Browsing: Arequipa


Arequipa 0

Written by Audre & Dimitri

00Cumbe Mayo
Cumbe Mayo

Before deciding to drive into Perú from Chile we had asked lots and lots of people about the conditions of the roads and personal safety. The American Association of Chile members were very helpful. Generally we got the impression that the roads were pretty good and we (as well as all our personal stuff) would be safe, if we were careful. So we crossed the northern border of Chile into Perú at Arica.

Crossing the border at 11 a.m. with all of the buses full of people was extremely unpleasant. It took us 1.5 hour to clear the Chilean border controls and another hour for the Peruvian ones. It was hot; I sat in the car (to guard our stuff) and Dimitri stood in line. When the time came for the authorities to look at our passports, Dimitri had to speed over to get me from the car for the required one minute at the window. We had been spoiled when we crossed the Chilean/Argentinean border in the late afternoon. It had taken us 15 minutes. Live and learn: no border crossings around mid-day. We have a photo of Dimitri standing in an endless line at the Chilean border control.•

002007 Travelogue in Perú
The actual, real-live bikepath along the palisades park in Miraflores, a suburb of Lima.

With all of the time spent at the border, we didn’t arrive in Arequipa until about 5 p.m. (really 7 p.m. our body time because of the time difference). The ride was uneventful and mostly through mud-colored desert. When the Panamericana (the main north-south highway) was near the ocean, or going over sand hills or in the multi-colored desert area, it was pretty enough. The splotches of green created by natural oases were a welcome relief. Fortunately, the Panamericana didn’t have the potholes in it that we had experienced in Chile and there wasn’t much traffic.

We didn’t have a good map of Arequipa and the one we had in Lonely Planet turned out to be out of date. Audre, the navigator, couldn’t find us on the map and we couldn’t find the Libertador where Dimitri thought would be the best place to stay. Finally, we hired a taxi to guide us there. The cost from one end of town to another was S/.3 (or about 94¢US).

Arequipa 0

Courtesy of


Text by Walter M. Wust, photos by James Poso and Walter M. Wust, Arequipa, Peru
Dawn breaks over Puica. The sun has yet to light up the valley, but the smoking chimneys indicate that the town is waking and preparing for a new day.

(LIP-jl) — Discovered by adventurers just 20 years ago, the Cotahuasi Valley is a blend of a rich pre-Colombian heritage and the tradition of picturesque villages surrounded by a breath-taking landscape. Come with us and discover the wonders of the Cotahuasi Canyon.

The glacial highland wind slaps us in the face as we jump put of our cars. Dawn broke just minutes ago, and the clouds are only just beginning to light up in a range of hues. The frost-covered ichu grass glitters in the sunlight before melting away under the rays of a highland sun that today seems to be more intense than ever.

Before us, still wreathed in early morning mist, stretches a dizzying gouge in the Andes, a gigantic wound slashed into the rough skin of the majestic mountains. From the bottom of the valley drifts bird song, carried by the mist which drifts uphill at surprising speed.

We would have liked to stop a moment longer to gaze upon this dawn spectacle in this solitary waste, but we are pulled away by the burning desire to plunge into the past down the zig-zagging road that leads to Cotahuasi Valley, our final destination.

The narrow valley, located some 375 km northwest of the city of Arequipa, is the result of the rushing waters of the Cotahuasi River between two hulking mountains: Mount Coropuna (at 6,425 masl, Peru’s highest volcano) and Solimana (6,093 meters).

From its origin in the pretty lake of Huanzococha, at more than 4,750 meters, the Cotahuasi is further swelled by the Huayllapaña River, near Pampamarca, to the north, and Huarcaya, near Tomepampa to the west. Its waters growing ever-more turbulent, the river heads west and then south, flowing through the deepest areas of the canyon. Finally, the river merges with the waters of the Marán before flowing into the Pacific Ocean near Ocoña, from where it gets its name for the final stretch.

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for map of the area - click here -Courtesy of

Text by David Rocca
Photos by José Luis Bustamante & Walter Wust enchanted villa: Arequipa through the ages
The enchanted villa: Arequipa through the ages
© LivinginPeru

(LIP-wb) — Nearly 500 years after co-habiting with the smoke of volcanoes, successive earthquakes and reconstructions and countless revolutions, the people of Arequipa in Peru have preserved an odd blend of haughty native pride and provincial innocence, where courtly manners, kindness and mood swings are expressed without the slightest problem or contradiction.

The city, which is not a big one as cities go, lies in the middle of some of the prettiest countryside, and yet is solid in its magnificence, good taste and history. Some may feel UNESCO’s decision to declare Arequipa a Mankind Heritage Site a little late in coming, as Villa Hermosa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Arequipa has long been a monument to all things Peruvian.

Rows of recently-built houses receive visitors along a well-kempt avenue. Nothing is particularly striking about the town until visitors come to a superb bridge. The Bolognesi bridge, built during the Republican era, leads directly from the district of Yanahuara to the main square in downtown Arequipa.

Arequipa 0

for map of the area - click here -Courtesy of

Text and Photos: Walter H. Wust

Mount Coropuna

enlargeThe serene quality of the highland plain is reflected in the still waters of Lake, which is fed by the melting glacier on Mount Coropuna

(LIP-wb) — This lost valley wedged in the heart of the Andes is the extraordinary site of nearly a hundred volcanoes of every size under the sun, dotted with groves of cactus and villages built on top of long-cooled lava flows.

This is Andagua, the Volcanoe’s playground.

Our expedition sets off from the city of Arequipa at dawn. It is still pitch dark, but the snowy mountain peaks that guard this region are already glowing with the first rays of dawn.

Our route will take us West, to the vast plains of Majes before trudging up the ancient route carved out by the rivers that come tumbling down the massif. We are headed for the other side of the mountains.

Our destination is a tiny, practically unknown valley hidden between vast cliffs of granite, overshadowed by two of the highest mountains on the western slope of the Andes: Mount Coropuna (6,425 meters), the highest volcano in Peru, and Solimana (6,323 meters), a solid summit of rock and ice from where one can spot the distant Pacific Ocean more than 200 km away.

Both mountains are revered as "apus", or guardian spirits of these lands by the highland communities. Their brooding presence does not fail to inspire admiration.