Arequipa is the city that I liked the best in Peru. It’s in middle altitude and surrounded by three snow-capped impressive volcanoes. In fact, many buildings in Arequipa a are built of sillar, a white stone and hance the city nicknamed the white city (la ciudad blanca). This rock was quarried from the many volcanoes solidified lava/ash that surround the city. The city is very pretty and while it’s a big city, it has a small city feel to it. It’s also feels very safe and laid back. There is not many touristic activities as such to do in Arequipa apart from the Convento de Santa Catalina, but the city has got a certain charm that made me stay for over 1 week. Arequipa is also the starting point to go to Colca Canyon, one of the deepest Canyons in this part of the world and natural habitat of the Condors.
Arequipa food is very rich and spicy. The typical Arequipean dishes are Rocotto Relleno, a stuffed hot pepper with meat and amply covered with lots of cheese and Chupe de Camarones, a rich creamy soup made of Big River Shrimps.
I stayed at the Casona de Jerusalem. I paid only 20 soles for a single room with shared bathroom but the two available such rooms were taken. So, instead they gave me a big room with 3 beds, private bathroom and even cable TV. It was the best room I’ve stayed during my entire stay and they did not even move me out when the other room became available.
While in Arequipa, I also took some more spanish lessons and the hostel found me a private teacher for $6 an hour. But as she has a very little baby, I had to go to her home for my classes and it was nice to experience taking the local buses and seeing another part of town and seeing a typical peruvian household.