Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru with about 1 million inhabitants. It is located in the south of Peru and can be perfectly integrated into travel routes through southern Peru. Arequipa is located at an altitude of 2335m and is therefore also a perfect stopover on your way to Lake Titicaca or Cusco to slowly acclimatize to the altitude. I liked the city a lot. You should plan to spend 2 days here.
Arequipa is also called the white city. There are two variations of origin for this name. Variant 1 says, in former times, only the white Spaniards lived in the centre. Variant 2 says, the name comes from the many white buildings. Even today, many buildings are still white.
Right at the main square the huge white cathedral ist waiting for you. This cathedral extends over a whole side of the main plaza. The cathedral did not have an easy life so far. Not only it has been destroyed by fire, but it also has been suffered from several earthquakes. But the church was rebuilt again and again. If you visit the church, then you will also come to the treasure room, in which it is not allowed to take pictures, and to the roof of the cathedral, to the bell towers.
From the roof of the cathedral, as well as from other points of the city, you have a view of the Misti volcano. The volcano is almost 6000m high and is still one of the active volcanoes. The last eruption was more than 200 years ago.
Monastery Santa Catalina
Another highlight of Arequipa is the monastery Santa Catalina. The biggest part of the monastery can be visited today as a kind of museum. It is like a small city within a city and very colourful.
If you are in Peru you will meet llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. The wool of these animals has very good qualities and is accordingly expensive. A saying we learned in Peru is, there is Baby Alpaca and Maybe Alpaca. Why, because on markets they sell to the tourists sometimes cheap baby alpaca clothing which is not baby alpaca at all. In Arequipa there is the Mundo Alpaca. A free museum where you can meet llamas and alpacas. You can learn about the textiles, weaving and coloring methods. You will also learn how to tell if it is real or fake alpaca. Finally, there is an outlet store of Sol Alpaca. More information about the Mundo Alpaca can be found here http://www.mundoalpaca.com.pe/
There are also outlets from the brands Sol Alpaca and Kuna in the city. Alpaca clothing is not cheap in these stores, but much cheaper than at home or online and you know that it is not fake.
Mercado San Camilo
And because Arequipa is one of the largest cities, you will also find a huge market hall, the Mercado San Camilo, with many tasty fruits.