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!
Arequipa is located in the western region of the Andes Mountains in southern Peru. It has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Peru. Perhaps the most famous is the Colca canyon, one of the deepest on the planet. To get good photos on your trip, do not forget to bring suitable shoes for the walk (you walk a lot), a poncho in case of rain and a camera, the best you have.
The Misti volcano
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.
- Where is it? 16 kilometers from the city of Arequipa.
- Price: Free / 2-day tours cost approximately $ 80.
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.
- Where is it? More than 150 kilometers from the city of Arequipa.
- Price: The Colca Tourist Ticket costs 70 Peruvian soles, about 22 dollars approximately. / 1-day tours cost approximately $ 50.
The Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve
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.
- Where is it? 110 kilometers from the city of Arequipa.
- Price: Tourist Ticket that costs 70 Peruvian soles (approximately 22 dollars) / 1-day tours cost 60 dollars on average.
Choqolaqa stone forest
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.
- Where is it? More than 140 kilometers from the city of Arequipa.
- Price: 1-day tours cost approximately $ 60.
The Cotahuasi canyon
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.
- Where is it? About 368 kilometers by road from the city of Arequipa.
- Price: Free entry. / Tours of 3 days and 2 nights cost approximately $ 140.
By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, June 10, 2021