Arequipa, Monastery de Santa Catalina and Mama Juanita, Readers ReviewJanuary 12, 2012
I only had one day in Arequipa, The White city, and decided to visit some Museums. Arequipa’s main square, Plaza de Armas, has beautiful white colonial buildings, is bustling with life and colour, and feels much brighter and fresher than the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. The taxi journey to the first museum was interesting. The taxi drivers in Arequipa, are just as crazy as elsewhere in Peru and the journey is made more challenging by the cobbles throughout the city! For more information on the beautiful white city I found the Official Arequipa Website really useful!
The first museum I wanted to visit was the museum of Juanita. Juanita was the Incan princess who’s frozen body was found in 1995 after an ice cap melted on a mountain over 6000m and discovered by rock climbers, and thought to be a sacrifice to the gods. The museum housed many stunningly beautiful Incan artefacts which included the colourful clothing Juanita had worn. Eventually we came to the room where Juanita’stemperature controlled cabinet is. Her appearance is a little shocking, and simply adds to the mystery and intrigue of her story and sets your imagination racing. It’s a fascinating museum.
The second place I visited was recommended to me, and I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to visit. It’s the Monastery de Santa Catalina. I only had a limited time here, and whilst the personally guided tour usually takes an hour (which is free, but you are expected to tip), my guide agreed to take me on a tour for 30 minutes (although I was keen to tip her for the full hour!!). She showed me all the highlights of the monastery, and gave me a wonderful insight in to the lives that the nuns who lived here had to endure. The monastery itself is a beautiful, peaceful place with a labyrinth of cobbled streets inside an enclosed wall. A definite must when visiting Arequipa.
Our travel professionals have written about many other exciting tourist attractions in Peru. Take some time to read through our comprehensive Guide to Peru for information on other places to visit.
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