A highly exclusive lodge, step back and enter into a stunning Parador tucked away in the centre of Arequipa.
A trio of ice-capped volcanoes overlook the sillar sculpted city of Arequipa. ‘The White City’ guards the base of El Misti, where dazzling curves lend themselves to the virtues of a glorious natural setting.
Wander through pastel-coloured promenades and uncover the many time capsules this city has to offer.
Arequipa is apprehensive of onward adventure - the Andean land surrounding is filled with natural cinematic drama. Visitors are drawn to travel north, towards the thermal baths and amber-hued canyons where soaring condors patrol the skies of the Colca Valley.
Yet this city is autonomous. Just one tenth of the size of Lima, Arequipa has a quiet confidence of its own and is definitely worthy of some time.
When Pizarro ‘founded’ Arequipa in 1540, he was so moved by its beauty that he referred to it as Villa Hermosa, the Beautiful Town. Yet, it is said that the name ‘Arequipa’ originally derives from the Quechua ari qhipay, ‘yes, let’s stay’. This was the fourth Incan Emperors wish, a wish that remains prominent today.
Arequipa is a European vision that was skilfully created by Andean craftsmen. The characteristic volcanic stone walls, arches, and prominent church spires reflect at once the city’s Mestizo, colonial and indigenous heritage.
Weaved into the depths of the town centre remains Santa Catalina Convent, a monastery as vast as a fortress. Vibrant frescoes and cloisters painted in blue and red wind their way through Arequipa’s Centro Historico like a maze.
Buildings built by Spanish conquistadors now prevail to teach about the past of Incan sacrifice, and the exhibition of Juanita is held at the Museo Santuarios Andions, just meters from the palm-fringed Plaza.
Spend an evening sipping a pisco sour on an Arequipan rooftop as you watch the pastel surroundings slowly turn magenta, a gentle reminder of the city’s magic. Acclimatise to the fresh air of the mountains before setting off toward the peaks that frame the landscape.
Arequipa’s temperate climate is forgiving at any time of the year. We recommend visiting the Colca Canyon between March and June, a prime time to see the condors at their most active. March is always particularly beautiful, following the end of the rainy season, the valley is iridescent green. Days are generally sunny and breezy, and from June to August temperatures start to drop so come with layers for chilly evenings snuggled by a fire.
Before visiting the Colca Canyon, the shining city of Arequipa is undeniably worth a nights stay. For pure luxury, we can arrange a few nights at CIRQA. This is a stunning eleven room hotel set in a 1583 monastery that flaunts original sillar volcanic rock walls, and offers up a true city sanctuary with a spa, rooftop terraces and a kitchen that produces gourmet organic food.
Talk to the team
Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300