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A Relaxing Week in Arequipa, Peru | The Time to Go Is Now

A Relaxing Week in Arequipa, Peru

A Relaxing Week in Arequipa, Peru

Our original plan was to only spend 4 or 5 days in Arequipa. However a gentleman from Canada who was staying at our hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica talked us into extending our stay. He was so convincing that I immediately extended our reservation. We were glad we did.

Image of sunset in Arequipa
The poor air quality in Arequipa meant we were rarely able to see the many volcanoes that surround the town. However it did provide some pretty incredible sunsets.

Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru but the central area is very walkable. If you need to go further, getting a taxi is not a problem. I think there are more taxis per capita in Arequipa than anywhere I’ve ever been. The city can be loud with all of the honking from taxis trying to pick up fares, but luckily our apartment was down a pedestrian alley so we had a quiet little oasis in the center of the city.

Image of The walk to our apartment from the main street.
The walk to our apartment from the main street.

We spent a week in a great little apartment in the historic center. There were three other people staying there. Everyone had their own bedroom and shared the kitchen, bathroom and terrace. There was Roberto, the brother of the owner, who was the most cheerful Peruvian we met in our time there. Dwight, a Canadian in his fifties who had retired early after his kids went off to college. He was in Arequipa teaching English. He was also tutoring Roberto in English as well as working with a tutor on his Spanish. Finally there was Lacey from Colorado. She had worked several jobs after college to support her ski bum habit in Colorado. After a few years she decided to put her degree in Spanish to use by first going to Costa Rica to teach English and was now teaching in Peru.

Image of Having wine on the rooftop terrace.
Having wine on the rooftop terrace.

Dwight commented how he thought Arequipa was a great place to learn and practice Spanish as everyone spoke very clearly. We’d have to agree with him because it was the easiest place for us to communicate on the trip so far. Dwight suggested we do a refresher session with his tutor so we scheduled an appointment. She went through the most useful verbs and phrases for traveling and then we asked for clarifications on certain situations where we knew he had been saying the wrong thing.

Image of Arequipa
A rare rain storm rolls into Arequipa.

We didn’t do much in Arequipa. No tours. No museums. I spent a lot of time working on the new website. (It’s coming soon, I swear.) Julie spent a lot of time reading and writing. We walked around town looking for places to eat. We’d go to the city market to shop for food to prepare at home. The Mercado San Camilo is a massive building with vendors sectioned off by their goods offered: Fruits, vegetables, beef, poultry, alpaca, pork, fish, cheese, honey, ají, and more. There are also plenty of food stalls offering roasted pork, ceviche, helado de queso (a local specialty), and various other Peruvian dishes at very affordable prices. Arequipa helped even out our budget in Peru because it was so affordable to eat and cook. Not doing any tours helped, too.

Mercado San Camilo in Arequipa, Peru.

Arequipa was our favorite city in Peru. It was a lively city without being quite as chaotic or massive as Lima. There are a lot of good, affordable restaurants as well as a lot of street food. Mercado San Camilo has almost anything you could want. If we return in the future we will definitely explore the canyons and surrounding area of Arequipa as there is a lot of great hiking available.

More pictures below:

Image Fish at the Mercado San Canmilo in Arequipa Peru
Fish at the Mercado San Canmilo in Arequipa
Image of Piles of roasted pork at one of the many vendors at Mercado San Camilo
Piles of roasted pork at one of the many vendors at Mercado San Camilo


Image of organs at the market
They even have a section for the “nasty bits” at the Mercado San Camilo: Livers, kidneys, intestines, tripe, etc.
Image of The Plaza de Armas at night.
The Plaza de Armas at night.
Image of street food in Arequipa
Mark buying tamales on a busy street corner. A girl selling anticuchos (center).
Image of Julie preparing dinner.
Julie preparing dinner.
Image of cheeseburger.
Sometimes you just need a cheeseburger.
Image of Mark on the Puente Grau.
Mark on the Puente Grau.
Image of Arequipa volcano.
On our last day the skies cleared enough to see the neighboring volcanoes.


15 Responses to A Relaxing Week in Arequipa, Peru

  1. Great amount of photos. Looks awesome. As for the title of “A Relaxing Week”, you guys are mostly job free and traveling the world, every week should be relaxing. I think the saying goes: “A hectic day in Arequipa beats a slow/good day in the office”, or something like that. Be safe, keep posting.

  2. Of late I dream of Arequipa…

    Seriously sounds awesome. And Sharon can rest easy that Julie’s CG education would never permit her to get a job teaching English to Peruvians. Or anyone else for that matter.

    I am a bit disappointed you didn’t climb or at least hike up to Misti.
    James recently posted…The Agony of DefeatMy Profile

  3. Ah, your experience confirms my South American colleague’s advice re: Peru. He said that Lima was okay for a big city, but that the smaller cities were more fun and relaxing (and had great food!).

  4. Since you both are such great cooks, have you had any impromptu dinner parties with your flat mates? I would think that there would be a sense of community around living and getting to know the folks who share your kitchen?

    Beautiful pics too! Keep posting them!

    • Everyone is on different schedules so it is a bit difficult. We would find ourselves around the table at similar times though which was nice.

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We're Mark & Julie

We quit our jobs at the end of 2013 to backpack around the world. We're sharing our stories, travel advice and hopefully some inspiration. Read more...

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