We have spent the last three weeks in the beautiful city of Arequipa, Peru. When we decided to settle here, we had no idea that we would get to experience the spectacle of the city’s 475th Anniversary, which is marked by a full month of parades, music, dancing, and general merry making. Below are our favorite photos of the city and the celebrations.
Historic Beauty – Central Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with gorgeous architecture. We thoroughly enjoyed wandering the streets, stumbling upon tiny courtyards or secluded alleyways.
Passacalle – Each year for its anniversary, the city hosts a regional event called the Passacalle. The city’s districts and surrounding towns show off their local flair with dances, floats and performances that represent their local culture.
The Tunas are Coming! – Before coming to Arequipa, we thought tuna was just another fish in the sea. Turns out, they are also musical groups who play traditional instruments and sing seranades. The tradition started in Spain in the 13th century and continues today throughout Latin America.
Corso de la Amistad – The mother of all parades!
Santa Catalina Monastery – Started in 1579 and expanded in the 17th century, the monastery is a city within the city, occupying several square blocks. At its height it housed 150 nuns in a cloistered community. Today, about 20 nuns live here separated from society in one corner of the site, while the rest is open to the public. We spent almost 3 hours roaming its streets and cells as the sun set over the city.
Rafting the Rio Chili – Ice cold and highly technical, the Rio Chili upstream of the city center is an awesome run of Class III and IV rapids.
Gorgeous Views – At 2600 meters high and surrounded by even taller peaks, stunning views seem to pop out around every corner in Arequipa.
Roof Dogs – There are no yards to speak of in central Arequipa, so dogs hang out of the roof ready to scare the crap out of you when you least expect it.
Alpaca Textiles – Sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats … you can find it made from Alpaca, baby Alpaca, and Vicuña, in Arequipa. The incredibly wonderful and generous owner of our Air BnB house, Jose Miguel Paz, owns an alpaca yarn company, Misti Alpaca, and offered us a tour of their facility where they specialize in hand dying (using organic and natural dyes), painting and knitting luscious yarns and clothing.
Delicious Food – Arequipa is known for its regional cuisine and luckily for us, they have many vegetarian restaurants where we enjoyed meat-free twists on the traditional dishes.
Alex and I don’t typically spend much time in cities while travelling, but we are so happy to have spent time in Arequipa. We have made great friends (Ana and Aaron, Jose Miguel and Mari), enjoyed amazing food, experienced incredible beauty and relished the creature comforts that the city has to offer. If you go to Peru, make sure Arequipa is on your itinerary! (And we definitely recommend the amazing Air BnB house where we stayed: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4715013 – If you make it here, tell Mari and Jose Miguel we say hello.)
How have I never heard of this city? It sounds great! Thanks for sharing.
As usual you blow me away with your photos and narrative. Thanks so much for doing this blog. Looking forward to hearing about your Amazon adventure. Talk to you on the 31st.
Love you both, Dad Madden
Alex and Erin,
Thank you for the photos of that lovely colonial Peruvian city and well written narrative. I enjoy reading and sharing your adventures. This was a great entry. And I, especially, am envious of your views of mountains and the cool temps. We are in the midst of the hot, hurricane time of year.. Yuck!
John is talking to Cammy (your cousin in NC) right now. She and Nick, their son, came down a few weeks ago; we had a great time snorkeling and eating seafood. Enjoy your time together and adventures. Pam /John Brown
Love these pics! Those costumes!! It was great to chat with you yesterday. Love and miss you both so much but so excited to be following you on your journey! XOXO
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