The white city of Arequipa
When researching and planning a trip to Peru, you may come across the city of Arequipa, often called the “White City,” named for the sillar. This white volcanic rock is used to build much of the town. Many consider Arequipa a jumping-off point to visit Colca Canyon.
Arequipa boasts 300 days of sunshine, low humidity, and temperatures that reach highs of 25 °C (77 °F) and lows of 5 °C (41 °F). Therefore, you will have incredible weather to explore this vibrant city, visit its fascinating churches and monasteries, and try some tasty treats.
The historic center of Arequipa, this incredible cathedral was constructed between the years of 1540 and 1656, with its ornate façade in the Baroque style. Inside, you will find a lovely museum where you can see a large number of historic religious objects, many of which are made with the white sillar volcanic rock. With its vast collection of historical pieces, this cathedral is definitely worth a visit
At 16,000ft, the road from Arequipa to Colca Canyon, across the Peruvian Andes, is higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. The air is thin, the landscape barren and unforgiving. But a lack of oxygen is a small price to pay for one of the rarest wildlife encounters in the world. The Andean condors are the largest flying bird on the planet. Their wingspan can reach an astonishing 10ft wide, the height of a full-size basketball net. But they're heavy too, weighing up to 33lbs, so those giant wings need some help. Rather than take off from the ground, they prefer to glide, launching from rocky perches high on mountain crags. Which is where Colca Canyon comes in. At 14,000ft from the base to its highest point, this is the second deepest gorge in the world — almost twice the height of the Grand Canyon. It is the perfect place for a condor to fly and the best place to see them see them up close in the wild.
In the north, not far from where we are, is the Mismi peak, part of the Chila Mountains, where a thin trickle of crystal water falls down the rock face and turns, eventually, into the mighty Amazon River. Nearly 4,000 miles later it will discharge into the Atlantic at a rate of 28 billion gallons per minute, the largest river by volume in the world.