One of Peru’s most attractive cities, Arequipa is a good place to acclimatise to the altitude of the country’s high mountain peaks, located at just under 2,400 metres above sea level.
Catch your breath among the whitewashed colonial buildings that give the city its nickname – La Ciudad Blanca, or ‘the White City’ – and take in the stunning views of the trio of surrounding mountains, El Misti, Pichu Picchu and Chachani, before travelling higher into the Colca Canyon.
Multi-centre Peru itineraries often include Arequipa thanks to its striking architecture, as well as its proximity to the mountains. Arequipa’s historic centre is home to a large central square, Plaza de Armas, dominated by palm trees and ornate fountains. Café culture is a big part of life in Arequipa, and its streets are lined with market sellers and coffee shops packed with tourists and locals alike.