The department of Arequipa is one of various terrains. It begins in the coastal desert and then climbs the Andes, reaching great altitude at the snow covered peaks and at its volcanoes.
Arequipa, known as the White City for its beautiful white walls of sillar, a volcanic stone, lies at the feet of the mighty volcanos of Mount Chachani, Mount Misti, and the snow covered peak of Mount Pichu Pichu. The downtown of the city, placed on the World Cultural Heritage list by UNESCO, features Mixed Baroque churches and mansions from the Colonial Period like the Monastery of Santa Catalina, a Spanish city in miniature with stone streets, beautiful patios, and plazas. Sabandía, Tiabaya, and Tingo, located among the large fields, are must see places, and the irresistible Arequipa cuisine is the perfect complement to the visit.
Just 3 hours and 45 minutes from the capital is the Colca River valley and canyon, one of the most extraordinary destinations in the country. Throughout the region, you can see colorful pre-Incan agricultural terraces still used today for growing quinoa, corn, barley, and wheat. During the pre-Hispanic era, the department was inhabited by the Collaguas and the Cabanas; today, the inhabitants have learned to conserve their Colonial churches in Yanque, Lari, and Madrigal, and they continue to wear their traditional clothing.