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March 31st 2017
Published: April 1st 2017
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Suzanne here...

More lovely scenery made the five hour journey from Cabanaconde pass quickly, and we saw loads of wild vicunas (much like llamas). However as we neared Ariquipa the landscape changed. Suddenly everything was more built-up and industrial. I could quite easily have fled back to Colca. We arrived at Terminal Terrestre, inconveniently out of town. But at least it meant we could buy our onward bus tickets to Puno. Once this was achieved we agreed a price of 10 soles with a taxi driver (the colectivos all looked rammed) and despite the terrible traffic we were soon at our hotel.

Hotel Bubamara was a plain, locked door with a small sign to indicate we were in the right place. We rang the bell and were welcomed inside. It was actually much roomier than we imagined. Our room was simple but large and clean. The location was good, in the San Lazaro area about 10 minutes walk from Plaza de Armes

We already knew exactly where we were going to eat. We'd been looking forward to it all day. A well reviewed Indian restaurant called India Indian Cuisine was a five minute walk away. We'd not had Indian food since Korea and were craving it. We arrived to find the place full of tourists, hardly unexpected. We really enjoyed it. If I'm honest, the lamb was rather tough and the naan too thick. But the flavours were wonderful and it was great to have Indian food after so long.

After dinner we carried on to Plaza de Armes. I was already feeling better about Ariquipa, but the square made me glad to be there. Really impressive, with imposing buildings lit up to great effect. After a bit of a wander we looked for a bar. After the terrible bar scene of Cusco we were not expecting much, but were pleasantly suprised. We ended up at a nice little place called Brujas. Ok, so not rock, but finally a proper bar rather than a 'bar restaurant' where we always feel guilty if we don't want to eat.

The next day we made our way to the Museo de Arte Contemporano. At first we thought it was shut, but then David noticed a sign instructing us to ring the bell. Sure enough someone came out to unlock the gate for us. The place was very small, but it was only five soles and there was enough art that we liked to make it worthwhile. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping (boring but necessary, although in the end the only thing we got was some trousers for David) and just wandering around the city.

Before dinner we popped to a British pub called the Red Lion. Not something we'd normally do, but I really wanted some cider. Sadly they did not have any available, very disapointing. Although David loved their porter beer.

With so many options for dinner we agonised over where to go. In the end I'm not sure we chose wisely. We picked Chelawasi - with great reviews for their burgers and craft beer. The beer was ok, not as good as the Red Lion. They did have cider, unfortunately not to my taste. One was ok but lacking in flavour, the other was passionfruit and sickly sweet. The food wasn't what we'd hoped for either. We didn't really enjoy the chicken wings, there was nothing wrong with them, again it was just personal taste. They also got our order wrong, serving just one burger and fries for the two of us. I actually have no idea how they messed this up. The lady serving us was lovely and I've no doubt she would have hurried to get another burger cooked if we'd asked. But that would mean us eating separately which we didn't want to do, so we just shared. The burger was fine, nothing special but nothing wrong with it either. I didn't care for the fries much, and out of the six sauces they served we only liked one. All in all rather a shame as I don't think we're that fussy. Just unfortunate that their tastes and ours didn't match.

Given that we'd only had half a dinner each we felt justified in popping to another place we'd had our eye on, Chara Tacos. A small taco each didn't seem too greedy and they were only seven soles each, with a juice. This was much more satisfactory and cheered us up. Then it was a stroll over the road to Brujas, where they seemed pleased to see us. We had a couple of large beers each then headed back.

Nice as Ariquipa is, we were keen to get out and see some of the surrounding countryside. We found details of a hike to the suburb of Cayma. It was ok. We've been so spoilt with the Sacred Valley and Colca that it was never really going to match up. But at least we got some exercise.

We'd enjoyed our Indian food fix, so spotting another Indian restaurant online we decided to take advantage of it while we could. Unfortunately after a 40 minute walk we found it had shut down. Another 40 minutes took us back to the centre of town. By this time we were hot and knackered and just took the easiest option of going back to India Indian Cusine. Actually a good choice. This time we had the chicken (which was much better than the lamb) and it was a very tasty meal.

Arequipa is a nice city with plenty of food and drink options. We both liked it, but it was never going to match up to the wonderful countryside we'd left behind. It's definitely a worthwhile stop if you are in the area, but if not, I'd say it isn't unmissable.

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