We’re in Arequipa and it’s excellent. We honestly rate it among the most beautiful cities we have visited. It deserves much more of an international profile.
It’s Peru’s second largest city, but it’s only got 750,000 people (which compared to Lima kind doesn’t really hold up Zipf’s law). It actually feels considerably smaller than that. There’s not a skyscraper in sight.
There’s sunshine for three hundred days of the year. And it has been glorious every day we’ve been here. It’s another one of these tropical but high altitude climates with pleasantly warm but not stiflingly hot weather everyday. It feels Mediterranean, and the Spanish colonial architecture with a Moorish tinge backs that up.
The city sits on an alpine plane framed by beautiful snow capped mountains. They can be a little hazy, and so they seem like a massive, majestic illusion. The mountains are volcanic, so the view is a little like when you climb the hill from Waiouru and suddenly Ruapehu comes into view.
There are plenty of historic churches to visit and a neatly preserved cloistered monastery. And the central square, bordered by uniform arches and a mighty cathedral is excellent viewing day or night. But mostly the charm of the city is walking around quiet cobbled streets enjoying the sunshine and the views. We highly recommend it.