Ceviche and the Ice Princess

Arequipa Travel Blog

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Exploring one of the many tucked away courtyards in Arequipa

Our last day in Arequipa was spent trying to squeeze every last drop of touristy crap out of it, besides the usual post trek necessities of washing clothes etc, we got to eat like locals thanks to my Peruvian friends Kelly & Micheal that I'd met at the Brazilian/ Bolivian border, who recommended a great cerviche place near their university. We were the only tourist in there, perhaps even in the whole neighbourhood and we felt as though we'd been let in on some well kept secret, the food was amazing and as you'd expect at a place where only locals frequent, not expensive either. We then met up with Anna again as we'd arranged to go and view Juanita, aka The Ice Princess, whose mummified remains were found at a burial site near to El Misti.

Juanita was an Incan girl who was sacrificed on top of one of the mountains to pay tribute to the gods, for the families if your child (usually a daughter) was chosen this was a great privilege. Several of these mummies have been found throughout what was the Incan empire including Salta where Anna had seen another example. The climate has helped to preserve these incredible mummies as well as the relics and treasures found with them such as clothes and feathers that retain their original  vibrant colours. Juanita's skin and hair is incredibly well preserved and the better protected parts of her are just in the most unbelievable condition, it's like she died recently not hundreds of years ago. Anna said that the mummies she'd seen in Salta were actually even better - all the more reason to explore other parts of Argentina I reckon.
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After our visit to Juanita the girls wanted to do some gift shopping and I happily tagged along even though I was trying not to buy anything I ended up buying another hat to add to my collection, bright red and made from baby Alpaca wool its just so soft, if I'd ever had a blanket this soft as a child I think I'd have been like Lynus from Charlie Brown and still been cuddling it to this day! We managed to while away yet more time eating and drinking and we introduced Anna to our newly found ice cream haunts. Early evening we had to say our goodbyes as Anna wanted to go and spend some time with her host family and we had to go and finish packing. In what seemed like no time at all after getting back to the hostel we were leaving again to go to the bus station to get our overnight bus to Nazca. My first experience of taking a Cruz del Sur bus was certainly a good one; you get a separate terminal for starters where they have a lounge with security cameras and you get filmed/ photographed before and after you get on the bus. In fact finding the terminal proved to be the hardest part as it was elusively tucked away. Paying extra for first class seats was also a good idea as we had massive leather reclining seats that actually meant I got a decent nights sleep, I can see why these guys are like the Rolls Royce of bus travel in Peru. They have uniformed staff that are like flight attendants, there's free wi-fi on board as well as a computer you can use, you get fed and watered and there are endless movies (though not your latest Hollywood blockbuster that's for sure) all of which made up for missing out on the best bus in Bolivia.

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Exploring one of the many tucked a…
Exploring one of the many tucked …
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photo by: halilee