Arequipa offers to visitors different ways for discovering the region through a variety of Arequipa Tours. The “white city” is located at 2,325 metres of elevation above sea level, with the lowest part of the city being at 2,041 metres above sea level in the area called Huayco Uchumayo while the highest is located at 2,810 metres above sea level.
The central part of the city is crossed by the Chili River from north to south; to the north and east of Arequipa are the Andes mountains, while to the south and west there are minor mountain ranges associated to the Andes. The valley of Arequipa, open toward the coast, plays a key role in allowing Arequipa to be a city that strategically links the coastal and highland regions of southern Peru.
A series of volcanic cones dominate the city skyline: Misti, and the extinct volcanic groups Pichu Pichu and Chachani. The western slopes of the Andes in the region feature thick layers of volcanic lava that cover large areas.
Arequipa is the second most industrialized and commercialized city in Peru. Its industrial activity includes manufactured goods and camelid wool products for export. The city has close trade ties with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil.
The city was founded on 15 August 1540, by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal as “Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción”. During the Colonial period, Arequipa became highly important for its economic prosperity and for its loyalty to the Spanish Crown.
After Peru gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Arequipa acquired greater political significance,and was declared the capital city of Peru from 1835 to 1883.
The historic center of Arequipa spans an area of 332 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic heritage, natural scenery and cultural sites make the city a major tourist destination. Its religious, colonial, and republican architectural styles blend European and native characteristics into a unique style called “Escuela Arequipeña”.
The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons.
This combination of influences is illustrated by the city’s robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades.
With its buildings built mostly in white or pink volcanic rock (sillar), the historical centre of Arequipa has a distinct character resulting from natural causes and historical context. The pre-existent indigenous populations, the Spanish conquest and the evangelization, the spectacular natural setting and the frequent earthquakes, are all main factors in the definition of Arequipa’s identity.
The city is the result of its people’s endurance against natural processes and the capacity of cultures to overcome crises. Arequipa was founded in 1540 in a valley that had been intensively farmed by pre-Hispanic communities. The layout of an indigenous hamlet has survived close to the Historical Centre in the district of San Lázaro. The World Heritage site consists of 49 original blocks of the Spanish layout. In addition there are 24 blocks from the colonial period and the 19th century.
Major earthquakes have marked the key moments of change in the development of Arequipa architecture. It is thus possible to identify five periods of development: foundation as a village (1540-82), Baroque splendour (1582-1784), introduction of Rococo and neoclassicism (1784-1868), modern empiricism and neoclassical fashion (1868-1960), and contemporary design.
The core of the historic town is the Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) with its archways, the municipality, and the cathedral. At one corner of the plaza there are the church and cloisters of La Compañia, the most representative ensemble of the Baroque mestizo period at the end of the 18th century.
The Monasterio de Santa Catalina is a spectacular religious citadel, integrating architectural styles from the 16th to 19th centuries. The complex of San Francisco includes a small square, the main church, the convent, and the cloisters of the third order.
The chapels and convents of Santo Domingo date from the 16th to 18th centuries: San Agustín, La Merced and the church of Santa Maria; Santa Teresa and Santa Rosa; Puente Real (now Puente Bolognesi) and Puente Grau are also built from sillar.
The historical centre of Arequipa is therefore characterized by its originality and presence, respect for tradition, influence in the settlement region, privileged geography, foundational layout, its urban scheme and its creation, its materials, construction and decoration systems, and the rich social and cultural mixture.
Perou Voyage offers different Arequipa tours: Arequipa Walking Tour, Arequipa Countryside Tour, Toro Muerto Petroglyphs, Arequipa Reality Tour, Capua Waterfall hike, Sogay Trek, Colca Tours, Colca Trekking, etc.
AREQUIPA TOURS 2018
Arequipa Walking Tour:
This walking tour in Arequipa includes the visits to the most important tourist attrractions in Arequipa city: San Camilo local market where we can taste delicious local fruits, La Compañia Church, Arequipa Plaza de Armas, The Cathedral, Santa Catalina Monastery and Museo Santuarios Andinos (Juanita Mummy).
Arequipa Countryside Tour:
Explore the surroundings of Arequipa city and visit its best attractions. Our countryside package includes the visit to the Mirador of Carmen Alto, a natural lookout point from where it is possible to make out the Valley of Arequipa with great pre Inca terraces and its volcanoes known as El Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu. Our tour also takes us to the traditional neighborhood of Yanahuara, also you will visit Cayma church and main square and Sabandia windmill. This tour endsin a “picanteria” where you will be able to taste the local food.
Toro Muerto Petroglyphs Tour:
Toro Muerto is a collection of ancient petroglyphs in the Peruvian coastal desert, found in the Castilla province in the region Arequipa in Peru. The site contains some 3000 volcanic rocks with petroglyphs dating back to the Wari culture, active from 500 to 1000 CE. The Wari (Spanish: Huari) were a Middle Horizon civilization that flourished in the south-central Andes and coastal area of modern-day Peru.
Sogay Waterfalls Trek:
This excursion to Sogay waterfalls is a good alternative for people who have only one day to spend in Arequipa city and want to do a small hike without having to make several hours of transportation. This trek can also helps your acclimatization before going at higher altitudes (for example Colca Canyon, Puno and Cusco).
Ashlar Quarries Tour:
This half day tour includes the visit to: “La Cantera de Añashuayco”, this quarry is still in operation, a huge canyon with walls higher than 30mts. Also the excursion includes the visit to “Quebrada de Culebrillas”, this is a quarry which is not in operation, inside there is a small canyon that has formed by the pass of water. At the end of our walk we will be able to see petroglyphs such as llamas, sun, snakes; that were made by the ancient people of the area.