The White City

Arequipa Travel Blog

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Not a painted backdrop but our view of the el Misti volcano from the roof terrace of our hostel.

Arequipa is Peru's second largest city, built at the foot of the (still live) el Misti volcano. It is known as the white city because of the white volcanic sillar rock that was used in the construction of many of the elaborate colonial buildings.

It is also home to the famous Monasterio de Santa Catalina, a lavish convent established by a rich widow turned nun. Accesible only to novices from the higher echilons of Peruvian society, the occupants brought servants with them and held rather fashionable parties. The party unfortunately ended when the convent was taken over by a Dominican nun who established more mainstream codes of nunlike behaviour - spoilsport. As a tribute to the bygone days of partying nuns, we suggest that if you ever visit, you take a few extra sols and eat some wonderfully hedonistic cake, from a desert menu based on the seven deadly sins. Apparently you can take the nun out of the party, but you can't...

Arequipa is also the perfect place from which to take a trip into the Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and the place to go for some condor watching. Having arrived a bit late in the day there didn't seem to be that many condors around, apart of course from the one that flew in straight over our heads just as we were getting back on the bus. Grr.

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Arequipa
photo by: halilee