The City

Arequipa, founded in 1540, is Peru's second largest urban area, with a population of over 1.1 million. The city is located 1,000 kilometers southeast of Peru's capital, Lima, at 2,235 meters above sea level, and is next to three volcanoes: the still-active Misti and the extinct Chachani and Pichu Pichu. The weather is sunny year-round, warm during the day and cool at night. The average temperature from January to May is approximately 15 degrees Celsius, with a high around 20 degrees Celsius.

Arequipa is an important center of Peruvian arts and culture. Its downtown area, with buildings made of white volcanic rock (sillar) blending native and Spanish styles, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Arequipa's Main Square (Plaza de Armas) is among Peru's most beautiful, with an impressive cathedral and colonial arcaded buildings full of restaurants and cafés.

A notable attraction near the square is the 400-year old Santa Catalina Monastery, which is like a city within the city. Not too far from the bustling downtown area, there are quiet neighborhoods where you can take a pleasant stroll. One of these is Yanahuara, with a charming square and excellent view of the city, the mountains, and the surrounding countryside. Another is San Lazaro, with pedestrian streets and winding alleys. San Lazaro is the location of San Pablo Catholic University (UCSP). The UCSP campus lies along the Chili River and has a clear view of the Misti volcano. All over the city there are excellent restaurants, where you can sample Arequipa's cuisine, which occupies a special place in Peru's world-renowned gastronomy. 

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Arequipa Cuisine

The culinary traditions of Arequipa, the White City, can be best enjoyed in the so-called picanterías (traditional restaurants with firewood cookers). A good meal starts with hot red peppers stuffed with minced meat, spices, cheese, eggs and milk (rocoto relleno); then the so-called “soltero” made of broad beans, corn, olives and chopped hot red peppers; and ocopa or sliced potatoes with peanut, onion and cracker cream and, finally, chicharrones or “deep-fried” pork.Favorite soups are the white broth of lamb loins, potatoes, corn, chickpeas, freeze dried potatoes –chuño– and spices, and “puchero,” a stew of boiled beef, pork and chicken with vegetables and spices. Main dishes are “adobo”, a pork loin stew made with hot peppers, onions and corn beer called chicha, served with bread; also “picantes,” spicy dishes made of pork or beef, lamb or duck; “locro” a stew of beef, pork, beans and vegetables; “chupe,” a shrimp chowder where shrimps are fried in hot red pepper and cooked with broad beans, milk, rice, corn and potatoes; and “Malaya”, parboiled and fried flank steak.

Favorite desserts are fritters made of flour, eggs and milk and bathed in molasses syrup; “queso helado” cinnamon, coconut and spices ice cream, plus chocolates and toffees.

You can taste "Pisco", a high-quality colorless grape brandy original from Peru, either alone or mixed in a "Pisco Sour", Peruvian national cocktail, prepared with egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters. Also good local beers, regional sodas and corn beer called chicha de jora are popular. Digestives are “té piteado” (tea and anise liqueur) or Nájar anise liqueur.

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General information

  • Elevation: 2,335 m (7,661 ft)
  • Latitude: 16° 23' S
  • Longitude: 71° 32' W
  • Time Zone: UTC–05:00
  • Population: 1,152,303
  • Oficial language: Spanish
  • International dialing code: +51 54


The Surrounding Area

In addition to the appeal of Arequipa itself, there are other attractions within easy reach. The countryside around the city, known as the Campiña Arequipeña, is worth exploring. Farther away is the spectacular Colca canyon, one of the world's deepest and home to the Andean condor. Getting there from Arequipa takes a few hours by car, and at least an overnight stay is recommended.

The Southern region of Peru, where Arequipa is located, has many points of interest, including the Nazca lines, the Paracas Natural Reserve, the Altiplano, and Lake Titicaca. The Cusco region deserves special mention. Its capital Cusco is about half an hour by plane from Arequipa. That city was the capital of the Inca Empire, and was a major administrative center after the  Spanish conquest. It contains numerous buildings attesting to its rich history. There are several major archeological sites near Cusco, including Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Moray, Choquequirao, and, most famously, Machu Picchu.

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Distances to other major cities

        • 1.003 km to Lima
        • 513 km to Cusco
        • 326 km to Puno


Currency and forms of payment

The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). The US Dollar is accepted in some local businesses, restaurants, and gas stations at the day's exchange rate. It is also possible to exchange foreign currency (USD and Euros) at hotels, banks, and authorized exchange houses.

Working hours for most banks and exchange houses are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The country's main cities have ATMs that accept different kinds of debit and credit cards. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, VISA, Diners Club, and MasterCard. Not all establishments accept traveler's checks, so we recommend asking first before attempting to use them to make purchases.

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Saturday the 20th. XXVI SIBGRAPI CONFERENCE ON GRAPHICS PATTERNS AND IMAGES | Campus Campiña Paisajista s/n Quinta Vivanco, Arequipa | Telf: +51 54 605630, +51 54 605600