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Arequipa City Tour, Peru

This tour concentrates on the beautiful Santa Catalina Convent, a walled colonial town within a city.

Opened to the public in 1970 after 4 centuries of secrecy, the remaining nuns have moved to a private corner of the convent allowing visitors to wander through the peaceful cobbled streets. The walls and cloisters are painted in shades of ochre and blue, and there are bright red and yellow flowers dotted throughout.

Also visited is the cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, recently restored after an earthquake in the late 1990's. The cathedral is home to reputedly one of the largest organs in South America and has a beautiful marble altar. Its setting with the imposing El Misti volcano towering behind is a beautiful site.

On the opposite side of the main square is the Iglesia La Compania with its elaborate sillar stone doorway.

Finally, you visit the Museo Santuarias de Altura, which recounts the expeditions to the peaks of some of the surrounding volcanoes in search of Inca mummies that are known to be resting there. On display here is the astonishingly well-preserved mummy of Juanita, a young Inca maiden sacrificed to the gods over 500 years ago.

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Audley Travel specialist Rebecca

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