Cusco – Arequipa = around £72.
Lima – Arequipa = between £30-70
Cusco (13h) – Arequipa = $90 (£21).
Ica & Huacachina (12/13 hours) – Arequipa = $80 (£19).
Lima (17-18 hours) – Arequipa = between £15-35 dependant on the time/company.
For more information on prices and timings look at Cruz del Sur, which is the main bus company.
The sensitive stomachs of the world will sympathise that travelling around South America, or in general for that matter, and feeding oneself can really be the bain of your life. Peru has proved to be especially difficult, with pan and jam being served for virtually every breakfast. My normal staples which would include rice cakes, have been very hard to find and/or oats/cereal with fruit.
Arequipa actually turned out to be a treat both for my eyes, as it’s a beautiful city, and for my stomach, because finally I wasn’t staring at what my boyfriend had, green with envy. Therefore I’m more than happy to share a selection of my finds!
To begin, I found La Sanahoria Biomarket, located just off the Plaza de Armas. It also doubles as a cafe and market where I spent a while glaring at all the products in a confused state of frenzy and happiness, rashly grabbing two packs of rice cakes off the shelf, after being apart from them for over a month and a half. In addition, they have gluten free, dairy free and vegan cereal bars, biscuits and many more sweet and savoury treats. You can also find vegan quinoa hamburgers.
This street (Pasaje de la cathedral) had some, albeit rather touristy, cafes and restaurants, perfect if you fancy a relaxed afternoon in the sun in a picturesque setting. The happy hours might catch your eye too.
Just around the corner is Pasta Canteen, which has glu free pasta!!!!! They only have spaghetti but you can choose your topping.
Vegan sushi, say whaaaa? Yes, my reaction as well. And you know what, it was bloody delightful. El Buda Profano is fab, I highly recommend the crispy camote (sweet potato). What’s more, it’s cheap as chips. We only spent $30 soles for lunch.
Crepisimo has gluten free crepes.
While La Despensa is a beautiful cafe with a wide array of goodies, unfortunately they don’t have gluten free but if you fancy a cuppa coffee, this is the place to come. They also have some tasty looking salads.
And last but not least… GLUTEN FREE PIZZA at Las Gringas. I’ll admit I don’t eat a lot of pizza so I was a little defeated by the base! But all the same I was super excited to actually be able to eat one. The base was made out of quinoa and you can chose your topping and extras if needs be. I was also extremely chuffed to see some English Cider, I’m not usually one for home comforts but it’s been about a year since my last proper cider so I treated myself.
The pizza chef is usually only in in the evenings (5pm) so maybe check before making plans!
Next door to which, is Chaqchao chocolate shop, which also has a sun deck. Here you can learn to make your own chocolate or taste craft beers.
We stayed at Arequipay Hostel, it was really chilled and had a great outdoor area with ping-pong, hammocks, deck chairs as well as having 2 TV rooms perfect for chilling in if the weathers a bit grey. We were super chuffed as well when the breakfast included oats and bananas as well, which seems to be a rarity in Peru.
Arequipa is the perfect city to stroll around and enjoy the stunning architecture, you can also visit the Santa Catalina monastery which is beautiful for $40 each (as long as your not too worried about the price) or for free you can walk up to the Yanahuara Mirador where you can see the volcanoes and the city from above through some stunning arches.
After which, you must try the Peruvian pisco, to celebrate my birthday we went to Museo del Pisco with some Belgian backpackers we’d met earlier in our travels. The cocktails are absolutely great, expect to pay around $25, so rather a treat for us stingey backpackers.
Disfruta! It’s a fabulous city.