Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and one equally as impressive as Lima. Like all Peruvian cities Arequipa boasts many plazas and beautiful colonial buildings. Plaza de Armas has a beautiful church, great gardens and a large fountain. To top it off there are beautiful views of the snow-capped volcano, Misti and other mountains like Chachani surrounding this spectacular city.
Walking around this warm city we noticed many of the buildings are made of a white stone, which we later discovered is the volcanic stone from the area. Arequipa is also commonly known as the white city for this reason. These volcanic stones give the city such a crisp and clean appearance and make it more visually impressive than Lima.
Arequipa has many things to do and in the coming weeks I will show you more of what it has to offer but one I think is a must is the monastery. The monastery is more than a regular monastery and actually is more like a city within a city (think the Vatican). The monastery area is a completely walled city, where inside you can see how the nuns used to live, with everything from their houses, to their kitchens and the hospital.
Jen and I spent almost two hours walking through the many colourful streets and looked in every nook and cranny. The place has been wonderfully restored and still has many of the old kitchen pots and utensils. The infirmary also has an interesting old wheel chair and a cabinet full of old medicines.
Many of the buildings have stairways leading up to the rooftops but are blocked off probably for safety reasons. However there are sets of steps, which lead you to the top of the new church and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.
If you make it to this fabulous city be sure to put the monastery on your list of things to do.
Tickets to the monastery are only 35 Soles (12.80 US) and if you want a guide (which isn’t really essential) then they cost about 20 Soles ($7.30 US).