Take a taxi for a few soles to the Molino de Sabandia. This is a restored water mill in nice grounds (with a few alpaca and one vicuna).
5 Soles fee. Open 9am to 5pm. Closed Sun.
There is a small cafeteria but it's more fun to walk or catch a collectivo or taxi to the plazza in Paucarpata and try a picanteria there. Weak stomachs beware!
If you are lucky, you can see condors circling above the pre-inca terraces. We saw 7 while walking back from the mill and one very close from our picanteria! (update: I am told they may not have been condors but big birds whose name I forgot -they looked pretty condor-like to me)
It's easy to go back to Arequipa by collectivo from the plazza but do take care when walking to the centre from Av Independencia where the collectivo will drop you. Opportunists pickpockets will target you if you are not careful.
As it said to be the easiest over 6000 meters to climb - This mountain is very close to Arequipa! You can take trip to climb up this peak for only 100$ - included transportation from your hotel in Arequipa to the elevation of 5000m. Then, you have to trek up to Base camp for 2 hours at 5300m. And in the middle of the night on the next day, you will be woken up for preparing to the summit. It takes 5 hours from basecamp to the summit. You have to use crampon to walk on the snow field - some route is quite steep some it's not! And when you are on the top! You will be very proud of yourself and the view will take your breathe away!
Me and my wife just came back from our tour to Colca Canyon with Inka Fest Travel and our services went excellent. Our guide Alberto was fantastic ,spoke very well english and very funny , giving us full of information during the whole trip.
The accommodations were the best during the whole tour and the landscapes were awesome!!
Evelyn was very helpful and a friendly girl and she gave us many advices for the rest of our trip in Peru and Bolivia.
For the best and perhaps most unique eating experience try hitting up a local picanteria. These are traditional eateries that in their most traditional sense will still cook all the food using wood burning stoves and are family-owned. Traditionally, farmers would gather to eat at these establishments and accompany their meals drinking chicha de jora. A must try if you are eating at a picanteria. Chicha de jora is served in a large class and its preparation requires several steps, including sprouting corn kernels and barley and fermenting them overnight, which yields a slightly viscous drink that tastes something like sparkling cider.
Around the city of Arequipa you will find traditional towns (they are districts really, of the city) such as Huaranguillo, Sachaca and Tiabaya. These places host traditional picanterias. You will find picanterias in the center too, but be careful where you go, nowadays picanterias are trendy and you can find very fancy ones that are not the real thing and are expensive. My grandfather used to say that if there were flies in a picanteria then it was the real deal. If you want to savor the country side, where tourists don't really go, a place that is safe and certainly off the beaten path but where you can also find a large array of picantarias then go to Huaranguillo. Its very easy to get to Huaranguillo from Cayma. A brown bus heading to Pampa de Camarones along Av. Quinoñez will take you for .60 centimos and its about a 10 minute bus ride (you can take this bus across the street from the mega store "Saga", ask the driver if they go to Pampa de Camarones). Take it to the end of the bus' route. You will know you are there because the bus stops and everyone gets off. Get off and get to the main road and make a left onto the main road, then just start walking down this main road. You will find a famous picanteria called Sulu to your right for example. After lunch, walk behind the Sulu restaurant along an unpaved road for the most beautiful view of the volcanoes and the country side. Or, take a cab to Tiabaya or even Sachaca and ask the cab driver to take you to a picanteria tipica.
What to eat at a picanteria: if you are into shrimp try the shrimp chowder called "chupe de camarones"; if you are into chicken try the "Aji de gallina", if you are into exotic dishes try the "cuy chactado" (guinea pig); if you are into duck try the "arroz con pato" (rice and duck); if you are into beef and spice try the "rocoto relleno" (a deveined hot pepper stuffed with ground beef and other things accompanied by a baked potato dish; if you are into lamb try the "seco de cordero"; if you are a vegetarian try the "pastel de papas" (a baked potato and cheese pie) or "soltero de queso" (a salad made of tomatoes, fresh cheese, olives, corn, and habas) or "escribano" (a salad made of spicey pepper called rocoto, tomato, and potatos). And for desert don't leave without eating a "queso helado". This is an ice cream made of different types of milk and it is deeeeelicious. It has no cheese even though you would think it does from its name.
4 hours rough ride, but shorter and probably better than colca canyon, this is a 3 hour climb to the top with a spectacular lunar crater at the top that continuously spews gas. Special masks will be provided by your guide. On the way back u can stop at Lagunas Salinas which is spectacular. A good day trip, possibly better than the other options available.
top is 5,600m high but the jeep goes up to 5,000m. There is usually no one else on this climb. The desert scenery is amazing, and i was lucky to see a bunch of Vicunyas at 5,000m in the desert where there were barely a few shrubs growing. Amazing sight!
Arequipa is a great base for exploring one of Peru's most visited spots, the Colca Canyon. The canyon is a few hours away by car and much more by train, so some might decide to actually stay in one of the villages along the valley floor of the canyon. This isn't a bad idea, since I felt like our one day tour of the canyon was a bit rushed. We were picked up at our hotel at 3am in order to get there early enough in the morning to appreciate the light and to see the magnificent condors in flight along the edges of the canyon walls.
You can also arrange for a two day trip to the canyon from Arequipa, which would enable you to get a greater appreciation of the place. The canyon is said to be the deepest in the world, about twice as deep as the more famous Grand Canyon in the USA and has been inhabited by native people for over 2000 years. There are quite a few little villages in the valley mostly inhabited by Collagua people who are said to be descendants of the Aymaras.
This is an excursion recommendable to people who want to see the coastal desert of Peru from the comfortable seat of a car. After a 2 and a half hour drive through the various landscapes of the desert, you arrive at the edge of a deep and green valley, like an oasis fed with water all year long by the Rio Majes. The colour contrast between the desert and the valley is thrilling. Within the valley, at an altitude of only 500 m (1650 ft), climate is tropical. Here you’ll have the opportunity to taste the best “camarones” (crayfish) of Arequipa. You can also visit the archeological site of Toro Muerto, which shows up the highest concentration of pre-Colombian petroglyphs of South America
You can rent a car to make a one-day drive on the nearby altiplano. To the East, 2 hours away from Arequipa, is the Laguna Salinas, trapped between Misti, Ubinas and Pichu Pichu volcanoes. It is a National Park where you can observe many bird species as well as thousands of lamas and alpacas in a wonderful landscape.
North of Arequipa, behind Chachani volcano, the highlands are inhabited by a large population of wild vicuñas. From there, you can go back to Arequipa by the old road which passes between Misti and Chachani along the deep canyon of Rio Chili .
This volcano that looks down upon Arequipa is no longer active, but it offers the great interest of being one of the more-than-6000 m (20,000 ft) peaks easiest to climb in the world. For a relatively low price, a guide can take you to the top in 2 days. The car drives you to an altitude of nearly 5000 m (16,500 ft). There is no ice nor any technical difficulty. Only altitude can be a problem. It is recommended to be somewhat acclimatized before trying this ascent .
In the year 1600, Huaynaputina erupted violently, giving rise to the biggest eruption of South America of the last 500 years. Today, the surrounding area is still capped by a thick layer of white pumice that gives a unique aspect to the landscape. A spectacular trek of 3 days allows you to cross the whole Huaynaputina massif from south to north, passing by the crater. The vast uninhabited, moonlike volcanic massif and the final descent into the vertiginous canyon of Rio Tambo will make of this trek an unforgettable experience .
More distant and less known than Misti, Ubinas offers the advantage of an easier and shorter climb (2-3 hours), which allows you to make the excursion in 1 day. The highest point is also lower (5400 m or17,800 ft). It is a spectacular volcano, with a large outer crater in which you can go down to discover the small inner crater, 250 m deep, with a permanent fumarolic activity. The road from Arequipa to the volcano passes by the Laguna Salinas, a large salt lagoon located at an altitude of 4300 m (14,200 ft) where a large number of birds as well as lama and alpaca herds gather .
Plaza San Francisco is located about 5-6 blocks from the main Plaza de Armas. This small plaza is cool for a quick stopby, although it can feel a little sketchy at night. It is located near the intersection of San Francisco and Zela.
Because of its proximity to the Nazca submarine geological failure, and its location on a volcanic area (the Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanos are around), earthquakes are a common thing in Arequipa. People has pretty gotten used to them!
The last strong earthquake was in 2001, and one of the most important places, the Cathedral, was severely damaged when losing one of their towers. However, it was one of the few buildings that suffered any damage.
Therefore, if you go to Arequipa and all of a sudden you feel the earth moving down your feet... just calm down and go to any open area :)
This was a pretty church that we passed on our way to the market. I noticed an old woman trying in vain to cross the street and offered to take her across. She was a small dark-skinned woman and reminded me of my Nana who passed away some twenty years ago. I'd like to think someone would help her if she were still alive and in the same position.
This quiet suburb of Arequipa is well worth the minimal effort it takes to get here. You will see parts of town you'd otherwise miss, enjoy great views of Arequipa and El Misti from its Mirador, and the main square is beautiful with a 500 year-old church and huge palm trees. And besides, one of the best restaurants in the area is out this way too!