AREQUIPA – The Earth Fire
Arequipa, for Peruvians, is synonymous with amazing things: prodigious architecture, unrivaled cuisine, green valleys that merge with its volcanoes and beyond its rugged mountains, one of the biggest attractions of our country: the stunning valley Colca.
Glide by the solemnity of the streets of the historic center of Arequipa, is to find a piece of living history inviting discovery. We recommend you start your tour in the beautiful square, surrounded by arches of ashlar – solid volcanic rock with which this city was built in 1540. Dominating the square you will find the cathedral, one of the largest in Perú, and beside the temple of the Company. In the blocks surrounding this colonial outpost, find more dead surprise, as the Houses of Moral and Irriberry, the churches of San Agustín and Santo Domingo and some lovely squares topped with delicate bronze fountains. And nearby you can visit the old colonial neighborhoods Cayma and Yanahuara.
But the city is more than its temples and mansions, a stone’s throw from the center you’ll find a green countryside where it will contact extensive fields, pre-Hispanic platforms, termomedicinales waters and various cultural relics, such as the mill Sabandía and mansion founder in Huasacache.
COLCA CANYON – The call of the fire
Only three hours of paved road separating it from the Colca valley, marked by one of the deepest canyons in the world, provides extreme geography and a string of beautiful ancient Andean villages inhabited by ethnic groups which retain their traditions and ways of life. Also called the ‘Valley of Wonders’, the Colca is also a paradise for bird lovers and presents a unique opportunity to observe closely the great Andean condor planning between high canyon walls.
In sum, the Colca Valley offers such a balanced and bit-times-found combination of nature, history and living cultures, part of one of the most breathtaking places in the high Andes.