Arequipa’s colonial charm, ceviche and Pisco Sour

After ten months in a landlocked country arrival in Peru meant one thing: fresh, ocean-going fish. That our first dish of ceviche, washed down with a Pisco Sour, came after a 20 hour journey from La Paz involving three different buses, including a nighttime journey over a mountain pass through a blizzard, and was eaten in the colonial surroundings of Arequipa, only made it more delicious.

Ceviche, Arequipa, Peru
Out of focus ceviche, Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa is a beautiful city, full of colonial-era buildings, ornate churches and one of the finest plazas in Latin America. It is also dramatically situated with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, including the active volcano, El Misti – thanks to the low cloud of the rainy season we didn’t get a view of the mountains and had to use our imaginations instead.

Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru

Without the vast tourist hordes of Cusco, Arequipa has a more relaxed feel that could easily seduce you for several days of culinary over-indugence in-between visits to museums and churches. Arequipa is a base to explore the Colca Canyon and to climb the nearby mountains, sadly we only had three days to linger here en route to Lima and our flight to the Caribbean.

It is a great city to stroll around admiring the architecture and sampling Peruvian culinary delicacies. In fact, the only real problem with Arequipa is the traffic. The number of cars (and the number of cars being driven by lunatics) takes some of the sheen off this lovely city. When crossing the road requires life insurance there really is a problem.

Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Cars, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Arequipa Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain, Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru

I’ve always found it strange when you come across an ancient building put to modern usage, where the exterior of the building is in complete disagreement with the interior. In Arequipa there are just so many ancient building that not all of them can be museums. Instead, they are banks, airline offices, government departments…and the ubiquitous ’boutique’ hotel.

Ornate doorway, Arequipa, Peru
Ornate doorway to a bank, Arequipa, Peru
Door knocker, Arequipa, Peru
Door knocker, Arequipa, Peru
Ornate window, Arequipa, Peru
Ornate window, Arequipa, Peru
Courtyard, Arequipa, Peru
Courtyard, Arequipa, Peru
Alleyway behind the cathedral, Arequipa, Peru
Alleyway behind the cathedral, Arequipa, Peru
Colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain in colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Fountain in colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Arch in colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Arch in colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru
Colonial-era quadrangle, Arequipa, Peru

4 thoughts on “Arequipa’s colonial charm, ceviche and Pisco Sour

  1. I really enjoyed these photos, the night shots are very effective, they really set the mood as well as highlight the architectural details.

    1. Its a city with a rich architectural heritage and it is a photographers dream!

  2. I hope you reconsider and spend more time here! 🙂 I want to see more please 🙂

    1. I could stay a long, long time! We won’t be leaving the continent just yet, we have a few more days in Peru before heading to Colombia and then into Central America. Best, Paul

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