Arequipa is Peru’s second biggest city. I went there to volunteer with Rayo de Sol not really knowing anything about it. My ignorance proved very strong when, the first morning I was there, I was shocked to see the huge volcano and the beautiful mountains around the city.
Close to where I was staying in Alto Cayma was a valley and river. Below are some pictures. Beautiful!
The city center of Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and for good reason. It’s beautiful. It’s colonial, enchanting, and the scenery around the city is the icing on the cake.
The Plaza de Armas, or the main square, is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. There are pigeons, restaurants, travel agencies, etc.
The market in Arequipa was often the final stop when I sold bread with Rayo de Sol. There were all kinds of things available there. I’ve said before that I’ll be a vegetarian after this trip. Part of that comes from smelling raw, unrefrigerated meat throughout Latin America part of it is spiritual.
Anyway, below are some pictures of pig day at the market. It was the only day I saw full pigs at the market, so maybe they get deliveries once a week. I’m not sure.
Miss Latin America
One day after selling bread I went to the central square in Arequipa. I noticed a crowd gathering around a bus and, of course, I stopped to see what was going on. Leaving the bus were the Miss and Mr. of several Latin American countries.
I didn’t find many of them attractive at all. Tons of makeup, obvious plastic surgery on some.. They might look amazing in pictures and on camera, but in real life not so much. Similar to what I saw in Lima.
I really like Lima, but Lima seems very divided based on wealth. There are very wealthy areas of the city and very poor areas. In Arequipa I felt like there was less difference, but I could be wrong.
The weather in Arequipa is great. It rained a bit the first day I was there, but otherwise it was dry and sunny. The rainy season this year was longer and worse than ever, resulting in tons of landslides and damage.
In the end, I truly enjoyed Arequipa. Beautiful city, not outrageously expensive like the parts of Lima I know, nice people, beautiful scenery, and a great volunteering experience.. What’s not to like?
About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.