A short 17 hour bus ride from Lima, luckily in the most luxurious bus, we reached Arequipa in the South of Peru.
The city of Arequipa is famous for its white volcano rock buildings, its religious sites as well as its proximity to the Colca Canyon.
When walking in town you suddenly feel like in Italy, with tables out on stone streets, cathedrals and monasteries. Local food to try is the Rocoto Relleno (spicy stuffed peppers), alpaca meat, Guinea pig, antichucho (beef heart), ocopa sauce (peanut), papa a la huancaína ….
We visited the large Santa Catalina monastery, more a town of 20 000m2 , which was built in the 16th century by a wealthy woman. Around 100 nuns used to live here and each of them had to pay dowry to become part of the convent. Nowadays only a few nuns remain, the rest of the convent with its cells, cathedrals, kitchens and streets is open to the public.
Just a few hours bus ride from Arequipa is the Colca cañon, one of the worlds deepest canyons. We took a day tour together with some local tourists and saw a volcano eruption, admired condors gliding through the canyon and learnt about Andean agriculture and culture. There is the possibility to hike into the canyon but we decided to go with a lazy day tour :-).
- Hotel bubamara: located in a colonial building including a small rooftop terrace.
- Chicha restaurant: owned by Peru’s most famous chef. Traditional food served in modern way.
- Chaqchao for chocolate, pizza and craft beer including a nice terrace and balcony. Very popular spot with international backpackers.