Ever under the watchful gaze of the nearby Misti Volcano, Arequipa is an Andean city that blends urban living and scenic grandeur into a concoction that's just too good to pass up. Need we say more? Apparently so. OK, just so as not to oversimplify things, let's take a minute to elaborate a little bit more on what makes this southern Peruvian city so easy to appreciate.
Known as La Ciudad Blanca (because of its distinctive white sillar buildings), Argentina's 2nd largest metropolis is the main commercial and agricultural hub in southern Peru, boasting a population of nearly 1 million residents. This may not be an astounding number, mind you, but it's just enough hustle and bustle to keep things exciting during your visit. And speaking of excitement, Arequipa also happens to be a perfect home base for those seeking out some of the country's more extreme outdoor adventures. How extreme? Well, for starters there are the Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons, which measure twice the depth of the Grand Canyon (seriously). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the towering volcanoes of the Cordillera de Ampato can reach higher than 20,000 ft into the South American sky. Think of it as a high altitude city delivering a truly diverse set of outdoor adventure opportunities unique to southern Peru.
But what about things a little closer to home? Well, walk around Arequipa and you'll find that you don't necessarily need to leave the city to find both entertainment and enlightening experiences. Restaurants by renowned chef Gaston Acurio help to spearhead a surprisingly adept culinary scene, while the Old Quarter and Av. Dolores provide enough nocturnal action mid week through the weekend to keep you night owls from feeling left out. Then there are the host of Spanish and Andean attractions to check out, from the colossal Basilica Catedral to the frozen Ice Maiden of Ampato, and all of this after you've made your way though the massive (and almost obligatory) Santa Catalina Monastery. Put it all together and you begin to realize why this city piqued your curiosity in the first place. Now all that's left to do is book your flight.