5 unmissable landscapes in Arequipa

Arequipa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. It has dozens of tourist attractions that are really worth visiting. For example, the Colca canyon, the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, the volcanoes or the same ‘White City, a place full of historical monuments. Get to know the 5 best landscapes in Arequipa. Unmissable places!

Vicuña Arequipa
Arequipa – Peru



The Misti volcano

Volcan Misti
Volcan Misiti – Arequipa

Misti volcano is the most famous active crater in Arequipa, one of the most beautiful and representative of Peru. It is only 18 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. Beneath your feet is the beautiful Chili Valley. Its summit reaches 5,822 meters above sea level.

The name ‘Misti’ refers to a Quechua term that means ‘Great Lord’. It belongs to the same mountain range as the Chachani and Picchu Picchu volcanoes. Its last volcanic activity occurred in the 15th century, during the Inca period. Due to its importance, there the Incas made human sacrifices in the famous ritual of the ‘Capacocha’.

The volcanic material, called sillar, scattered by the Misti through various points of the current city of Arequipa was used for the construction of its main historical monuments such as: the Cathedral, the Santa Catalina convent, the church of the Society of Jesus.

From many parts of the city of Arequipa you can have excellent views of the city of Arequipa. However, perhaps the best viewpoint is Yanahuara. There, there are arches that show imposing, the Misti volcano and the city of Arequipa.


El Colca

Colca Arequipa Canyon
Colca Canyon – Arequipa

The Colca Canyon is the most visited tourist attraction in Arequipa. At the level of Peru, it is the second destination, only after Machu Picchu. It is one of the deepest canyons on the planet, reaching a depth of up to 4,160 meters above sea level.

The Colca is located about 150 kilometers from the city of Arequipa, approximately. It belongs to a fertile valley full of Andean towns and a very vast and beautiful mountainous geography. The most representative towns, and with the best hotel offer, are Chivay and Cabanaconde.

Just about 12 kilometers from Cabanaconde is the ‘Cruz del Condor’ viewpoint, the most famous in Colca. From there you have a privileged view of the canyon. In addition, you can see the flight of the condors, the most famous bird in the Andes Mountains.

However, there are more viewpoints to appreciate the Colca canyon. Some of them are: Achachiwa, San Miguel, Umawasi, Anterana and Ichircate. From all of them you get incredible views of the place. In addition, in this tourist attraction there are thermal baths, archaeological sites, hiking trails, adventure sports and more.


The Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve

Reserva Salinas Aguada Blanca
Salinas Aguada Blanca National Reserve – Arequipa

As its name indicates, this extensive natural area of ​​366,396 hectares is a reserve protected by the State of Peru. The Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve is located about 110 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. Its tourist attractions include mountains, volcanoes, grasslands, lagoons, waterfalls, archaeological sites and a great diversity of flora and fauna.

As part of its mountainous geography, the following stand out: the Salinas lagoon, the Aguada Blanca potato, the Mauka stone forest as well as the Chachani, Picchu Picchu snow-capped mountains and the famous Misti volcano.

In the reserve there are more than 158 species of birds such as huallatas, parihuanas, Andean goose, the Andean condor and more. The most representative mammals are: the Andean puma, the vizcacha, the Andean fox, the Andean cat and the famous vicuñas.

In this reserve you can practice hiking trails, rock climbing, cycling and more sports. It was created in 1979, in order to protect the natural wealth of this place. It currently offers one of the most beautiful Andean landscapes in Peru.


Choqolaqa stone forest

Choqolaqa Stone Forest
Choqolaqa stone forest – Arequipa

Choqolaqa is a stone forest, that is, a rock formation very striking that originated thousands of years ago as a result of volcanic activity and wind erosion. The shapes of this place resemble a ghost town turned into stone.

The Choqolaqa stone forest is located more than 140 kilometers in a straight line from the city of Arequipa. It belongs to the district of Tisco in the province of Caylloma. To get there you have to make a long journey of more than 5 hours. The site’s height exceeds 5,000 meters above sea level.

Choqolaqa is also called ‘Nauqqa Arequipa’, a Quechua word that means ‘Ancient Arequipa’. The reason? A local legend states that the place was a city that was turned to stone because its inhabitants disobeyed the gods. It is one of the most photographed places in Arequipa.

In Choqolaqa you can take some of the best scenic photographs of the trip to Arequipa. Every August 1 at the site the ‘Tisco – Choqolaqa Tourist Craft Festival’ takes place, a celebration where the residents show their best crafts.


The Cotahuasi canyon

Cotahuasi Canyon
Cotahuasi Canyon – Arequipa

Arequipa has two of the deepest canyons in the world. The first and most famous is the Colca. The second, a little known but incredible site is the Cotahuasi canyon. The depth of this natural tourist attraction reaches 3,535 meters.

The Cotahuasi Canyon is located 368 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. It belongs to the district of Cotahuasi in the province of La Unión. The valley that surrounds the canyon is full of Andean towns, hot springs, waterfalls, mountains, snow-capped mountains, and more. At the top are the Solimana and Coropuna peaks.

During the trip the tourist can enjoy the Sipia waterfalls, the Luicho thermal baths, the Huancarama cave paintings, the Huarmunta stone forest and more. The place was inhabited by the Wari culture (it existed in the VII to XIII century) first and the Incas (from the XIV to the XVI century) later. From its different viewpoints you get incredible views of the canyon.

 

By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, July 19, 2021


More guides that can help you

How to get to the Colca canyon?

The Colca Canyon is one of the best tourist attractions in Peru. It is located more than 150 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. To get there, you must take a public service transport to the town of Chivay or the town of Cabanaconde, both belonging to the province of Caylloma. Learn step by step how to go to this incredible place and observe the deepest canyon in the world.

How to get to the Colca canyon?

What to do for free in Arequipa?

Arequipa is one of the most touristic cities in Peru. The historic center of the city is home to some of the most visited tourist attractions. Many of them are free for all the public. To get to know them, you only need to walk and enjoy their history, architecture and enchanting landscapes. Learn about some of the free destinations of the ‘white city’, its location, history and more.

What to do for free in Arequipa?