Arequipa is an elegant colonial city. The Plaza de Las Armas was one of the most beautiful plazas I have seen in my travels. The city is surrounded by volcanoes, some with snowcapped peaks. The white buildings shine so bright under the sun. I visited the Saint Catalina Monastery: a very interesting glimpse to the lives of privileged nuns from the 17th century.
From here I visited the nearby Colca Canyon. Located at more than 3000 meters above sea level (at one point I was at more than 4500 meters above sea level) altitude sickness is something to watch out for. On the way the bus stopped at a local restaurant so we can get some coca tea (helps in coping with the altitude.) Not a big fan of it, so I’ve been sucking on coca candies instead. The landscape here was breathtaking. The Colca Valley reminded me of the rice terraces in the Philippines. I saw lots of condors, vicuñas, llamas, alpacas…. Also been eating alpaca meat with every meal, it’s everywhere and quite cheap.