Sabandía Mill and La Benita

Outside of the city of Arequipa is the site of El Molino de Sabandía.

Isn’t it just gorgeous?

This flour mill was built in the 17th century and was at the heart of the community for around 400 years. It fell into disrepair but was restored to its former glory a few decades ago. The building is constructed from Arequipa’s famous white volcanic stone and it’s surrounded by lush vegetation, plants, cacti, flowers and a stream.

The flowing water is channelled to two water wheels which you can see turn two millstones in the building above. The building also has on display some of the old tools used when the mill was originally in use.

While there’s not a lot of actual mill left to be seen, the grounds are a wonderful place to take a stroll and sit and relax. There are also native animals to see too, like llamas, alpaca, vicuña and an Arequipeño fighting bull.

There are a few places to eat outside the mill, but I would recommend eating in the nearby town of Characato at a place called La Benita. It’s a picanteria serving up traditional Arequipeña food.

You absolutely must order the fried cheese, it’s spectacular. It’s slightly melted, salty paria cheese (think halloumi style) with a crisp bubbled edge.

The chicharron of pork with pastel de papa (layered potato pie) is a must eat too. Try the local cola (Kola Escocesa), beer or even their version of chicha, a purple corn drink. Another tradition here in Arequipa is to finish up with a shot of anis liqueur to help all that heavy food go down!

Believe me, you will leave full, happy and very, very satisfied.

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