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Routes and Tips: Arequipa land of Enchantment

Characteristics: The department of Arequipa contains more than one million inhabitants. Its geography is composed of a series of desert plateaus at different altitudes located at the foot of the Western Maritime Cordillera of the Southern Andes. There are two canyons, the Colca and the Cotahuasi, two of the deepest in the world. The city of Arequipa, with a population of 600,000 people, lies at 2,330 meters above sea level. The climate is mild and there is sun nearly year round.

How to get there: Arequipa is 1,020 kilometers to the south of Lima and can be easily reached by airplane in one hour and 10 minutes. A number of airlines fly there on a daily basis, including Aeroperú, Faucett, Aero Continente, American and National Airlines. Arequipa is also connected to Lima and Tacna by the Pan-American South highway, which is in excellent condition. The traveler can reach Puno on a highway in poor condition, or can get to Cuzco via Tintaya. Juliaca, Puno and Cuzco can also be reached by train.

Where to stay: Arequipa has about 50 hostels and hotels to suit any budget. Among the best known are the Libertador, Portal, Holiday Inn, Posada del Puente, El Conquistador, La Reserva, El Taj Mahal, Quepay, La Plazuela, La Maison de Elise, La Gruta, La Hostería, Bolivár, Casagrande and El Sauce.

Where to eat: Arequipa´s cuisine is diverse and delicious. For tourists who want to try food that is typical of the region, they can go to restaurants like Sol de Mayo, La Catarilla or Tradición Arequipeña, or go visit "picanterias" or "chicherías" in the outskirts of the city. Besides these, there are also many restaurants that serve international food, Chinese food and the old standard, roasted chicken with french fries. For entertainment, there are shows that feature Creole music, as well as discos, casinos and pubs.

What to buy: Ibérica brand chocolates, Manjar anise, cheeses, alpaca cloth and sweaters, watercolors and oil paintings, antiques, forged steel, sillar stone, and jewelery.

In Colca: Chivay has small, simple hostels and a few restaurants. There is a magnificent spring with thermal waters three kilometers outside of town. Other towns also have hostels; some have been recently built in Yanque, 12 kilometers from Chivay.

Volume II/Issue 9, Page 32
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