Traditional weaving with alpaca hair
Peru Travel

Arequipa Must-Sees

Before we get to the Arequipa must-sees, a few last photos of Moquegua, Peru...

I have been back in the States since August 1st, so I guess it’s about time I do another picture dump! I know you’re excited to hear about the popular tourist destination of Arequipa, but FIRST –

Here are a few more of Moquegua, Peru, where I spent most of my time:

The Cultural Center of Moquegua. This is where I saw a concert hosted by the Museo Constisuyo, as mentioned in the previous post.

field house in Moquegua

The downstairs area of our field house. There are various archaeological supplies around because the “lab” (for cleaning bones and such) was on the bottom floor.

My two best friends in the house. My roommate, Rachel, is on the right and our friend Brittany is on the left. Both have given me permission to use their names.
Papas rellenas (fried potato ball with cheese and egg in the center) with rice and rocoto salsa

Papas rellenas (fried potato ball with cheese and egg in the center) with rice and rocoto salsa.

In the above picture, you can see that we basically slept on mattresses (made of hay-type material) on the floor. Actually, Rachel originally had a bed frame, but it broke and she completely fell through it onto the floor!

How to get from Moquegua to Arequipa

I spent a weekend in Arequipa to get away from the sometimes monotonous lab work and…you know…the dead people smell. Although I normally work with defleshed remains, there are a fair amount of mummies or partially mummified remains in the Museo Contisuyo which can smell quite ripe during days of high temperature.

Side Note: I’m not sure if I have mentioned yet, but very few people in Peru have cars. The main form of transportation is by taxi. They are incredibly abundant and very cheap. Tipping is not customary in Peru, so the price your taxi driver quotes you the total price you pay. And a strong word of advice, NEVER slam their doors, unless you want to get yelled at. This basically tells them that you were dissatisfied with the service they provided for you, and so understandably, they take offense.

Option 1: Colectivo

A colectivo is basically a shared van, often carrying 10-11 people. They leave close to every hour, or when the car is full. They will strap your luggage to the top of the car and secure it with a net on top. If you have an unusually large bag, such as a large suitcase, they may charge you 10 soles extra. The ride itself normally costs 30 soles. This link gives more information on colectivos (just ignore the pictures, though, because they look nothing like the ones I used in Peru). There is some hyperlinked text in a previous post that will take you to a photo of what the Peruvian colectivos looked like.

Below are some photos of the terrain as I took the colectivo to Arequipa.

Option 2: Bus

The second manner of transportation is by bus, which is how I got there on my second trip to Arequipa. You buy your ticket in a big bus station and they accept both cards and cash. I believe it is 20 soles for a regular seat and 25 soles for a first class seat, where you get a movie and more leg room.

I went ahead and sprung for the first class seat and have no regrets. In the bus, they store your luggage in a big compartment in the side of the bus and put a sticker with a number on it. They give you a sticker with the same number on it, to ensure that everyone retrieves the same bags.

You may think: If the first class bus ticket is cheaper than the colectivo, why does anyone take the colectivos? The answer to that is…time. The colectivo ride can be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half faster than the bus, which takes about 4 hours. And keep in mind, both of these methods of transportation rarely stop for bathroom breaks – so pee beforehand!

Once in Arequipa, the first thing you will probably want to see is the Plaza de Armas.
Next on your list should be paying a visit to Juanita.
Building near the Plaza (not where Juanita was located)

We took a trip to see Juanita, the 500 year old Peruvian mummy dubbed the “Ice Maiden” at the Museo Santuarios Andinos. She was about 12 years old and a sacrificial victim, killed by a blow to the back of the head. She was given alcoholic beverages to lull and calm her before she was to be killed, though I assume she considered it an honor to be sacrificed to the gods. She is kept frozen in a glass case in a dimly lit room and is rotated on display with other mummies. 

 Tours were available in English. The guides work for tips, so you just tip them as much as you deem appropriate at the end of the tour. You have to leave your bags at the front desk, but they are kept in lockers to which you are given the key. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures, but I immensely enjoyed my experience there and highly recommend it to anyone. There are some discounts available, such as half price entrance tickets for foreign students with ID. Regular priced tickets are 20 soles.

Finally, for animal lovers, Mundo Alpaca should be at the top of your Arequipa must-see list!

Mundo Alpaca is a place that concentrates on the processing of alpaca hair. Entrance was free and I also had an absolutely wonderful time there!

We were given fresh alfalfa to feed the llamas, alpacas, and other camelids and they would only let us pet them when they were eating.

There was also an exhibit about all of the machines involved in the processing of alpaca hair, but I unfortunately did not get any pictures.

Traditional weaving with alpaca hair
Traditional weaving with alpaca hair
Okay, I normally don’t like to do product reviews, but I have to go on a small rant about this Choco Reyenito. Looking at the packaging, I thought it was going to be like a Twinkie with a caramel filling instead of the cream that Twinkies normally have. But OHHHHH NOOOOOO was I misled!! This was basically a brown colored tiny LOAF OF BREAD with a few drops of caramel syrup in the very center. It only cost 1 sol, so I guess I can’t complain that much, but the picture got my hopes up far too much for what the product actually was. Yes, I may be a little bitter…

That’s it for now! I’ll put up another post soon about my second visit to Arequipa and subsequent hostel stay before catching my flight out of Peru.

-Brianna

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