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A short flight south of Lima and gateway to the region’s altiplano is Peru’s second city Arequipa, a pleasant university town with good restaurants and bars. It is known locally as the “white city” or more generously as the “Rome of the Americas”. Arequipa is ringed by the three volcanoes Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu and sitting at an altitude of 2200m, is an ideal spot for spending a few days to acclimatise before heading up into the highlands.
The city centre boasts fine colonial architecture constructed in the regional white volcanic stone ashlar, from where Arequipa gained its nickname, with many of the prominent older buildings featuring fine intricate detail. The tourist highlight, without doubt, is Santa Catalina; an historic Dominican convent covering over 20,000m located right at the heart of the city. Founded in 1579 and shut off from the rest of the outside world for centuries, Santa Catalina finally threw open its doors to tourism in the 1960’s to raise funds following a sequence of devastating earthquakes. The result, an oasis of tranquillity from the bustle of the city where today’s visitors can wander the shaded patios to colourful terraces and ornate chapels catching captivating glimpses of the last remaining resident nuns, some 20 in all.

Arequipa Hotels

$$$$ Casa Andina Private Collection – Arequipa Arequipa

Historic Hotel

The Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa is a charming, historic boutique hotel, originally the city’s Mint and national monument which was meticulously remodelled and opened to the public in 2008...

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$$ La Hosteria | Arequipa

With one of the best locations in Arequipa, La Hosteria is a small family guesthouse and traditional colonial mansion tucked away in the quiet streets of Arequipa. Directly opposite is the...

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$$ Posada del Puente Arequipa

Sitting on the banks of the Chili River with pleasant views over towards the distant Misti Volcano, the Posada del Puente is a small, attractive, resort hotel surrounded by well-maintained gardens...

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