Mancora to Lima to Arequipa, Peru


Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Arequipa Panorama

Arequipa Panorama

Tomorrow I shake the sand from between my toes and leave Mancora for Arequipa. Spending more time here would turn me into a beach bum! It’s been relaxing spending contemplative days by the sea – swimming, walking on the beach, and enjoying the people. Mancora is a special memory but it’s time to explore a new place.

Santa Catalina Convent

Santa Catalina Convent

Totally new territory, Arequipa is far south in the Peruvian Andes near the Chilean and Bolivian borders. It’s about a 36 hour drive from Mancora. Peru has well-organized “luxury” buses with reclining seats and meals served on-board. Hoping it’s a better experience than Colombian and Ecuadorian buses where the rides took longer than expected, but certainly resulted in some interesting side adventures!

Cotahuasi Canyon

Cotahuasi Canyon

The first segment is Mancora to Lima – 19 hours – and then Lima to Arequipa – 17 hours. The temperature change from Mancora’s high 80s to Arequipa’s 60s is significant, not to mention the increase in altitude.

With a population of about a million, Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city. It’s nicknamed “La Ciudad Blanca” or “The White City” because of its buildings made from sillar, a white volcanic rock. Arequipa is surrounded by three volcanoes:

A volcano is considered “active” if it has erupted since the last ice age, i.e., in the past ~10,000 years. “Extinct” volcanoes are not expected to erupt again, but just the same there have been a number of extinct volcano eruptions in the world.

A strikingly beautiful colonial city, Arequipa has many attractions, including:

El Misti Volcano

El Misti Volcano

Visitors to Arequipa often climb to the top of El Misti Volcano. The climb involves a two or three-day trek that’s supposedly one of the easiest ascents of any mountain of this size in the world. I’m not much of a climber and am prone to altitude sickness, so after acclimatizing will review the options and consider whether an El Misti climb is for me. It definitely sounds like fun!

peruMapBlowUp

More later, as I experience Arequipa and its many treasures. The continued itinerary will include Lake Titicaca and the Uros Islands.

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