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In the previous article about Arequipa, I wrote how this city is underrated by travelers, although it has so much to offer. There are four volcanoes you can hike, see a salt lagoon, similar to that in Bolivia, go rafting, see a Peruvian Petra, or see a park full of dinosaurs. Not kidding.

La Ruta del Sillar & Quebrada De Las Culebrillas

This huge canyon full of volcanic stones is called sillar. Arequipa is actually built with this material, that’s why is often called a white city. The locals had taken advantage of this place and apart from providing tours here, they have also been carving many statues. They even carved a “church” into a huge volcanic wall that reminds Petra in Jordan.

Quebrada De Las Culebrillas is an approximately 30 km long canyon close to Arequipa city. It actually looks a bit like canyons in Utah, but at the end of this canyon, you will see petroglyphs created a thousand years ago by Wari culture.

It’s quite hard to get to these two places by yourself, but you can take a half-day tour where they cover both places and explain a bit more about the history. The tour should cost you around S/80. There is always an option to take a taxi that will cost around S/40 one way, but to see another place you need to pay more plus for the time a driver would wait for you.


Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve

There is this huge natural reserve right next to Arequipa city that has the most amazing views of volcanoes, lagoons, and unique wildlife. It has 3,669 km² and most of the things you will see are around 4,000 meters above sea level. The best time to visit the reserve is during the dry season which is from April to December.

You can do a one-day trip from Arequipa starting early in the morning, passing between two volcanoes, El Misti and Pichu Pichu. You will be mostly around Salinas lake where the driver will stop at many spots around the lake while you will be watching flamingos, llamas, alpacas, or vicuñas.

There are three types of flamingos in Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve. But during the dry season, you will see only one type that stays in the reserve.


Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon is a must-see place while you are in the Arequipa region. But, If you have more time, I would definitely not recommend going there just for one day as I did. This is the last option (an emergency) if you really don’t have much time since Colca Canyon is huge and deserves more time. This is one of the deepest canyons in the world and there is an option to hike all the way down so don’t lose it.

However, you can still see some interesting things during a one-day trip. You will stop at some nice viewpoints, see a traditional village, drink a Colca version of pisco sour drink, and go to hot springs, but will mostly sit in a van.

If you are lucky, you can see an indigenous Wititi dance from southern Peru which is associated with the beginning of adult life and symbolizes love. It is typically performed by young women but is often known for the men dressed as women to “confuse their enemies”. This dance is also recognized as a UNESCO world heritage.

On a way back to Arequipa, you will stop at Mirador de Los Andes which offers views of several volcanoes. The road you will be passing by is the highest paved road in Peru at almost 4,900 meters (16 076 ft) and is also home to wild vicuñas

The last stop you will do is Patahuasi, which is a strange rock formation on a top of a hill. From this place, you will have a pretty nice view of the volcano El Misti.


Hike El Misti, Chachani, or Pichu Pichu

Hiking El Misti is a two-day trek on a 5 821 meters (19,101 ft) high volcano and it’s just for serious hikers. It’s not really a touristy trek, so you will need a guide. The hike starts at an altitude of approx. 3 352 meters (11,000 ft) to a base camp at 4 572 meters (15,000 ft). The next day, around 1 am, you will continue upon the summit and if you have some more energy you can even hike down to the crater. Climbing El Misti will cost you around $100 in total.

If you want to hike the volcano Chachani and you are not the best hiker, I have good news for you. Chachani is considered the easiest 6 000 meters (19872 ft) mountain in the world to climb. Can be climbed year-round, has three trails to get there and no permit is required. It’s also less crowded and physically easier because of the less elevation difference.

In the case of the Pichu Pichu volcano, you have seven summits and the highest one has 5 635 meters (18,488 ft). The hike will take also two days, you can go alone, or you can take a tour that will include a visit to the Laguna de Salinas.

El Misti

Rafting on the Rio Chili

This is a perfect opportunity to do some activity if you are not really up to climbing a volcano. You can go for rapids up to class IV. All the tours last around 3 hours, they provide all the equipment and transport and you will pay around $40.

Source: adventuretreksperu.com
Source: paracasexplorer.com

Pillones Waterfall and Stone Forest

An amazing waterfall and a stone forest in Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve. A one-day trip from Arequipa will take approx. 10 hours. Most of the tours offer stops in some other places, like Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation, Pampa de Arrieros, or Patahuasi, but if you take other tours on this list, you might make some of these stops as well.

Source: tripadvisor.com
Source: pinterest.com

Toro Muerto

A huge area with a collection of around 3,000 volcanic rocks with around 10,000 petroglyphs dating back to the Wari culture in 1,000 CE. At the entrance, there is always a guide, that is willing to explain to you the history of this place. However, getting there is quite hard if you don’t have a car. From Arequipa, you can still book a one-day tour and you will pay around $80 per person.


As I mentioned at the beginning, there is this place full of dinosaurs and some other nice places that I put on this map, so go and check them out.

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