My time in Arequipa was one of my fondest peruvian memories. Just as lively, interesting and fun as Cusco (but with even better weather!) and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to round off my South American adventure. The 10 hour bus journey from Cusco to Arequipa was one of the worst of my entire trip – not legnth wise, but just in regards to comfort! I wasn’t feeling too great and despite managing to grab myself a luxury VIP seat (I booked in advance) I still found it ridiculously hard to get any sleep! I can’t complain though, cause Vicki booked her ticket too late and ended up being stuck upstairs in a smaller seat next to a rather large woman, and I at least had the company of a super nice guy from Manchester in the UK to make things slightly more bearable. Even so, I was ridiculously glad to arrive at our destination! Me and Vicki decided to get a taxi into the centre of Arequipa with our new mancunian friend but once we arrived none of us had a clue where to go and with it being 8am in the morning there weren’t many people around to ask! Eventually, after a lot of walking around in circles, we finally found our respective hostels, said goodbye and began to settle in to the arequipeñan way of life. Our hostel was the one and only ‘Wild Rover – Arequipa’. Now before you say anything… even I was shocked to find myself agreeing to stay in a party hostel, especially when I tried so desperately to avoid the one in Cusco, but seeing as volunteering had finished and I could finally stay out as late as I wanted with nowhere to be the next day, I thought it’d be a great idea – and it was!! I LOVED this place, the vibe, the people, the comfy beds, the food, the bar! Everything was just perfect, so much so that I decided to stay a little bit longer whilst Vicki went back to Cusco. Definitely the right decision – I got a sweet tan, made some fabulous friends and explored Peru’s second most popular city to my hearts content 😊 I expected our hostel to be filled with english and irish people but surprisingly I found myself speaking Spanish 90% of the time! There were peruvians at the bar, my roommates were from Chile and I spent my entire last day with people from various regions of Spain… who’d have thought it?! I had a ridiculous amount of fun! From partying in the nightclubs of Arequipa, playing beer pong with the hostel staff, tanning by the pool, early morning gossip sessions, eating at some amazing restaurants, meeting some llamas and alpacas, learning about cultural traditions, visiting all the tourist hotspots and of course, Colca Canyon (see my last post!) Our night out was strange but brilliant. There were practically no english people and after talking to a group of people from Chile for hours and hours, me and Vicki found ourselves communicating in spanish even when we were alone – now THAT’S true language immersion! At 2am we headed out to a club called Deja Vu, where we danced to a mix of peruvian and club music. After being offered a threesome and being harassed by some annoying french men we decided it was time to call it a night. Still speaking in spanish on the way home, I kept trying to say: ‘what a story for the grandkids’ in regards to our threesome request, but ended up just saying ‘what a bill for the grandkids’ (Cuento means story and cuenta means bill) – it was definitely time for some sleep. We took so many photos, but sadly they were on some random guys phone so we’ll never get to see them again – but the memories will live on in our minds forever! Cheesy, but oh so true 😉 Talking of cheese, I tried some cheese ice cream (queso helado) in Arequipa, where I paid about £1 for a BUCKET full. To my disappointment it didn’t have any cheese in it but it was super scrumptious and perfect to cool us down in the afternoon heat! During my time in Arequipa, I also did a city walking tour. We got to see all of the major sights including the churches, cloisters, markets and museums. I think I spent the entire time laughing with my newly-found amigos and I finally got the llama selfie that I’ve been wanting for an eternity… Does life get any better?! Of course I would recommend Arequipa for a week-long break during your peruvian adventure, but even more than the place I have to recommend the FOOD! You shoulda seen some of the things we ate there! There’s a whole street just off the Plaza de Armas with some of the yummiest cake shops, fancy restaurants, boutique cafes and good old american burger joints – A must see! Our number 1 favourite was ‘Restaurante El Ekeko’, a ridiculously amazing restaurant on the top floor of the mall. The food they serve is more-ishly wonderful and although it’s expensive by peruvian standards, when you work out the price in english pounds you’ll realise it’s a steal. 10/10!
Sunny skies, great culture, tasty food, fun people – there is no better way to spend a day. Stay cool, Arequipa! I will miss you 😘