Travel & tourism in Arequipa
The department of Arequipa is one of various terrains. It begins in the coastal desert and then climbs the Andes, reaching great altitude at the snow covered peaks and at its volcanoes.
Arequipa, known as the White City for its beautiful white walls of sillar, a volcanic stone, lies at the feet of the mighty volcanos of Mount Chachani, Mount Misti, and the snow covered peak of Mount Pichu Pichu. The downtown of the city, placed on the World Cultural Heritage list by UNESCO, features Mixed Baroque churches and mansions from the Colonial Period like the Monastery of Santa Catalina, a Spanish city in miniature with stone streets, beautiful patios, and plazas. Sabandía, Tiabaya, and Tingo, located among the large fields, are must see places, and the irresistible Arequipa cuisine is the perfect complement to the visit.
Just 3 hours and 45 minutes from the capital is the Colca River valley and canyon, one of the most extraordinary destinations in the country. Throughout the region, you can see colorful pre-Incan agricultural terraces still used today for growing quinoa, corn, barley, and wheat. During the pre-Hispanic era, the department was inhabited by the Collaguas and the Cabanas; today, the inhabitants have learned to conserve their Colonial churches in Yanque, Lari, and Madrigal, and they continue to wear their traditional clothing.
You can also do many types of adventure sports in the valley such as mountain biking, trekking, and white water rafting. And, at the Cross of the Condor, you can view the majestic flight of the condors. Other places of interest in the department are the Toro Muerto petroglyphs, the Andagua Valley of the Volcanoes, and the Cotahuasi Canyon.
Getting There & Away to Arequipa
By land: Lima – Arequipa: 1003 km / 623 miles on the Pan-American Highway South (14 hours by car)
By air: Daily flights to Arequipa from: Lima (1 hour), Cusco
(30 minutes), Juliaca (30 minutes) and Tacna (30 minutes)
151 km / 94 miles north of Arequipa (3 hours by car)
The extreme northeastern section of the department of Arequipa is located here. The highest point is the inactive volcano MountAmpato (6288 masl), and the lowest at the confluence of the rivers Colca and Andamayo (970 masl). The Colca valley is 100 km in length and occupies only part of the Colca river basin, comprising the districts of Callalli and Huambo.
There are sixteen villages in this zone made up of descendents of the Collaguas and Cabanas tribes, inheritors of rich cultural traditions. The towns of Chivay and Cabanaconde are the most visited by tourists.
In the latter, you can watch condors soar from the Cruz de Condor (Condor Crossing) Lookout. The Colca valley forms part of the South American tectonic plate and contains the active volcano Sabancaya, located on the volcanic mountain Hualca Hualca. This valley possesses a great diversity of flora and fauna. Among the most representative species are the condor, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon, and the Andean tinamou.
42 km / 26 miles west of the town of Chivay (1 hour by car)
This is one of the deepest places on the planet, reaching a depth of 3400 meters / 11.155 feet at the lowest point in the location of Canco. On the right side, it is flanked by the Chila Cordillera (Bomboya, Serpregrina, Mismi, Queshihua) and on the other by Mount Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya, and Ampato. You can see Mount Ubinas and beautiful Mount Coropuna in the distance.
Imata Stone Forest
150 km / 93 miles northeast of Arequipa on the Puno highway (2 hours by car)
It is a complex of stone structures that have the appearance of a mysterious petrified forest. Erosion has shaped the stones, giving them a peculiar aspect. The place is easily accessible since it is located near the Arequipa – Juliaca highway.
Toro Muerto Petroglyphs
164 km / 102 miles northwest of Arequipa (2 hours and 30 minutes)
Leaving the Colca valley and passing through the Sihuas pampas is one way to get there. To arrive there directly from Arequipa, take the road to Lima and turn off at Corire (District of Uraca) and drive for 6 km / 4 miles.
The site consists of a group of carvings spread out over 5 km2 / 2 miles2.The majority of them are representations of human beings, animals, and plants, as well as geometric designs that seem to have been carved with sharpened stones.
The techniques used varied from striking, scratching, chipping, to hammering, and their age could begin around 1100 A.D.
Andagua, Valley of the Volcanoes
323 km / 201 miles northeast from Arequipa (9 hours by car)
The Valley of the Volcanoes was the center of strenuous convulsions in the volcanic mountain chain 200.000 years ago. We can still see today an extensive layer of lava over which around eighty-six smaller inactive volcanoes have emerged. It reaches an altitude of 3546 masl / 11.634 fasl.
Visit Arequipa, and then tourism in the Colca Canyon, interesting places to visit southern Peru