Arequipa & Santa Catalina Monastery
Duration: 7 1/2 hours
Tour Code: ARE-002
Enjoy a visit to Arequipa or "The White City" - a nickname taken because of the pearly white volcanic rock, sillar, that is used in its buildings.
From the pier in Matarani, it's a 2 1/2-hour drive inland to Arequipa. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a short orientation drive of this UNESCO World Heritage city, where you will see many landmark sights, including the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral. Following your panoramic tour, you will proceed to Santa Catalina Monastery where you will have a guided walking tour of this historic monastery that was built in 1580. Today, it is one of the most important and impressive religious monuments in Peru. The convent remained a mystery to the world until 1972 when local authorities opened the site up to tourism. Although the nuns remain mostly out of site, they all come from wealthy families and have taken vows of poverty. The actual complex is quite large and has many interesting features to see.
Before returning to the pier, you will have some free time at leisure at "Patio Ekeko", a gallery with stunning craft shops offering jewelry, handicrafts, alpaca clothing and furniture. A boxed dinner will be offered on board the coach during your return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1-hour of easy to moderate walking that can include natural and uneven surfaces at the monastery, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. The coach drive between Matarani and Arequipa is approximately 2.5 hours each direction dependent upon traffic. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual yet conservative, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence may vary. While every attempt will be made to provide a coach that has a restroom on board, it should be noted that there are no restroom facilities on the route between Matarani and Arequipa.