Arequipa Journals

Ary Quepay - Here I Rest

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An April 2006 trip to Arequipa by Liam Hetherington

Cathedral at Night Photo, Arequipa, Peru More Photos
Quote: The white city of Arequipa sits amidst Andean volcanoes. It houses magnificent religious remains, as well as more earthly pleasures.

Ary Quepay - Here I Rest

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Overview

Cathedral at Night Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
According to legend the Inca was processing through the mountains. At a riverside spot he pronounced "Are Quepay", Quechua for 'Here I Rest'. The 'White City' of Arequipa is a good place to break any journey around Peru, although - with the exception of one famous inhabitant - traces of Inca presence are thin on the ground.Arequipa is the main commercial centre for the south of Peru, located well south of Cusco, west of Lake Titicaca, and a good hour drive up from the coast. This is a mountain town. If not as high as Cusco, you can still feel a shortage of oxygen in the air. Mountains surround the town - most notably the perfectly conical volcano El Misti. It is the widespread use of ash gray ...Read More

Hostal Las Mercedes

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Hotel

Quote:
The three-star Hostal Las Mercedes is located just south of the centre of Arequipa, on the wide Avenida La Marina that runs parallel to the Rio Chili. The walk to the Plaza de Armas is not far, but you may want to take 10-15 minutes over it. At 2,380m altitude you can get out of puff quicker than you realise.The Hostal itself is a big yellow building, with lovely tranquil gardens out back. You get a good view from the rooms up the grand wooden staircase, but not from those on the ground floor. It has a (slow) Internet connection for reasonable rates, and can arrange laundry for you. Downstairs there is a formal study with a fireplace, large comfy chairs, and hunting trophies. It is a room befi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 3, 2007

Hostal Las Mercedes
Av La Marina 1001
Arequipa, Peru
+51 (54) 213601

Alianza Francesa

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Restaurant | "Alianza Francesca"

View From Alianza Francesca Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
The Alianza Francesca is conveniently located right across from the Santa Catalina Convent. This building is supported by the Alliance Francais, the French cultural institution. It puts on French cultural exchanges, organises courses in the language, and provides a support function for French (and Francophone) travellers - the French honorary consul in Arequipa has an open surgery every Monday from 3:30pm to 6pm. To those of you who only know of the institution of honorary consuls through the novel of Graham Greene, I am assured she is nothing like Charley Fortnum!Of most interest to non-French travellers though would be the centre's cafeteria. It is a pleasant wood panelled room with win...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 5, 2007

Alianza Francesa
Santa Catalina 208
Arequipa, Peru
+51 (54) 215579

Quinta

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Restaurant | "La Quinta"

Quote:
I will admit that maybe I just had a bad meal at la Quinta. A couple had come here the night before for dinner and had raved about it. I came with a friend for lunch the next day, and was rather disappointed. Mind you, we were the only diners there - maybe service is better in the evenings. Located north of Ayacucho, La Quinta is situated where the street starts to climb up in to the more indigenous area of San Lazaro. It advertises itself as the place to try local Peruvian specialities in Arequipa. After a hard day trudging around the Santa Catalina convent this looked like a good bet.Once through the entrance you are into a shaded garden, with raffiawork over head to shield y...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 5, 2007

Quinta
Jerusalem 522
Arequipa, Peru

Plaza de Armas

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Attraction

Cathedral at Night Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
I sat on an ornate stone balcony sipping an egg-based cocktail and chewing on a llama steak. Ahead the Cathedral glowed gold. Three local musicians played Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Sound of Silence' on panpipes, ignored by the party of women on the next table. The sashes each of the women wore announced their titles - Miss Venezuela, Miss Colombia, Miss Nicaragua - the combined beauty queens of Central and South America. Then a hubbub arose from the square below. A crowd of protesters marched through the Plaza de Armas. In their midst was a flat-bed truck; mounted on its back was a model volcano; puffs of smoke periodically emerged from its fumarole. I turned back to my drink. Just another crazy nigh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2007

Plaza de Armas

Arequipa, Peru

Convento de Santa Catalina

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Attraction

Convento de Santa Catalina Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
The Convent of Santa Catalina is the must-see sight of Arequipa. Occupying over two hectares north of the Cathedral, the Convent is a veritable city within a city. Founded as long ago as 1579 (only five years after the last Incan stronghold was crushed by the Spanish) the convent stood in seclusion for four centuries, its grey sillar walls presenting a forbidding face to the town. Once through the gateway, and beneath the imperative 'Silencio!' stencilled above another world is revealed. The nuns of the convent came from aristocratic families. As 'Brides of Christ', they came with their dowries, the administration of which kept the convent independent. At its peak 450 nuns lived, worked, a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 3, 2007

Convento de Santa Catalina
Calle Santa Catalina 301
Arequipa, Peru
+51 54 229798

Monasterio de la Recoleta

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Attraction | "La Recoleta"

Monasterio de la Recoleta Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
While not as grand as the Convento de Santa Catalina, the Franciscan Monastery of La Recoleta is also well-worth a look. Situated west of the centre across the Rio Chili, it was founded in 1648, then rebuilt later that century after an earthquake had done its worst. To get there, take either the Puente Bolognesi or Puente Grau. The area surrounding the monastery is much more down-at-heel than the centre of town; arriving at 2:30, and finding that the monastery was only open between 9am and 1pm, and 3pm and 5pm, we retreated to the balcony of a bar on Avenida del Ejercito for a drink.La Recoleta is smaller than Santa Catalina, and not quite as well maintained. Entry is roughly $1, and they ask ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 3, 2007

Monasterio de la Recoleta
Recoleta 117
Arequipa, Peru

Forum Rock Cafe

Attraction

Quote:
A nightclub like Forum was the last thing I expected to stumble across. It is much more Ayia Napa than Arequipa.The Casona Forum centre is located on San Francisco, the road that runs north along the eastern side of the Plaza de Armas. Once into the courtyard there are a number of bars that lead off - Retro, a more sedate bar in a '60-'70s theme, Zero, with pool tables, and Terrasse with views over the city and events. Forum however is a good old-fashioned nightclub, albeit one with a rather striking jungle feel. Walls and dividers are bamboo poles, and there is a second floor of walkways suspended over head like a treehouse. Lush greenery explodes from pots and corners, and there is a 'lagoon...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 5, 2007

Forum Rock Cafe
San Francisco 317
Arequipa, Peru

Colca Canyon

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Attraction

Colca Canyon Photo, Arequipa, Peru
Quote:
At twice the depth of Colorado's Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon, to the northwest of Arequipa, is a tourist favorite. The canyon of the River Colca was once thought to be the deepest in the world, until geologists proved the nearby (but more inaccessible) Cotahausi Canyon was an entire 160m deeper. A trip to Colca gives you three things in my view. First, the feeling that you are really breaking into the unknown as your bus rattles and jars over the untarmacked Pata Pampa Pass. This is a slight over-exaggeration maybe—at rest stops, a crowd of locals will magically appear with alpaca-wool jumpers, gloves, and scarves for sale within a couple of minutes, tour buses do ply the route, and the ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 10, 2007

Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon
Arequipa, Peru

Across The Pata Pampa Pass

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Story/Tip

Andean Village Photo, Colca Canyon, Peru
Quote:
One of the downsides of visiting the Colca Canyon is the trip there. As an isolated set of communities, there is only one road there. Which means that there is only one road back. Visiting Colca between Arequipa and Cusco, it is dismaying to have to backtrack over the same ground. However, one of the positives of a visit to Colca... is the trip there! Reaching Arequipa from the coast, the route we climbed was from the barren desert into more temperate zones. Leaving Arequipa, we drove out through the surrounding slums as we began our climb. El Misti, the conical volcano that watches over the city was picked out by rosy-fingered dawn. Climbing, we hit the altiplano—still semi-arid, but thr...Read More