It is located in the southwest of Peru, facing the Pacific Ocean with 528 kilometers of coastline. Due to this location, it is the commercial center of the southern part of the country, which includes the departments of Apurímac, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Puno and Tacna and is part of the southern Peruvian tourist corridor, which means it is interconnected with 40% of the country. The capital city is located on a slope in the Cordillera de los Andes and at the foot of the Misti volcano.
Arequipa is also an important industrial center and is considered as the second industrial city of the country. Within its industrial activity, the manufacturing products and the textile production of camelid wool with export quality stand out. The city maintains close commercial links with Chile, Bolivia and Brazil and with the cities connected by means of the Southern Railway, as well as with the port of Matarani.
The climate of the city is predominantly dry in winter, autumn and spring due to atmospheric humidity; likewise it is semi-arid because of the low rainfall and tempered by its particular location between mountains and coast, which gives it a special thermal condition, since it is lacking in the rigors of winter and the overwhelming estios of the coast, a situation that ensures the presence of a vital sun and a diaphanous sky with 300 days of sunshine per year.
Throughout the year it presents temperatures that do not rise of 25 ° C. The wet season extends from December to March and is characterized by the presence of clouds in the afternoons and scarce rainfall. In winter (June, July), the climate becomes colder and the temperature drops to an average of 6 ° C.
Historically, Arequipa dates back to the arrival of Inca Huayna Capac on the banks of the Chili River, where no city was founded, on the contrary, He generated the introduction of populations of foreign origin in less inhabited areas, in order to have an strategically control of possible local uprisings. That was what happened in Arequipa, where Huayna Cápac repeated what he had done before in Chuquisaca (Charcas, Alto Perú, now Bolivia), where he did not create a town, but instead replaced natives with foreigners. Garcilaso de la Vega describes that around the year 1170 Huayna Cápac stopped with his army in the unpopulated valley of the Chili River, which he called Ari-qquepay, a quechua expression meaning “let’s stay here”. This Inca distributed land among three thousand families, who founded the hamlets or towns of Yanahuara, Cayma, Tiabaya, Paucarpata, Socabaya, Characato, Chiguata and others, towns that have the same name today.
Arequipa was founded on August 15, 1540 by Garcí Manuel de Carbajal in the Chili River Valley as the “Villa de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora del Valle Hermoso de Arequipa”, in an area occupied by some indigenous villages. Over time, thanks to its beautiful architectural structure and the use of sillar (white volcanic stone) in its most important buildings, was called “White City”
Finally, in the first years of the 21st century, the Historic Center of Arequipa was declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity,
The Virgin of Chapi is considered the Patroness of the city of Arequipa or “White City”. Every year, thousands of faithful fill their sanctuary between April 29 and May 2, located in the district of Polobaya, 69 km south of Arequipa, and 2,420 meters above sea level, where the image of Our Lady of the Purification or Candelaria, better known as Virgen de Chapi, whose cult in this place dates back to the eighteenth century. The image was brought from Spain possibly by Franciscan or Jesuit missionaries.
An ancient tradition indicates that the image was found on a hill near the Chapi valley. In that place a hermitage was built, where after the earthquake of 1868 this small construction was destroyed, but under the rubble lay the image of the virgin without any damage; what was considered a miracle. In the 19th century a church was built in sillar (volcanic stone) in honor of the venerated image.
Main tourist attractions
Colca is one of the largest tourist destinations in southern of Peru; located at the northeast end of Arequipa in the Province of Caylloma. Colca comes from the words Collaguas and Cabanas, two ethnic groups that lived along the Colca River. This canyon has a depth of 4,160 meters and an extension of 100 km in length.
The province of Caylloma, designated generically as “Colca”, has as its main scenary the Colca Canyon and its surroundings have settled populations that are identified by their tradition and ancestral culture.
The canyon occupies only one sector of the Colca river basin. The route to the Colca runs along the slopes of the Chachani volcano and crosses plains full of ichu (Andean straw) and yareta (Umbellifera herbaceous plant), typical samples of the Andean plateau vegetation. In these places also live alpacas, vizcachas and other typical animals of the high grassland.
Considered one of the deepest canyons in the world. The Colca area is very suitable for the practice of adventure tourism (canoeing, kayaking, trekking), ecotourism (birdwatching) and photographic tourism.
Monastery of Santa Catalina
The monastery of Santa Catalina was conceived as a citadel, founded on September 10, 1579 and located in an area that stands out for its natural beauty. In the monastery there are two types of material, the white ashlar that comes from the Chachani Volcano and the pink one from the Misti, this last volcano is the biggest emblem of the city. The citadel occupies a land of 20,000 square meters and is absolutely isolated from the city although it is located in the heart of it. A large and solid wall 4 meters high isolated the life of the cloistered nuns who lived in the monastery.
Viceroy Francisco Toledo grants the necessary license for the foundation of the desired monastery that requested citizenship. Doña María de Guzmán, widow of Diego Hernández de Mendoza, decides to seclude herself in the monastery in process of construction, giving all her possessions. On September 10, 1579 the memory of the foundation of the monastery signed by the Cabildo, regiment of the city and the bishopric of Cusco, naming María de Guzmán as the first prioress of the Monastery.
Located in the Province of La Unión, is the deepest canyon in the world, with a depth of 3,535 meters, but considering that a canyon is measured from the base of the river to the summit where it reaches the beginning of the decline; the Cotahuasi canyon has 6,093 meters total.
The Cotahuasi sub-basin landscape reserve is a Protected Natural Area, which combines the attractiveness of nature that allows you to appreciate beautiful landscapes and the biodiversity of native plants. This biodiversity is developed in 12 ecosystems of the Reserve from the riparian forest to the cold desert around the snow-capped summits of the Solimana peak and the Huanzos mountain range. It is in these very high areas where the vegetation disappears and there are deserts of red sand and rock formations which the inhabitants call stone forests.
Besides being nature and adventure, the place is also culture and tradition. Its cultural heritage consists of ancient Andean villages that still preserve their ancestral traditions, communities of carpet weavers, colonial churches, Inca roads, pre-Columbian terraces and buildings of Inca and Wari origin of great splendor. The cultural identity of rural communities in particular is a unique attraction for visitors. You can enjoy a varied sample of Andean folklore and crafts, as well as delicious wines produced by hand, making this an area with multiple nuances for the enjoyment and experimentation of photographic trips.
Photo gallery Arequipa