El Misti volcano, Arequipa
Arequipa is a city in the Southern Coastal region of Peru just below the edge of the Altiplano, at 2380 meters above sea level and surrounded by three impressive volcanoes. It's Peru's second most important city (after Lima), and the second most popular among tourists (after Cuzco).
The city is part of the so called "Southern Peru Tourist Corridor", together with Nazca, Puno and Cusco. In contrast to these other cities, Arequipa is an example of the Spanish and mestizo culture developed in Peru. There are no Inca artifacts or ruins in the city.
In the winter it is warmer than in the summer. It is nicknamed the 'white city' (la ciudad blanca, in Spanish), because many of the buildings in the area are built of sillar, a white stone. This rock was quarried from the many volcanoes that surround the city, including the towering El Misti. Ask for local help to identify Misti, Chachani and PichuPichu, the three volcanoes surrounding the city.
Arequipa embodies a rich mix of the indigenous and Spanish colonial cultures. With 468 years of history since its founding, examples of Spanish colonial architecture can be found throughout the center of the city and several surrounding districts. UNESCO has declared it Human Heritage site. Catholic churches are scattered throughout the center of the city. Some ancient houses have been refurbished by the local authorities and serve as living museums. An example of this are the so-called "Tambos" located at Puente Bolognesi street.
By far the easiest way to get to Arequipa is by plane, landing in Rodríguez Ballón airport (IATA: AQP), 8km from the city. LanPerú , Peruvian Airlines, Taca and Star Perú fly from Lima, Juliaca and Cuzco. A taxi from the airport to the Plaza de Armas costs a flat-rate of S/25. No public transportation available to/from the airport. Signs are posted with this rate, but depending on the size of the car, the size of your bags and your bartering skills you could pay less.
There are two terminals serving the city, Terminal Terrestre and Terminal Terrapuerto. They're next to each other, about 3km from the center.... a taxi should cost around 8 soles.
Try to avoid cheap buses — the more you pay the higher the quality, service, and safety. Some of the more reputable companies are Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Excluciva (full 180º beds with meals served, 130 Soles), Oltursa and Flores (a good budget option. Their station is located across the street from Terminal Terrestre.) If you take the night bus make sure the bus is climated. There are cheap companies like Julsa which don´t use heating in the bus and the temperature can sink close to zero - don´t use them. Compare prices between booking online, in the office or via an agency since it can vary up to 100% for exactly the same seat and service.
From Lima (30-130 soles, 16-18 hours) it's advisable to take non-stop express buses — though more expensive, they tend to be safer. Oltursa and Excluciva buses depart from dedicated VIP terminals in the San Isidrio area of Lima.
There are several buses per day from Cuzco (9 hours, 50-120 soles), Puno (5-6 hours, 25-50 soles), Pisco (12-14 hours, 50-150 soles), Nazca (9 hours, 50-150 soles) and Tacna (near the border with Chile, 6-8 hours).
La Paz Ormeños has direct buses leaving at 1AM every day, passing through Puno at 6AM (40 Soles) and arriving in La Paz at 12 midday (60$).
Charter trains to Juliaca and Puno are only available for groups of 40 or more.
The city has a central urban area that can be visited by foot. The historical center is a 5 block area around the main square and is relatively easy to navigate with one the many maps available at hotels or any information office. Some ancient districts like Yanahuara and Cayma are also within walking distance.
The rural area is a whole attraction itself. With gorgeous terraces, spaniard mills, palaces and the permanent view of the volcanoes from wherever you are.
One option for visiting most of the main tourist sights from the rural and urban area is to take a bus tour. Tour buses are available at the main square and you can book the tour at your hotel or directly with the bus driver. In two or four hours, according to the tour you book, you will visit most of the famous viewpoints of the city. A great experience (from 6 to 10 dollars).
If you want to take a taxi, you should take a "safe one". Rules to recognize them: they have signs on the roof. The more common the sign, the bigger the company and the safer the taxi. Another tip is to take one that has just left a passenger. Avoid taking taxis that are stopped waiting passengers.
Prices are per ride. A ride from the main square to any place in the central district will be 4 - 7 soles. A taxi from the bus station to any hotel, 8 soles. From the airport, the price varies between 20-30 soles. Some cab drivers try to rip you off by saying prices are per head but price is always per ride for all passengers. Allow for a minor extra charge for luggage (usually half a sol per major piece).
You can rent a car with a driver included and go all around Arequipa just $6 an hour. There are many trustable taxi companies like Panataxi, Taxitel, Turismo Arequipa and Megataxi.
For your safety, if you leave a restaurant or disco late night and want to come back to your hotel in a taxi, ask the restaurant to call a safe taxi.
- You can rent a truck at a very low rate including a driver (just $55 per 8 hours plus diesel expenses), call +5154 9350539 or email: [email protected], and go ahead and visit Arequipa's outskirts and places such Colca River, Majes, Camana and Mollendo beaches.
- The Plaza de Armas, the main square of Arequipa, surrounded by buildings made of sillar, a white volcanic stone.
- Visit San Camilo Market, the oldest one located in the centre of the city. It's three blocks away from the main square.
- See the Juanita Mummy in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. From May to November the main exhibit is the Dama de Ampato, also known as Juanita. It is close to the main square.
Convento de Santa Catalina, Arequipa
- Convento de Santa Catalina is the most visited building from the Spanish era of the city. Described as a city within a city, this beautiful place with its colors, flowers and little streets will make you feel like you are back in time. Quite close to the Plaza de Armas.
- One of the newest attractions is the Convento de Santa Teresa, a little off the usual tourist areas in downtown Arequipa. Not as interesting architecturally as the Convento de Santa Catalina, some of the paintings and artifacts are stunning.
- Many of the almost 250 colonial buildings entitled as Human Heritage by UNESCO, are close to the main square. Some are turned to banks, stores, restaurants and departments. This practical way of preserving the city by finding a practical use to the historical buildings, provides a great experience to the visitor who feels like visiting a living museum.
- Churches are among the most beautiful buildings preserved. They are all Catholic and you can visit them but be aware to have some respect because most of the population still practices the Catholic religion. La Compania, San Francisco, La Merced and the Cathedral are some of the most famous.
Molino de Sabandiá, Arequipa
- Arequipa has beautiful bridges. Puente Bolognesi is the closest to the main square. Get there and visit the Tambos (ancient houses rebuilt by the city government and used as apartments). Great experience.
- Puente Fierro is an iron bridge designed by Eiffel and still in service. A technological jewel located in Vallecito (10 blocks from main square) and a must for people who love trains and bridges. From the bridge, at golden time (4.00-5.00PM), you can get some of the best pictures from the volcanoes and the city.
- Nearby, in the old countryside, is the Molino de Sabandía (Sabandía Mill), a three centuries old water mill, set in the old Arequipa countryside.
- Also to be found in the old countryside is the Mansión del Fundador, a renovated centuries old Spanish Colonial mansion. Admission 10 S/, 5 S/ for students.
- Spanish language Because of its weather, friendly people and budget prices when compared to Lima or Cusco makes Arequipa a great place to learn Spanish. Several schools are available. Most of them with excellent programs. Classes are usually offered in a per week basis, and with accommodation packages included.
- Spanish School Arequipa, ☎ +51 54 213177, .
- EDEAQ - Legally established and recognised by the Peruvian Ministry of Education. City Centre Location. Swiss Management. Bildungsurlaub (Germany). – 
- Cooking lessons This is an excellent opportunity to share with local cooks and work with them to prepare a delicious foods. The experience starts with selecting the products, then preparing and cooking them. After that, you are can serve and enjoy the outcome in the form of a good traditional meal.
- Peruvian Cooking Experience, (4 blocks from Main Square sharing Casa de Avila Hotel facilities), ☎ +51 54 213177, . Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The cooks are local people who learn cooking from their ancestors and include Felipe a 70 year old Inca cook who shares his own exclusive recipes. Classes are held in a kitchen and outdoor barbeque area. 6 persons per group. The cooking area is surrounded by a garden. 3 hour on hands activity suited for travellers of any ability level, requires reservation. Wine and cocktails can be ordered but are not included.
- Downhill volcano biking Offered in several levels of difficulty. Half day adventure managed by professional guides. S/70 to 80. They provide all the required equipment. Very safe. Great countryside views.
- Volcano climbing Two options, an excursion to Misti or a real climbing to Chachani. Two day tour. The first one with low difficulty level the second one with medium difficulty. Altitude is usually the worst enemy for visitors. Chachani is over 6,000 meter altitude. Book with professional operators. Price among 90 dollars/person.
- Whitewater rafting Arequipa has some of the best rivers of the world. A typical half-day tour with some 90 min actual rafting will cost you about 70 S/.
- Arequipa is called the World´s capital of the Alpaca, a wool that comes from this Andean camels and considered very fine and valuable. Big factories and several boutiques offer fine products at great prices. A good quality alpaca sweater will be between 70 to 180 soles according to colors and designs. Be aware some handicraft stores offer very cheap alpaca, unfortunately fake ones.
- Most typical handicrafts come from the Chivay area. Colorful embroidery called Maquinaza style, representing daily activities or nature scenes.
- There are some interesting shops geared towards tourists, including Patio del Ekeko, free WiFi included. The old Jesuit convent, half a block from the Plaza de Armas, is free to enter and has very good shops for fine Alpaca garments and local products. The place itself is very nice.
- There is also a square near La Compañía having a lot of the more expensive handicrafts shops.
Around Plaza de Armas you will find a lot of people approaching you with menu cards and offer you a free drink, etc. Local authority has prohibited this practice, to enforce authority avoid places using this practice. Check prices and haggle a bit for an extra free drink. Food in Plaza de Armas in general is good but not outstanding.
Arequipa keeps one of the most varied and flavored cuisine cultures in the country. Robust, with long term cooking products and with soups as their main dish. Local food is usually served at lunch time but you can also find it in locals for tourists during dinner time.
Hot food is very popular. Locals use rocoto (Capsicum pubescens) to provide the hot taste to their foods. This flavour is different than the hot flavour you find in Indian or Mexican food.
Try Rocoto relleno con pastel de papa, a stuffed, quite large pepper with potato pie. Ask beforehand if it has been made for "tourists" or if it is the original, quite hot, style; if the last one, be careful, it can be extremely hot!
Try Alpaca steaks. This meat very low in fat is juicy and very soft. Presented in all the variations that beef is presented regularly.
This city is the best place in Peru to eat river shrimps. They are presented in several ways, being the most popular Chupe de Camarones, a thick soup very flavored and presented with many shrimps in it. Beware, plates here are big.
Arequipa is only three hours away from the sea, so many fish restaurants are available. If you have not tried Ceviche in Peru yet, this is a great opportunity. There are also many other sea delicacies.
Local restaurants are called Picanterias. They are still very popular among locals. Some are within the urban area and some others on the outside of the city. There is a neighborhood called Arancota, where you can find many of this restaurants. Some of them are huge (600 tables or more) and they are usually full of locals. The main food attraction in this area is chicharron (fried pork with corn). Menu's are usually set, consisting of a hearty soup followed by a main dish. Drinks are often included. Prices are generally very cheap, varying from 5 S/ to 10 S/.
As with all Peruvian food: local delicacies are heavy and sometimes very hot. Try them with care, especially since the height of the city (around 2,300 meters) makes digestion slow. Take a mate de coca, coca-leaf tea, after meals: it helps indigestion and makes the altitude more bearable.
- Maya, Calle Jerusalén (Almost on the corner of Ugarte). Breakfast, piglets, burgers and more. Their set lunch is somewhat expensive, but they do it better! Set lunch 5,50 S/..
- Picanteria La Capitana Old and the truly old cooking in Arequipa, is behind Saga Falabella, this picanteria keep the old traditions. Be aware , to go early or you wont find the menu which is around 7 soles, other plates are also always available.
- Picanteria La Lucila Sachaca, still run by Sra Lucila Salas de Ballon, it's a short taxi ride out of town. Old style kitchen with Cuy (Guinea Pigs) eating scraps in the corner, and Lucila still makes her sauces the old way as she keeps an eye on everything and everyone.
For dinner, you can find the best restaurants from the city around Calle San Fransisco:
- Ary Quepay, Calle Jerusalén 502. Nice restaurant that serves local food.
- Tacos y Tequilas, Calle Ugarte 112, ☎ +51 54 628653. A nice atmospheric Mexican restaurant. The Mexican menu's are delicious, with an excellent guacemole. Mexican Menu 10 S/.
- Zingaro, Calle San Fransisco 309, . Typical food like "cuy" or "rocoto relleno".
- Lazos, San Francisco 315, ☎ 215729. Steakhouse
- Mandala, Calle Jerusalén 207, tél: 22 99 74, natural and tasty vegetarian food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. At lunch time, the menú ejecutivo, including a small salad, a soup, a yoghurt, a main dish, a dessert and a drink costs only 8 soles.
- Govinda - Hare Krishna Vegetarian and Pizza (closed September 2012), Sometimes they have a buffet, if not get the Menu Turistico, a 4 course meal for 15 soles which includes homemade yogurt, a Peruvian specialty, and your choice of entree among several Indian and Italian options. Everything is fresh and organic or locally grown. Eat outdoors and don´t go if you are in a hurry, expect it to take an hour as one person is preparing each part of your meal from scratch.
- Nitay Gouranga Vegetarian Restaurant, Calle Rivero (Rivero Street) 603 Cercado. You can get the menu of the day for just 4 S/ including soup and a main dish and a soft natural drink. Tasty vegetarian food. Also you can order and have different options.
- Istanbul (Fez Cafe), Calle San Francisco 229. Falafel or roasted vegetables wrap for S/7.50. Add humus for S/4. Not hugely flavoursome, but quick service and some very cool tables. Not solely vegetarian.
- El Turco, Calle San Francisco 216. Roasted vegetables as wraps or oven cooked with cheese, falafels available, prices from S/7.50. Nice colonial building with vaulted ceiling. Not solely vegetarian.
- Guisos de mi casa & como en casa, Calle Nicolas de Pierola 106 & Calle palacio viejo 115. Menu S/9 for a small salad, soup, main buffet (pick four of eight options) with rice, a dessert and a drink (choice of 2 with refills). S/8 without soup. S/7.50 without soup or salad. Add S/1.50 for take away. New menu every day, mostly andian style dishes. Really good food, great service, always busy. Open from midday.
The typical Peruvian drink is Pisco. Arequipa is the craddle for the Acholado type, a Pisco comming from a mixture of several grapes. Locals drink it pure, in little sips. Chilcano is another way to drink it, Pisco with white soda. And of course, the Pisco Sour, which is a must for any visitor.
The local booze is Anis Najar. Chicha and Pisco Sour is also drunk.
The local soft drink is Kola Escocesa, not as sweet as Inca Kola.
There is also a popular mineral water called Socosani. Energina is a yellow soft drink produced with this water. Some other soft drinks area available from the same factory.
Most bars and clubs for tourists are on Calle San Fransisco, uphill from the main square. Many have happy hour specials until 10.00PM.
There is an area of the city called Calle Dolores, with discotheques, kareoke bars, and salsa ball rooms usually attended by locals but safe enough for travellers. The taxi is needed to get there.
- Espressate, Av. Trinidad Morán G-22 (Urb. León XIII, Cayma), ☎ 054274607, . Espressate is a small, comfy, and welcoming place to enjoy a good cup of coffee, some homemade desserts and Spanish tapas. This coffee house offers free wi-fi, has a books exchange corner (books in different languages) and also sells special gifts (jewelry, ceramics, etc.). A nice little place to spend some time…
- Cafe Bar Senor Misti, Calle General Moran 118 - int. 13 (in the Claustros de la Compania), ☎ 054-214441, . Cafe Bar Senor Misti is a very nice Cafe Bar within the wonderful Claustros de la Compania. Senor Misti offers very good cafe and one of the best Pisco Sour in town and offers free Wi-Fi. Nice place to enjoy the oldtown in a secure and calm way. Very nice outdoor-seats.
- Casablanca Hotel  Street Address: Puente Bolognesi 104. (10 steps from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa) ☎ +51 54 221327. The entrance has the feeling of entering a neat wine cellar, but once you go up the stairs, there's a wonderful and large open room in the middle. The rooms are unusually large with high ceilings; street-facing rooms can be a bit noisy at night but have a pleasant balcony to sit on. Very clean and comfortable with friendly staff and good bread for breakfast (rare in Peru). Clean shower with moderately hot water. A twin was approximately US$45. Only extremely rudimentary English spoken. Stayed in and verified by User:Cluth; also listed in Lonely Planet.
- Posada del Parque  Deán Valdivia 238-A. (5 minutes from Plaza de Armas). ☎ +51 54 21227. Located in an old colonial building with high ceilings. Budget dorms to semi-luxurious doubles. All rooms have speakers to plug in mp3/mp4/devices. Large rooftop area with tables and chairs is a great chill-out place. Free internet, a travel agency, kitchen, laundry, breakfast and drinks. Staff is friendly and helpful, some speak English.
- Lula's B&B  is neither a hotel nor a hostel, but (as the Lonely Planet states) "a charming [family run] apartment-style B&B“. All the rooms are with private bathroom/shower-WC, international cable TV and WiFi (ADSL wireless). Owners speak (besides Spanish) English, German and French.
- Koala Hostel  Puente Grau 108. ☎ +51 54 223622. In an old colonial building with a lovely courtyard. All types of rooms, arrange tours for you, and is very friendly and has no curfew. If using their bus ticket booking service check the price is comparable with other alternatives.
- Pirwa Park Hostel Arequipa  Dean Valdivia 238 (San Cercado Arequipa. A few steps from the Plaza de Armas), ☎ +51 84 244315 ([email protected]). Free breakfast, free internet, pick up service, kitchen, laundry, breakfast and comfortable beds. From US$9.50/person. (-16.392078,-71.533599)
- Buena Vista Hostal (Buena Vista Hostal), (20 min walk from the Plaza de Armas), ("[email protected]"url="http://www.buenavistahostal.com/"). Very basic hotel in one of the oldest and most pleasant suburbs. Breakfast may be of dubious quality. Keep your own record of expenses and incidental charges as they may get confused when it comes time for the final bill. From US$18/person.
- Casa de Avila (Casa de Avila), Av. San Martin 116, Vallecito (4 blocks from main square), ☎ +51 54 213177 ([email protected]), . Casa de Avila is in a beautiful 1930s building reburbished as a hotel. Central courtyard is the main attraction of the place. Staff is friendly and helpful, and most speak English. A family run business with a warm informal atmosphere. Free wifi, private rooms with cableTV in most of them. Spanish classes and cooking activities are available. Tourist information service to help you planning your activities. From $10/person, breakfast is included.
- La Posada del Cacique, Jerusalen 404 (Cercado/Arequipa, near to the Plaza de Armas), ☎ +51 54 202170 ([email protected]). Safe area, friendly and competent owner can give good assistance with tours such as hill climbing, colca canyon and similar. 25 soles/pp for a double with private bathroom.
- El Rosario Hospedaje, Pasaje del Solar No 124. ☎ +51 54 222517, run by a friendly elderly couple. Hot water showers. Singles from 10 soles.
- The Crismar Hotel, Calle Moral #107, [www.crismarhotel.com/]. One and a half blocks from main plaza across the post office, best location, free transfer from airport, and bus terminal, prices start at $30 tax exempt for tourist, great coffee shop Bernini's at hotel.
- Hotel Viza, calle Peru #202, . Three blocks from the Plaza de Armas, $25 a nice room, includes breakfast and pick up from the airport.
- Arequipa Youth Hostel, Calle Zela 313 (between Bolivar and 4th block of Santa Catalina). ☎ +51 959669253, ([email protected]). Singles, doubles, and dorms available from 15 soles/person, 20 soles w/breakfast. Professionally managed and on a quiet street just 2 blocks from Plaza de Armas. Clean and comfortable rooms. Nice patio area for socialising. Use of kitchen and free internet access. Friendly and helpful staff with tourist information available.
- Arequipay Backpackers at Urbanizacion Los Angeles de Cayma Mz. G1 (A few blocks from the main plaza). ☎ +51 54 275498.  ([email protected]),. Dorm bed 20 soles, including breakfast and hot showers.
- La Reyna, Zela 209. Doubles 30 soles.
- Colonial House Inn, Calle Puente Grau 114. ("Arriba de la Plaza" to the taxi driver) A huge, beautiful room for US$27, the rest are cheaper, good breakfast.
- Bothy Hostel,  Calle Puente Grau 109. ☎ +51 54 282438. Sunny terrace, kitchen use, DVD room, hammocks and helpful staff. Lots of fun things going on- spanish lessons, bbqs, trips, tours, volunteering. 23 soles a night.
- Le Foyer Hostel, Ugarta 114. (2 blocks north of the Plaza de armas). Several restaurants below, on a rather busy road. 35 soles/night for single room with shower
- Home Sweet Home, Rivero 509. ☎ +51 54 405982.  Family run hostel, multilingual staff. Cosy bedrooms, wifi, terrace, laundry, travel agency. Great breakfast 5 soles. Dorm beds 25 soles.
- Hostal Lluvia de Oro, Jerusalen 308. ( About three blocks from the main Plaza) ([email protected]). Friendly, in front of the tourist police station, nice patio, pick up from airport.
- El Solar de la Macarena, Calle Jerusalen 531. ([email protected]). Opened in February 2008. Private bathrooms, nice shared kitchen, laundry, TV in every room, wifi. You can hang out on the roof or the 2nd floor terrace.
- La Casona de Jerusalen, Jerusalen St #306-A (in front of the tourist police station), ☎ +51 54-205453 ([email protected], fax: ""checkin="24). Very friendly staff with great recommendations, Great location near everything, and quite enough to sleep like a baby, Clean rooms, Sunny terrace, free laptop use and free wifi, cableTV. Good thick towels and hot water. Very nice place to stay. US$9 (rooms with shared bathrooms)/$17 (rooms with en-suite bathrooms).
- El Albergue Espanol, Calle Peral 117. Relaxed place, authentic building, central located, rooftop terrace, free wifi, nice staff, clean and very comfortable beds. Prices between 30 soles for a double with shared bathroom and 50 soles for one with private bathroom and tv. No breakfast. Showers are solar powered, so not always really hot.
- Alwa Hotel Address: Calle Malecón Chili # 9759 Chili Urb Los Pinos - Vallecito Arequipa - Peru Phone:5154284598 Alwa Hotel is in the residential area of Vallecito, five minutes from the main square. Vallecito is a place that is characterized by peace and quiet that allow guests to enjoy taking walks to witness the masterpiece of french architect Gustave Eiffel in his work embodied Iron Bridge which is located a few meters from our premises.
- Hotel Maison d' Elise Arequipa  It will take 15 minutes to get from the local Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon airport and will cost approximately 15 to 17 nuevos soles on taxi.
- La Casa de Los Pinguinos Av. Parra 110-B Cercado (Between the bus station and the Plaza de Armas) , ☎ +51 54 223851. Very comfortable, modern rooms with TV, fast wifi, hot showers and buffet breakfast. Very competent and helpful staff, also English Dutch and German speaking. Big garden with hammocks and chairs. Spanish language school in garden with name Spanish Cafe Arequipa. Single/double with private bathroom 55/90 soles. 4 soles by taxi (day), 5 soles by night - but don't worry about that, as the hotel is paying the taxi fare for you.
- La Casa de Melgar Arequipa Melgar 108 Cercado. (A few blocks away from the Plaza de Armas) . ☎ +51 54 222459. Built into an old colonial house. Very atmospheric hotel with friendly staff.
- Fundador Hotel Campo Redondo 109-111 San Lázaro, Cercado. . ☎ +51 54 284848, telefax+51 54 286969. In the traditional district of San Lazaro, which is characterized by small alleys of sillar (volcanic stone blocks).
- Los Tambos  Newly built and half block from Plaza de Armas. 2 night minimum stay, wifi throughout, à la carte breakfast and private transfers on arrival and departure.
- Hotel Asturias . Calle Ugarte 211. (A couple of blocks from the Plaza de Armas) Close to the Convento, good location. Rooms are small, but the hotel is recently refurbished, clean, and quiet. The staff is friendly and solicitous. There is internet, and breakfast is included. Travel agency on site. Double for US$45.
- El Balcón. Calderón 202.([email protected]) ☎ +51 54 286998. Mansion decorated with a small number of rooms. Located on a small side street between the downtown and the river.
- Hotel Queens Villa (15 blocks from the Plaza de Armas)  3 stars with standard and deluxe rooms. Including breakfast, cafeteria and swimming Pool.
All the usual advice given for Peru applies here as well. Arequipa feels like a somewhat safe city, and like in most of the other major Peruvian cities there is always a fairly large police presence. That said, don't unnecessarily flaunt your valuables or your money. Despite of this, there have been several robberies reported. DO NOT walk alone after 11.00PM in the downtown area!
In the downtown area, there is a fairly large presence of tourist police, wearing white shirts. Ask them for help.
The most common form is when a foreigner takes a no-name cab and some corners later other people are picked up to rob the tourist. To be safe, don't just hail any old cab that passes by. Always take branded taxis (of which you can see plenty). Several of these branded taxis are very careful about the owners/drivers they take on. Consequently, they are very reliable. The best of these is the "Turismo Arequipa" company with a green and white logo (watch out for fakes). "Taxitel" is also good.
The safest way to call a taxi is to ask your hotel or hostel to do it for you. Almost all hostels and hotels have a relationship with a taxi company whose drivers are known and trusted. This holds for the rest of Peru as well.
There are many travel agencies, but only few tour operators without commissions. Best operators are Andina (Jerusalen 402A), PeruSchweizExplorer (Jerusalen 314) for Colca Canyon Tours (around 150 Soles for a 3D/2N trip) and Quechua Explorer (San Francisco 218) for hill climbing. For guided and unguided trips you can also contact Rafael Llosa
View of Chachani from El Misti
- The Colca Canyon: Theoretically possible as a daytrip, but most people opt for at least one night in Chivay. Condors and landscapes.
- Chachani 6057 meters above sea level. Arrange transport with one of the adventure tour guides in town and be prepared for a 2-hour bumpy, swerving, scary drive around sharp curves up steep mountain roads. The base camp is over 5000 meters and the views are spectacular. If you are well-acclimated and have gear (ice axes and crampons) you should be able to summit from high camp in just over 8 hours. Otherwise just hike up the switchbacks to high camp (don´t stay there, you can´t sleep well at that altitude. Heed the mountaineer´s motto: "Hike high, Lie low") and then on to the col, from which you can see the beautiful view of Arequipa and surrounding mountains. The trek beyond can be dangerous if you´re not an experienced mountaineer. If you are, be prepared for a tough slog up dangerous scree and a trecherous traverse, and make sure you feel up to the return trip.
- El Misti 5822 meters above sea level. Is a 2 day climb there are a lot of agencies in Arequipa offering the climb for around $50 US. First night camps at approx 4600m so it gets very cold. You wake up at 1AM to make the summit for sunrise. Not at all a technical climb, you can pretty much walk to the top. It helps to be acclimatised as you can get pretty breathless up there.
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