Arequipa and the Monasterio of Santa Catalina
Amongst the white washed old buildings of Arequipa lies a nice Cathedral and a beautiful church, but the highlight attraction is the monastery of Santa Catalina.
This was one of those moments where I was pleased to be travelling alone. I was able to take my time wandering around the monastery, avoiding a few tourist groups and just be alone with my thoughts.
It was a stunning convent, with lots of white, reds and blues throughout. The convent was founded in 1579, build from Sillar, a white volcanic stone. Unfortunately the convent has suffered from earthquakes and tremors over the years, particularly in 1958 and 1960. It was restored and re-opened in 1970 to the public and while some spots are still damaged, on the whole it is still a lovely spot to visit.
Throughout the monastery you can see where the nuns lived, cooked and spent their time. There are 4 ‘Cloisters’ or courtyards that each have a different theme or purpose. There are lots of alleyways, archways and a few good viewpoints over the city also.
So if you’re visiting Arequipa, take the time to check out the Monasterio of Santa Catalina at your own pace in peace and quiet – it’s worth the time.
Top Tip: Arequipa is where I first encountered a nasty hostel owner. At first he seemed nice and helpful, until I reviewed his hostel a few days later mentioning the lack of bathrooms and no lockers in the rooms. This resulted in a nasty phone call to me in Cuzco asking me to leave his Cuzco hostel. I later also received a nasty email following up from the Cuzco hostel review. So, be wary if you consider staying at ‘Marlon’s House’ in Arequipa, Puno or Cuzco as the owner can be extremely unprofessional and unpleasant.