Yesterday’s outing through Arequipa and surrounding areas was satisfying and fun, but as the day progressed it was misty and not a good day for photos. Mostly Peruvian, the group included a few tourists from NYC and California. Some commented about the difficulty of visiting nearby Cusco these days. Many bypass it and visit Arequipa instead. Luckily I traveled to Cusco and Machu Picchu years ago before tourist restrictions were implemented.
We did some walking and stopped many times during the tour. A few of the most interesting sights are described below.
The Mirador and Plaza of Yanahuara near my hotel was built in the nineteenth century and has a series of gorgeous sillar arches. I never tire of walking by the stone pillars. On Valentine’s Day there was a celebration in the adjacent park with music.
Iglesia de San Miguel Arcángel is an interesting old church in the suburb of Cayma. It dates back to 1730.
Fabrica Incalpaca produces exquisite luxury alpaca products. They have four different types of live domesticated alpacas grazing outside the textile shop. Depending on the animal, the wool fiber differs in quality. Beautiful high-quality waterproof alpaca is very expensive. There are four types of alpaca fur – huacaya, suri, chaccu, and vicuna.
Mirador De Carmen Alto is a scenic observation point outside Arequipa. Sadly the hazy day was not good for capturing photos. They had a small shop where you could buy coca and Maca products. Maca is a native plant and also known as “Peruvian ginseng”. It’s a natural protein rich in vitamins and minerals. Products made from coca leaves help prevent altitude sickness.
Balneario de Tingo is a small spa town with thermal water treatments and recreation, including swimming pools and an artificial lake. It’s a weekend retreat for locals.
La Mansion Del Fundador has a history dating back to Spain’s occupation of Peru. Spain granted the founder of Arequipa, Don Manuel Garcí de Carbajal, land where he built the mansion. Later, a wealthy, influential Spaniard converted the building into a country estate for ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries. In the 1980s, a group of local architectural enthusiasts purchased and restored the mansion.
Molino de Sabandia is a wheat mill built in the 18th century with typical sillar stone architecture. The mill is now a recreational area for horseback riding and swimming in the river. On a clear day there are striking views of the three surrounding mountains – El Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu.
Andantes de Paucarpata is where you can view terraced farming while enjoying a gorgeous Andean Mountain backdrop.
After the long day, it was dark as I walked back to the hotel, and the city was covered in a foggy mist illuminated by colonial street lights – beautiful! Arequipa is a favorite city.