Arequipa Peru – heart of the Inca empire.

Volcano backdrop of Arequipa Peru.

Volcano backdrop of Arequipa Peru.

Beautiful Arequipa, Peru

After a long 24 hours of airports and planes, I’m finally in Arequipa, Peru at the start of an 11-day small group tour with Gate One Travel. We’re 12 people from different parts of the US and it seems to be a great group.

Meeting our Tour Director 

When we arrived in Arequipa we were met by Edgar Chuyca our tour Director,  and a nice small bus with big windows! Perfect. We pulled up at the hotel too early to check in so we all trekked into Arequipa center to get acclimated and look for real food. Four of us broke off and had lunch at a cool place in a courtyard covered by umbrellas, I mean small white umbrellas hanging from wires above the courtyard. It rarely rains in Arequipa at this time of year but it protected us from the hot sun. The food was wonderful – I had a shrimp soup (chupa el camaron) and a great cup of coffee. The coffee was to keep me awake so I wouldn’t fall asleep on the way back to the hotel.

 

Such fun to look up at these cool white umbrellas against the bright blue cloudless sky while we ate lunch. lunch.

Such fun to look up at these cool white umbrellas against the bright blue cloudless sky while we ate lunch. lunch.

 

We feel better with a little food in us. Dinner that night at the hotel was equally as good and I went right to bed. By that time I’d been awake for 34 hours – falling asleep was no problem!

Arequipa Hotel Libertador

Our hotel is the Hotel Libertador.  It’s gorgeous, with large pool, spa, gym …. and several llamas in the back gardens fertilizing and keeping the grass trimmed. Also an ancient turtle!

Saturday, July 6

Great sleep, refreshed and ready for touring today. Breakfast was a buffet with everything you could ask for and more great coffee – much needed at this point.

Off to the San Camillo Market 

We started the day with Lilliana, our local guide, at the San Camillo market. A huge market full of colors and smells and activity. It was early morning so the vendors were opening up their stalls or eating breakfast. Lilliana stopped to fill us in on the 3000 different varieties of potatoes that are grown in Peru, and the fruits and vegetables that are completely new to me, beautiful colors and textures. A feast for the eyes. …..Well, that was before we walked through the aisles of meats and fish! I mean sheep’s heads, guts, whole carcasses ready to be butchered. Where I strolled through the aisles of produce, I galloped through the meat section, felt better when we started through the herb aisle. The Peruvians take their medicine plants seriously.

San Camilo market, Arequipa peru

San Camilo market, Arequipa Peru

My little friends in the Market

Meanwhile, I met three little girls sitting beside their mother’s stall playing with dolls and smiling. When I asked if I could take their picture they agreed then asked me to join them for another picture. I miss my granddaughter Rhian!
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I could’ve spent the day in the market but Edgar and Lilliana had more in store for us.

 Monastario Santa Catalina

Picchu Micchu from Arequipa

Picchu Micchu from Arequipa

I scooted through the meat section of the market after I spotted this delicacy. I like the fruit and veggie areas a lot better.

I scooted through the meat section of the market after I spotted this delicacy. I like the fruit and veggie areas a lot better.

is a monastery of nuns of the Dominican Second Order.  Wealthy families would send their daughters to become nuns. Like it or not.  The families paid large amounts of “dowry” and the woman were expected to bring thsir own furnture as well.  Very grateful I wasn’t born of Spanish nobility. I would have made a lousy nun!
The sun was brilliant all day and I took a slew of wonderful pictures.
The next highlight was the scenic shots we took of the volcanoes that are the backdrop of this Cuidad Blanco.

All in all, Peru is turning out to be even better than I imagined. Tomorrow our wake up call is 3 am so we can get on the road to the Colca Canyon and the famous Condors. 3 AM – no partying for me tonight!

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

7 Comments

  • Gail Duffy July 6, 2013 at 11:31 pm Reply

    Kathy, this sounds like a fabulous launch to a great trip! It is fun to read all that you’re doing and seeing. As a fellow travel-buff, I am always planning my next trip, and this one sounds really interesting! Will the pictures you post be on this site? Looking forward to piggybacking your trip via this site! Thanks for doing this!

  • Bev July 7, 2013 at 12:56 am Reply

    Kath, love the update. Your arrival, markets, lunch, good travelling companions, scenery and hotel all sound great. Feels like we’re there with you. Keep ’em coming as you can. Bev

  • Marilyn July 7, 2013 at 3:01 am Reply

    What great writing Kath, I feel like I’m right there with you. It’s going to be great travelling with you vicariously. Have a fantastic time!!

  • Kim July 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

    Kathy, thanks so much for sharing all of this great info. We’re always on the lookout for our next travel destination and Peru sounds fascinating. Sorry I wasn’t in Florida at the time of your Miami layover or I would have come and met you. If its another long one on your way back (or you get stuck), let me know and I’ll happily come see you as we arrived home yesterday. But, in the meantime, I look forward to reading more!

    • Kathryn Schlitzer July 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

      Hi Kim
      I had no idea you were that close to Miami airport, would have loved to see you.
      You and family would love Peru. Fascinating and beautiful. Never been to South America before so I’m taking it all in. Just posted again and will catch up tonight.
      Love
      Kathy

      • Kim July 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm Reply

        Hey Kath – We’re just under an hour to Miami airport. Mom says you’re overnighting on the way back so let me know if you’d like to meet – would love to see you – but understand that you may be utterly exhausted!! Just finished reading your blog to-date – absolutely fascinating. We thought we would explore South America more now that we’re in Florida but still keep getting drawn back to Europe! SA is so huge and there’s so much to see that we just don’t know where to start. But this is definitely helpful – need to start thinking outside the box! Enjoy the rest and I look forward to reading more. Kim xxx

        • Kim July 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm Reply

          I should also say that you are welcome to stay with us for the overnight – I could take you back and forth.

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