formed by an enormous geological fault between two massive volcanoes, Coropuna at 6,425 metres and Ampato at 6,288 metres. Colca is an incredibly beautiful and rugged canyon land, best known for days of dry land trekking and Cruz del Condor, one of the best places in the Andes to see the majestic Andean condor.
If you’re looking for a bit more adventure or an incredible view of southern Peru, there are several high altitude climbs near Arequipa. Some remote and seldom climbed, others easily accessible. Two of the easiest and most accessible are El Misti at 5,830 metres and Chachani at 6,057 metres. Neither are technical climbs and can be accomplished by well-acclimated, non climbers in one to three days.
Arequipa also has great day trips. Try white water rafting the Chili River, downhill volcano biking on Chachani or an afternoon of indoor climbing. If you’re looking for something more serene and picturesque, try one of the nearby reserves or protected areas. Salinas and Aguada Blanca or Lagoons de Mejía National Sanctuary or the Sumbay cave paintings.