After breakfast at the hostel we took a taxi down to Arequipa Bus Terminal (10 soles) to buy our bus tickets to Chivay. We booked with Reyna bus tours who are located in the new terminus building. At the moment Reyna operates buses at 1am, 8.30am and 11am. We went for the 8.30am which is costing 13 soles for at least a 3 hour journey through what we anticipate to be magnificent landscape. From the terminus we took another taxi back to Plaza de Armas (7 soles), stocked up on beer and water, and then headed out in search for lunch. Our first choice, Hatunpa, unfortunately was closed so we went to La Lucha, a Peruvian burger chain I had spotted yesterday. We both went for wood fired pork in a bun and shared the classico portion of fries. The food is simple but delicious and definitely beats your standard Mc D’s. We watered the food down with a Chicha Murada, a drink based on purple corn flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and more spices, which is extremely sweet but a must-try over here.
We initially planned to go to Monasterio de Santa Catalina straight after lunch but ot distracted by the Arequipa Craft Beer Club inside the cafe Chaqchao. Good thing we did because otherwise we would have missed the spectacle of a Catholic procession which wr had a great view of from the balcony.
We stayed for a good 90 minutes waiting for the procession to pass before making our way to the Monasterio. The Monasterio is a must-see in Arequipa. It is beautiful and has been restored to great detail. It took us over two hours to see all the different cloisters, accommodation, church and art gallery. There are also two good view points over the roof tops of Arequipa which you shouldn’t miss. On a clear day you can see as far as the surrounding volcanos.
Once we had completed our tour of the Monasterio, we went back to the Flying Dog Hostel to research some dinner options. We decided to give Chelawasi, a craft beer pub, a go. The pub has four Sierra Andina beers on tap for 12 soles. All are great beers but our favourite was obviously the strongest one (named after the greatest Inca and the strongest beer in Peru). We also shared a plate of Salchipapas which consists of mixed Peruvian fried potatoes with fried sausages. They are served with a variety of sauces amongst them a Pisco mayonnaise and an olive mayonnaise which you should definitely try. The Salchipapas (15 soles)were simple but so delicious we kind of regretted not getting a plate each. The pub closes at 7pm on Sunday, so we had plenty of time for a desert after.
We went down Santa Catalina and stopped at Tanta, a cafe that also serves hot food throughout the day and evening. Their deserts are somewhat famous in Arequipa and they definitely didn’t disappoint us. Although the coffee was a bit weak for us. Brian had a dark chocolate encased chocolate and coffee mousse with a coconut base and I went for a dark chocolate and maracuja mousse served in a long tall glass. Both deserts were only 10 soles each.
Tomorrow morning we’re off to the Colca Canyon.