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Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city. It earned its name as the White City from its building material: sillar blocks are made from compacted and petrified volcanic ash. Almost every historic building, including the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, gleams white in the sun.

This is a desert, so it’s almost always hot and dry in Arequipa, especially between May and September. However, if the rain from October to April in Cusco is getting you down, take a few days in Arequipa to see the sun.

If you’re into volcanos, this is your place. Here are a few of the volcanos near Arequipa: Coropuna is Peru’s highest volcano at 6,425 m (21,079 ft), Solimana, Ampato, Hualca-Hualca, Sabancaya, Ubinas, Pichu-Pichu, Mismi, Chachani & Misti (the last two you can see from Hotel Katari).


You can read some of my Arequipa restaurant reviews on my website.


There are many overnight busses from both Lima and Cusco to Arequipa though it’s much easier to fly. There are several flights daily from Lima and Cusco to Arequipa’s Aeropuerto Internacional Rodríguez Ballón (AQP).

Arequipa Food & Drink

Buying Art in Arequipa

Stonework & more

Hotel Katari

For the view

Mansion del fundador

Monasterio Santa Catalina

Arequipa’s famous convent

Ruta del Sillar

Pumice quarry


Text © Heather Jasper

Image by Heather Jasper