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Arequipa, Peru - A Good Place To Get Used To Altitude (2300 Meters)

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2009 June 2012   » View Photoset (61 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I have visited Arequipa twice now, in 2009 and 2012, each time for 2 nights. Arequipa is reminiscent in some ways to Cusco. One of the highlights
Peru Photo - View of the plaza in Arequipa.
View of the plaza in Arequipa.
in the city is the beautiful Plaza de Armas - a big wide open space with palm trees, grass areas, fountain, pigeons, seating and people enjoying the sun. It's surrounded by white buildings plus cathedrals and archways. The setting is amazing with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. There are many good restaurants and bakeries in the city and the center is very clean.

Get Used to the Altitude

Arequipa is at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level, so the climate is not too cold. It's a good place to get used to the altitude before traveling to higher ground.

Churches, Plazas, Museums, Parks

The city is full of historic buildings with interesting colors and facades. Many of the streets are made of cobblestone with sidewalks made from larger smooth stone slabs. There are 16 churches, monasteries and convents in the city. I visited a few including Iglesia Santa Marta, Santa Rosa, Santa Teresa, San Francisco and Santo
Peru Photo - Nice trees and gardens at Duhamel Park in Arequipa.
Nice trees and gardens at Duhamel Park in Arequipa.
Domingo. There are nearly 20 plazas and parks and 7 museums also, so there's a lot to see.

San Lazaro Neighbourhood

I walked up the hill away from the center to an area known as San Lazaro. It's a neighbourhood with narrow streets and walkways, streetlamps and houses with arched wooden doors and windows with flower pots hanging outside. It's a nice neighbourhood to walk around and you can see good views of the snowy mountains - Volcan Misti and Volcan Chachani.

Tour Offices

There are tour offices offering tours to Colca Canyon. The tours leave at around 3am in the morning in order to travel to Chivay to see the condors in time. On the way
Peru Photo - Beautiful fountain in the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa.
Beautiful fountain in the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa.
back it is possible to see wildlife at Pampas Canahuas, views from the mirador at Patapampa, swim at the thermal pools in Calera and see the church of Maca. I would love to do this tour one day! Better still, make your own way to Chivay and spend a few days enjoying the area at your own pace.

Cheap Hotels

On my first time in Arequipa it was hard finding a hotel in the center that had a vacancy. My 2nd time I found a good budget hotel right beside the bus terminal. That was much better and there are many restaurants and shops around there too.

Bus to Juliaca and Puno

After my first time in Arequipa I headed to Juliaca and Puno. The journey was all things bleak, barren and beautiful with snow-capped mountains, giant rock formations and wide open spaces. I loved to sit and take it all in. The highway is in good condition. It is amazing how they built this road through that kind of terrain. After my 2nd time in Arequipa I headed to Atico on the coast which took 5hrs and 30mins and stayed the night.

     

View all photos in the Arequipa Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Arequipa (Peru) to:


Map location: Arequipa, Peru. They call it the White City, but not for it's buildings, but because of the snowy mountains surrounding it! Arequipa is a nice place to visit on your way to or from Bolivia.
 A : Camana - Peru 125 kms 125 kms straight distance | 2hrs 36mins 2hrs 36mins by car (171 kms) | 3hrs 7mins 3hrs 7mins by bus (171 kms) (171 kms)
 B : Moquegua to Desaguadero - Peru 108 kms 108 kms straight distance | 2hrs 50mins 2hrs 50mins by car (213 kms) | 3hrs 24mins 3hrs 24mins by bus (213 kms) (213 kms)
 C : Puno / Juliaca - Peru 177 kms 177 kms straight distance | 5hrs 2mins 5hrs 2mins by car (286 kms) | 6hrs 2mins 6hrs 2mins by bus (286 kms) (286 kms)
 D : Tacna - Peru 224 kms 224 kms straight distance | 4hrs 40mins 4hrs 40mins by car (363 kms) | 5hrs 36mins 5hrs 36mins by bus (363 kms) (363 kms)
 E : Chile Border to Tacna - Peru 248 kms 248 kms straight distance | 5hrs 25mins 5hrs 25mins by car (409 kms) | 6hrs 30mins 6hrs 30mins by bus (409 kms) (409 kms)
 F : Puno to Bolivian Border - Peru 258 kms 258 kms straight distance | 7hrs 10mins 7hrs 10mins by car (416 kms) | 8hrs 36mins 8hrs 36mins by bus (416 kms) (416 kms)
 G : Arica - Chile 263 kms 263 kms straight distance | 5hrs 40mins 5hrs 40mins by car (421 kms) | 6hrs 48mins 6hrs 48mins by bus (421 kms) (421 kms)
 H : Copacabana - Bolivia 261 kms 261 kms straight distance | 7hrs 27mins 7hrs 27mins by car (430 kms) | 8hrs 56mins 8hrs 56mins by bus (430 kms) (430 kms)
 I : Cusco - Peru 322 kms 322 kms straight distance | 9hrs 2mins 9hrs 2mins by car (490 kms) | 10hrs 50mins 10hrs 50mins by bus (490 kms) (490 kms)
 J : La Paz to Desaguadero - Bolivia 269 kms 269 kms straight distance | 7hrs 12mins 7hrs 12mins by car (511 kms) | 8hrs 38mins 8hrs 38mins by bus (511 kms) (511 kms)
 K : La Paz to Copacabana - Bolivia 323 kms 323 kms straight distance | 9hrs 17mins 9hrs 17mins by car (513 kms) | 11hrs 8mins 11hrs 8mins by bus (513 kms) (513 kms)
 L : Abancay - Peru 339 kms 339 kms straight distance | 10hrs 10mins 10hrs 10mins by car (562 kms) | 12hrs 12mins 12hrs 12mins by bus (562 kms) (562 kms)
 M : La Paz - Bolivia 364 kms 364 kms straight distance | 9hrs 2mins 9hrs 2mins by car (616 kms) | 10hrs 50mins 10hrs 50mins by bus (616 kms) (616 kms)
 N : Andahuaylas - Peru 362 kms 362 kms straight distance | 12hrs 14mins 12hrs 14mins by car (677 kms) | 14hrs 40mins 14hrs 40mins by bus (677 kms) (677 kms)
 O : Machu Picchu - Peru 375 kms 375 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Arequipa, Peru:

Hostal Terminal, Arequipa, Peru - Large Photo
Hostal Terminal, Arequipa, Peru (June 2012 - 2 nights) - A nice room in a budget hotel beside the bus terminal. TV and bathroom, helpful friendly staff. Much cheaper than the hotels in the central city. Recommended.
Casona Blanca Hostal, Arequipa, Peru - Large Photo
Casona Blanca Hostal, Arequipa, Peru (Apr 2009 - 2 nights) - Nice room and bathroom, pleasant outside area where you can sit in the sun to have your complimentary breakfast in the morning. Within walking distance to the beautiful central plaza area, lots of shops are in the area.

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Arequipa, Peru - A Good Place To Get Used To Altitude (2300 Meters). They call it the White City, but not for it's buildings, but because of the snowy mountains surrounding it! Arequipa is a nice place to visit on your way to or from Bolivia.

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