Arequipa, also called the White City, is surrounded by a chain of snow-capped volcanoes, whose white lava has been used in the construction of the city. With striking colonial buildings such as the elegant Casa del Moral and the Casa Ricketts, Arequipa also contains the remarkable Convent of Santa Catalina located near the town's central plaza. This cloister was built in the 16th century by a local aristocrat and it remained closed from the rest of the world until recently. Traditionally the oldest daughters of Arequipa's aristocratic families entered the convent in their early teens and spent their lives there, cloistered away. The convent complex has been beautifully restored bringing the past vividly alive once more.
The town is also a good base for many interesting excursions, for example, to the Colca Valley, with its picturesque villages and well preserved Inca terracing and whose canyon is claimed to be even deeper than the Colorado Canyon.
Altitude: 2,380 metres / 7,854 feet above sea level
Population: 696,000 approx
Climate: Warm days and cool nights. Occasional rain between January and March (75º-42ºF / 23º-5ºC