Arequipa is a small mountain town in Peru that has a temperature of 72-77, amazing gastronomy, and the kindest people in the world.
Nate and I lived here for one month between June and July. Despite our feelings while flying in – dry desert surrounding, and what looked to be shanty housing – Arequipa stole our hearts.
This “picture blog” will take you through our month in Arequipa, and hopefully you’ll get a feel for the humble, yet homey city.
Nearly every morning, I’d walk 15 minutes from our 3 bedroom, 2 bath full home airbnb (in a gated community) which we paid just of $700.00 for our month long stay, down the old cobble stone streets, and roll my ankle once or twice until I hit the “normal” sidewalk at the bottom of the main street.
Then I’d walk along the river front and pass the same house every day, which had these gorgeous overhanging flowers that made me think of my mom. And yes, this is what the sky looks like 95% of the time in Arequipa. Did I mention how much I loved the weather? 72-77 degrees at 7,000 feet altitude. So warm. Felt so good.
I made my way down the river front, gave a head nod to Gertrude and Penelope (yes, I named the alpacas), and paused at the bridge to drool over the view of the river and Mount Misti.
After the crossing the bridge, I was officially in old town or “the square.”
I’d walk up the main street to the tune of over-zealous honking, and smell of non-emissions approved vehicular stench, until I could turn down the monastery road. I cannot tell you how many times I took this photo of the outer walls of the monastery. I don’t know what it was about that darn building, I just liked it. And I take pictures (borderline compulsively) of things I like.
The monastery meant I was nearing my beloved Chaqchao – a chocolate factory/cafe where I’d work on the sundeck for four hours before meeting up with Nate for lunch at the Pasta Canteen. This is not without swooning over the Peruvian weaved blankets at the little shop below Chaqchao. I mean can you even with those colors?! Ugh, so gorgeous.
From lunch, we either went home until dinner, or just hung out at coffee shops with friends, chatting about life, where they came from, and where they planned to go next (literally, people were all over the place).
Yes, I said friends…I may have to admit that Arequipa will hold a place in my heart because we had relationships from day one, literally…
While at this adorable German coffee and waffle house (the KaufeeHaus), we intruded on a conversation that Bronte and Fe were having. They invited us to grab some food and drinks with the gang. And so, we did!
They were ALL staying in the same hostel and teaching english in South America. So, most of our extra time was spent watching the world cup with “English Mitch” or walking around town and grabbing a beer with “Australian Mitch.” Bronte and Fe were flying out within two nights of us arriving. That left us, and the Mitches.
Australian Mitch will make a second appearance in these travel chronicles as he met up with us in Rio for 10 days, after he volunteered for a month working with wild cats in the jungle of Bolivia. No big deal.
For some details and further photo story telling, Arequipa has amazing food, at cheap prices, the weather is amazing, the people are incredibly welcoming, and it’s a great place to adventure from if you want to see mountains and deserts.
In Arequipa, eat good food, see the monastery, and spend time just walking around the city. It’s a humble city, with simple beauty and a homey feeling.
If you can’t just hang out for a month, I would do a Peruvian “road trip.” There are TONS of routes if you just google “2 weeks in Peru.”
Hit Lima, Paracas, Nazca, Arequipa (do Colca Canyon from here), Huacachina if you can, and Cusco + Machu Picchu (I suggest actually staying a while in Aguas Calientes). If you have a longer time, I would hit up the Amazon or bump over into Bolivia, hit La Paz and the salt flats (something my soul is pained we did not do). Posts on Cusco, Machu Picchu, colca canyon and Huacachina will be available soon.
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