Visiting the “Mansion of the Founder” of Arequipa, will only take up a morning or an afternoon, but showcases some beautiful architecture, and a compact museum on the outskirts of the city. It’s dedicated to 16th century conquistador Don Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, who founded the city of Arequipa.
La Mansion Del Fundador, 561, Arequipa, Peru, +51 54 213 423
On the outskirts of the city, in the District of Sabandia, sits a gorgeous old mill that exemplifies the beautiful architecture common in this part of the world. The quaint surroundings are a great escape from the city, and are home to a fighting bull, vicuñas, llamas, alpacas, guinea pigs, roosters, and local birds.
If you have done any research about Arequipa, you will already be versed in some information about the Colca Canyon, as it is the third most visited destination in Peru and almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Many trekkers will take days to explore as much of Colca Canyon as possible, but full day trips are available to get a taste of this breathtaking region. If you really want to explore on your own, you can bus or drive out to the neighbouring town of San Pedro and walk into the canyon yourself.
The “Dead Bull” petroglyphs contain thousands of volcanic rocks from when the Coropuna and Chachani volcanoes erupted roughly 50 million years ago. Experts believe that these thousands of rocks were carved and arranged over 1,000 years ago by the Huari (Wari) tribes into shapes resembling people, various animals, and the sun.
One of the first things you will notice in Arequipa is El Misti, the volcano that peers over the city. There are two- to three-day trips for the advanced that take you from the very bottom to the summit, or for those who aren’t looking to stay overnight you can do the full day sunrise trek that starts at midnight, or the half day trip that is more of a leisurely walk, allowing you to go slow and acclimatize gradually.
An enjoyable two-and-a-half hour drive outside of Arequipa will have you in the Salinas Aguada National Reserve, where you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Arequipa province, and with some luck you will get a sighting of a flock of pink flamingos, some slow moving llamas and alpacas as well.
Do something on the road less travelled and visit the Catarata de Capua. Depending on your pace, an enjoyable, yet challenging four- to six-hour hike will carry you through gorgeous scenery with very few, if any other hikers, and climaxes at the 100-meter-high Capua Waterfall. Cool off under the waterfall, and heat back up in the hot springs on the return trip.
Although not located in the state of Arequipa, you can make the couple hour jaunt by car or bus to visit the Peruvian coast in the neighbouring province of Islay. The town of Mollendo is a weekend getaway for many Arequipeños who want to enjoy some sun and sand. Don’t expect the Caribbean, but if you want to find some peace and quiet—and go home with a tan—visit here midweek when there are no crowds.