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Peru, here I am!

Arequipa and some volunteer work

sunny 20 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

From Arica I headed North to the Peruvian border and made my way across and to Arequipa. Arequipa is a very pretty city with many colonial buildings made of the white volcanic rock called sillar. it is a big city, but quite quiet. It is very touristy in the centre, but at the time I was there, there were very few tourists around. In fact, I was almost alone in two hostels I stayed at.
Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

Arequipa

The main reason why tourists come to Arequipa is to go see the Colca Canyon. Of course, I did this too, but for this you need to read my next blog post.

In the city there were two main places that I found interesting.
The first one was the Convento de Santa Catalina. It is a massive monastery which is almost like a small town on its own is the middle of the city centre of Arequipa. Twice a week you can visit the convent at night till 8pm, which is what I did and really enjoyed. The rooms have a very cosy feel at night when they are only lit by candle light, lanterns and fireplaces. Although you cannot see very well in some places and of course photos don't turn out as well as in daylight, I found it a nicer experience seeing the place in the dark.
Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

Convento de Santa Catalina - Arequipa

The second very interesting place is the Museo Santuarios Andinos, the museum where Juanita, a really well-preserved mummy of an Inca girl who was offered on a mountain in the Andes can be seen. You get a really informative guided tour in the museumm explaining many things about the Inca culture and about the human sacrifices they made.

Of course, another experience was the first Peruvian food I tried. The typical dish in Peru is Ceviche, a dish of raw fish and seafood marinated in a dressing made with lemon juice. Ît might sound strange, but I liked this very much. Something typical in Arequipa is the Queso Helado. This has nothing to do with cheese, but it is an ice cream made with coconut and cinnamon. Very tasty. I also liked Papa Rellena, a potato dough filled with beef, vegetables, olives and hard-boiled egg.
Queso Helado - Arequipa

Queso Helado - Arequipa

Since I had some spare time before moving on to Cusco where I would meet my mum and her boyfriend, I decided to stay in Arequipa a week longer than necessary for sightseeing etc and do some volunteer work. Of course a week is not very long, but I thought it is better than nothing and a good way to spend my extra time. I first took part in a volunteer for a day programme by an organisation called Traveller Not Tourist. In the morning, I helped paint a classroom in their school where their after-school programme takes place, in the afternoon I helped out in the English lesson and following playtime. It was a great day. The other volunteers were really nice and the programme is very interesting. It was a shame that I could not stay longer to work with them, but they did not have much work for a very short-term volunteer at such short notice. Therefore, for the rest of the week I helped out in a children's home called Casa Verde. I spent the afternoons picking up the children from school, helping them with their homework, playing with the youngest ones and doing other small tasks. At the end of the week, I did not want to leave. I liked the children very much (especially the youngest two, who are a brother and a sister and are really cute!) and would have liked to help out a bit longer. But I had to move on to Cusco.
Painting a classroom in Arequipa

Painting a classroom in Arequipa

Posted by sarahm_lux 17:40 Archived in Peru

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