Watch condors soar overhead and discover ancient cultures in this picturesque region
White walls line the beautiful city of Arequipa, hence its nickname ‘The White City’, and at nearly 2400m altitude, it is an excellent place to get acclimatised before heading into the higher areas of the Andes. Along with the hidden handicraft markets and a selection of fine restaurants, Arequipa has plenty to do and is highly recommended as part of a luxury holiday to Peru. Santa Catalina Convent is peaceful and pleasant to wander around, offering an insight into life in the monastery along with some excellent photo opportunities. Delve further into the history of this area by observing the mummified remains of Juanita – the ‘Inca Ice Maiden’ who was sacrificed to the gods over 500 years ago, but only discovered in 1995. At the time, it was one of the most exciting historic finds and the news spread rapidly around the world. The story of her sacrifice is told in great detail at the Santuarios Andinos Museum. Further out from Arequipa the adventurous can attempt to summit the nearby ‘El Misti’ mountain, or take a trip to Colca Canyon. This enormous canyon is a staggering 3270m deep; almost twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in the USA, and offers unrivalled views of the magnificent Andean Condor. Incan terraces and grave sites can be spotted along the bumpy road along the edge of the canyon, along with many small traditional towns which are extremely photogenic. Both Arequipa and the Colca Canyon offer wonderful luxury hotels which act as a perfect base to explore this interesting region in Peru.