Destination guide: Arequipa, Peru
Located in the extreme south of Peru is the city of Arequipa. The "White City", as it is known locally, houses temples and has grand houses built using volcanic rock, which gives them a unique appearance.
In 2000, Unesco declared Arequipa and the surrounding area a World Heritage Site, which has boosted tourism in the region.
Fly with LAN and discover the Colca Valley with its beautiful lagoons and snowcapped mountains, the Ampato volcano, the Yanahuara lookout point and the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, as well as many other interesting places.
Arequipa - Practical Information
The city of Arequipa nestles in a fertile valley under the perfect cone-shaped volcano of El Misti (5822m). Rising majestically behind the cathedral, El Misti can be viewed from the plaza and is flanked to the left by the higher and more ragged Chachani (6075m) and to the right by the peak of Pichu Pichu (5571m).
The city center is based on a checkerboard pattern around the Plaza de Armas. Because streets change names every few blocks, addresses can be confusing. Generally, streets have different names north, south, east and west of the Plaza de Armas, then change names again further out from the center.
Spanish (Castilian), Aymara, Quechua.
Weights & Measures
With a few exceptions (notably some Asian, African and communist countries), visas are not required for travelers entering Peru. Tourists are permitted a 30- to 90-day stay, which is stamped into their passports and onto a tourist card, called a Tarjeta Andina de Migración (Andean Immigration Card), that you must return upon leaving the country. The actual length of stay is determined by the immigration officer at the point of entry. Be careful not to lose your tourist card, or you will have to queue up an oficina de migraciones (immigration office), also simply known as migraciones, for a replacement card. It’s a good idea to carry your passport and tourist card on your person at all times, especially when traveling in remote areas (it’s required by law on the Inca Trail). For security, make a photocopy of both documents and keep them in a separate place from the originals.
Thirty-day extensions cost about US$50 and can be obtained at immigration offices in major cities, with Lima being the easiest place to do this. There are also immigration offices in Arequipa, Cuzco, Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, Puno and Trujillo, as well as near the Chilean and Ecuadorian borders. You can keep extending your stay up to 180 days total.
Anyone who plans to work, attend school or reside in Peru for any length of time must obtain a visa in advance. Do this through the Peruvian embassy or consulate in your home country.
Peru allows duty-free importation of 3L of alcohol and 20 packs of cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. You can import US$300 of gifts. Legally, you are allowed to bring in such items as a laptop, camera, portable music player, kayak, climbing gear, mountain bike or similar items for personal use.
It is illegal to take pre-Columbian or colonial artifacts out of Peru, and it is illegal to bring them into most countries. If purchasing reproductions, buy only from a reputable dealer and ask for a detailed receipt. Purchasing animal products made from endangered species or even just transporting them around Peru is also illegal.
Coca leaves are legal in Peru, but not in most other countries, even in the form of tea bags, which are available in Peruvian shops. People subject to random drug testing should be aware that coca, even in the form of tea, may leave trace amounts in their urine.
Check with your own home government about customs restrictions and duties on any expensive or rare items you intend to bring back. Most countries allow their citizens to import a limited number of items duty-free, though these regulations are subject to change.
Hours are variable and liable to change, especially in small towns. Posted hours are a guideline, on a Sunday; most businesses (other than restaurants) are closed. Most cities, however, are equipped with 24-hour ATMs. In addition, Lima has pharmacies, bookstores and electronics supply shops that are open every day of the week. There are also a few 24-hour supermarkets. In other major cities, taxi drivers often know where the late-night stores and pharmacies are.
Many shops and offices close for a lunch break but some banks and post offices stay open. In addition, many restaurants open only for lunch, or breakfast and lunch, especially in small towns. Typically, opening hours are as follows:
- Banks 9am-6pm Mon-Fri, some 9am-1pm Sat.
- Bars and clubs 7:00 pm-midnight, some until 3am.
- Restaurants 10am-10pm, some closed 3-6pm.
- Shops 10am -8pm Mon -Sunday.
European plug with two circular metal pins
Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades
Two parallel flat blades above a large circular grounding pin