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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Arequipa, Forbes Top 10 Coolest cities in the world - Day 513

So why did Forbes in 2018 include Arequipa as one of the Top 10 coolest places in the world? Today on a fabulous walking tour, we discovered a few reasons why.

After our lazy but productive morning, we ventured up to the main square of Yanahuara, a pleasant and somewhat middle-class area where we are staying. A lovely well-cared for garden centered the plaza. At one end were a neat row of arches made from the local sillar, white volcanic rock, with fabulous views of El Misti Volcano and the old part of the city.

I discovered that there was a free walking tour this afternoon, so we strolled down into the city just in time, noticing loads of people on their mobile phones. We found out later that they were playing Pokemon Go. How strange!

The tour guide was brilliant; funny, informative and kept the 30 tourists and grown-up travellers engaged by asking questions and adding an occasional quiz.

Just as the tour began, we could hear music like an ice cream van. It turned out that it was the garbage truck! Our tour guide said that last week the truck was playing Bryan Adam's “I do it for you." Very amusing.

We discovered that the city was initially called the "White City" because it had the most white people living here in Peru. The town seems proud of its colonial past.

The buildings used to be painted in bright colours like blue and terracotta. But in the latter years, these have been stripped of the paint, baring the sillar white volcanic stone so accentuating the "white city" status.

We walked into several beautiful cloisters that, had we been on our own, we wouldn't have known existed. Also, a rooftop where our guide insisted that we were in the most dangerous city in the world...because of the surrounding Volcanos "that could erupt at any minute!"

A delightful and enjoyable tour.

Arequipa is also famous for its gastronomy with such a plethora of great restaurants and Picanterias, cafes that serve Picante, a one-plate dish of various stews usually eaten at lunchtime.We have certainly eaten well here.

With its varied climate, giving an abundance of different foods, plus the diversity of cultures with immigrants introducing various culinary tastes and ingredients, this has given Peru and especially Arequipa one of the most exciting foodie places in the world.

In 2018, Forbes included Arequipa as one of 10 coolest cities in the world (And they are not talking about the heat!). “Boasting Andean vistas and colonial splendor, Arequipa is a gem of a city that’s played a fundamental role in Peru’s gastronomic renaissance.” We certainly agree to this. A great place to visit and we're glad we spent a few days here.

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