Arequipa, the White city
Arequipa is one of the most important cities in Perú, being the cradle of many judges and jurists, known also as the juridical town. The nickname white city comes because the material employed on the constructions of the houses is with a material brought from thee Misti volcano, which ashes have the white color so characteristic of the town, besides for being one of the cleanest cities of all Perú.
The name Arequipa comes from the words Arí, which means yes, and Qhipay, which means stay, that’s because when the Inca Mayta Capac arrive to the shore of the Chili River, their subjects beg him to stay here, and Mayta capac said to them, Yes, Stay here.
Another theory is that the name comes from an Aymara word Ari qquepan, since the local natives had a snail shell that they used as a trumpet, and the last theory is that Arequipa comes from the voice Ariq Qipa, Ari, which means sharp, and Qhipaya, which means behind, resulting behind the peak or the sharp thing, making reference to the Misti Volcano that is behind the city and is the silent guardian for centuries.
The occupation of Arequipa is old, groups of nomads settle down on what the actual capital is, dedicating to the fishing, hunting and recollection of fruits, developing the domestication of auquénidos, and starting early sides of agriculture, in an incipient way.
The tribes that lived at that time were the Yarabayas and the Chimbes, who established near the Chili River, allowing them grow the platforms, reaching an excellent production of vegetables and tubercles.
When the Incas and his desire to expand his territory, came to this region and put his war prisoners to spy and tell everything about their movements to Huayna Capac Inca, who never wants to found a city, just want to expand his territory to gather the major quantity of land under his reign.
The vice royal period is when Arequipa is found as a city, on August 15th of 1540, by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, giving the name of Valley of Asuncion of our lady from the beautiful valley of Arequipa.
By the time of his foundation, Arequipa had a town hall, which named all of the judges and persons who were in charge of the juridical aspects, since that entity was omne of the principal and important authority in the Colonial times.
The Republican period is one of the most prolific periods of all, because in this period many representative people were from Arequipa, and not only that, They were the most faithful to the Spanish crown until their last days.
On the coast is mild and the high parts the weather is dry, warm during the day, a little chill on the night, with a temperature that vary between the 24 and 10 degrees. From January to March there’s moderate rain, but the sun is shining almost the entire year.
How to get to Arequipa
Arequipa is connected with every part of the country, but the main highway is the south Pan-American and the trip from Lima to Arequipa last 12-14 hours approximately.
There’s a train service that join Arequipa with the cities of Mollendo, Juliaca, Puno and Cusco.
The airport is located at 20 minutes from the city; it offers daily flights to Lima and Cusco.
Main touristic attractions
Saint Catalina Monastery
This is one of the most representative structures in Arequipa, with over 400 years, it was closed due to his precocity, but now you can visit because is better and improve. This little city brings together 3 retirement houses, and almost 6 avenues and over a hundred of cells for the nuns and novices.
The most known of all the places that you can visit, this is one of the cleanest and beautiful churches in all the country, with his two towers rise stunning and timeless, located at the main Square, the marble used is from Italy, and the interior is made of the finest wood from France, and finally the Organ that is played on Masses is from Belgium.
Saint Francis Complex
This church is a mixed between the native and moor art, built in the XVI century, has one of the biggest libraries in the entire region, with over 20 thousands book and volumes.
The founder’s Mansion
Was the propriety of the founder of Arequipa, Garcí de Carbajal, but later the order of the Jesuits built a church inside of the Mansion.
The Colca Valley
This on colonial times was known as Collahua, where 14 towns are settle down, well designed and with wonderful work of architecture, with his churches made of volcanic stones. This is also the place of the Colca Canyon, with 3207 meters of depth, considered as one of the most profound Canyons in the world; in this place you can see Condors, thermal waters and platforms among other picturesque sights.
The Yanahuara viewpoint place
Located at 2km from the city of Arequipa, is one of the main attractions in the city, with his portals made of stone, was built in the XX century, and on his portals has written some of the most important characters from Arequipa.
The Petro glyphs of Toro Muerto
Located at 3 hours from the city of Arequipa, they are a group of 6000 stones blocks with paintings from animals to human shapes, is probably one of the biggest places of cave paintings, distributed over a 5km area, the stones comes from the volcanoes Misti and Chachani.
Sport adventures in Arequipa
It can be practice on many places such as the Chili River, the Colca Canyon or the Cotahuasi Canyon. This sport came with the polish adventurer Yurek Majcherzyck and some of his friends, who after a long battle with the Colca River, getting to cross most of their 300 rapids.
From December to March the River offers to the most intrepid and braves a road with so much adrenaline, with rapids of extreme ferocity, but is all secure, depending on your skills. From April to November is also a great time to do this sport.
This sport is new in this part, and offers several options for your enjoyment, like the Chocho loco road, with a wall of 25mt, Faisán with a wall of 11mt, La Gerva with 25mt, and Monito with a 8tm of wall.
If you want to be part of it, you got be in great shape and healthy, and make sure that the tools used by you are in great conditions, otherwise you can result injure.
The province of Islay contains a small coast town called Mejia, where you can be part of this great experience, known as the pearl of the Pacific because of the beauty of his beaches and landscapes. The beach have one of the best waves in the region, and also have a private club for the people who like the quiet and peaceful tranquility of a great view.
Gastronomy in Arequipa
The food in Arequipa combines the best of the Spanish techniques and the best of the local products, all with a flavor so Peruvian like his dishes. These dishes have a strong and marked flavor, since the herbs used on some of the best dishes, using the shrimp and the rocoto, a variation of the chili, but with a spicy hotter that any kind of chili.
One of the most known dishes in Arequipa is the called Chupes, which includes several thick soups, made with long noodles, milk and always have shrimp and prawns, reaching the quantity of different soups for every day of the week.
Other typical dishes are the Ocopa, made with peanuts, huacatay, an aromatic herb, served with potatoes and boiled egg.
One of the most famous dishes is the called Rocoto relleno, is a chili which is stuffed with chopped meat, grill cheese and other products.
The desert that is so famous is the cheese ice cream, made with curd milk, cinnamon, coconut and other species.
Nightlife in Arequipa
Going out for a walk at nigh in Arequipa is a whole other story, not only for the excitement that brings the city, but also for the beauty of some of the constructions that under the night light it comes another kind of city, a city who offers adventure and a great time.
The center of Arequipa brings you places on the streets of Mercaderes and Santo Domingo, where you can find many cafes, restaurants, videogames stores and many others.
However, if you want some peaceful and less louder, there’s the Dolores Avenue, with his discotheques and pubs, with great food and drinks, so you can have a good time and a once in a lifetime experience.