Arequipa is a city in the south of Peru, and it should definitely be included in your itinerary when you come to visit the country. It is just as deserving as a trip to Cusco or to the northern beaches.
It used to be the capital of Peru for a time during the 1800s once Peru had declared independence from Spain, and the historic centre is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The beautiful white stone used to construct many of the buildings here is just absolutely stunning, but we only caught a brief glimpse on our arrival as the sun was setting. However, we were greeted by this view as we checked into our hotel for the night.
An amazing sight and such a perfect welcome!
We settled into our rooms, in a hotel right on the main square, and then set out in search of dinner.
I had been recommended a great little place called La Trattoria del Monasterio (The Trattoria of the Monastery) with an entrance in the grand white stone walls of the monastery itself.
It’s a delightfully charming restaurant and we were lucky to have been served by a very charming waiter full of excellent menu recommendations.
Apologies for the photo quality. The lighting and my iPhone were not a spectacular mix….a lot of reflection and light bouncing!
We started with a sharing plate of a few Arequipeño specialities
Rocoto relleno (chilli pepper stuffed with a mince and vegetable mixture), papa rellena (mashed potato stuffed with mince, shaped and fried) and chicharron with camote (deep fried pork belly with sweet potato).
All delicious, and all gave my parents a good taster of what they could expect from this particular region of Peru.
I followed that with an incredible risotto topped with trout, cheese, crispy onion and a poached egg.
So, so delicious, but extremely rich, and so a little hard to finish!!
My mum went for the delicious and refreshing Camaná salad.
A pile of crispy lettuce topped with tangerine, roasted peppers, fennel, crunchy rice noodles and balsamic honey. All of this comes served with some crispy shrimp to add to the mix of textures, flavours and colours that adorn this beautiful plate.
My dad ordered the risotto topped with lomo fino (fillet steak) that had been cooked in pisco.
How delicious is that?
When you first arrive at a much higher altitude than you’re used to, it’s recommended to eat a lot less than normal and also not to drink alcohol, as your body can’t deal with it as well as it normally does. Because of this, there was no way I could possibly order a dessert, even though I knew the tiramisu was calling my name!
Next time, I’ll head straight there for my dessert first!
We wandered through the quiet streets back to the main square for a good nights sleep ahead of the next day’s adventures.
But I couldn’t resist one last look at the cathedral, all lit up like a candle, before settling under my duvet for some rest.