May 28, 2017
View of arequipa with distant volcano you can mountaineer
Arequepa (also known as ‘white city’) is a desert city that sits underneath a volcano and on the southern border of Peru with Bolivia. It is about 18 hours from Lima from bus or (2-4x the price) an hour plane ride. The city has some cool architecture but it is far from a city dominated by white buildings. In general I found the city much more touristy and expensive after coming from the adventure basecamp feel of Hauraz.
Kayak that Class 4
I signed up for a kayak trip last minute and was taken out on a river with two Class 4 and multiple Class 3 rapids. I told them I was very comfortable in a kayak but quickly realized how out of my element I was running these types of rivers compared to the other lake and river kayaking in the midwest. It was really fun and really pushed my boundaries. I finished the 1.5 hr run going over a 13 ft drop which was AWESOME. Definately do this.
Architecture in Arequepa
Monastery of arequipa
The church near the downtown is really beautiful and definitely worth a look, but unfortunately that is also where all the touristy ‘authentic peruvian’ places are. If you want authentic food a local I met in Colca Canyon recommended El Tipika for Arequipa food, Sillustani for lamb / quinoa and La Castia for Ceviche. Arequipa is primarily known for its monastery which is quite large with high, colorfully painted walls and lots of artifacts. As a museum most stuff is in multiple languages so I could walk around it for over an hour and a half unguided. Worth the stop.
Trek into one of the deepest Canyons in the World
There is a lot of hype around Colca Canyon, however it was a let down given the comparison of twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. There are no drop off solid rock walls like Canyonlands in the US, but steep dirty descents into the canyon to a river. The hiking is sort of boring after the high Andes of Huaraz. There is no need for a guide or a tour, just book the bus yourself and download this crude map. Busses leave super early and I recommend going to Llahuar Lodge instead of the main tourist trap route.
Hot springs of llaca
My overnight, alone in the natural hot springs at Llauhar under the brilliant stars with no wind, mosquitos or sound other than the flowing river was a magical experience and made the long 5 hr bus out there worthwhile. Going further to the gushing waterfall looked really cool as well. Just note its really really dry, make sure to stay hydrated! The time provided on these maps you can probably decrease by 30-50% if you are a determined or strong hiker.