Location: Arequipa Department is located in southern Peru stretching between the coast and the Andes
Extension: 63345 km2
Capital: Arequipa (2335 m)
Height: lowest: 9 m (Punta de Bombon) highest: 4525 m (San Antonio de Chuca)
Climate: Arequipa city has a temperate and semi-arid climate,with an average temperature of 21.7° C (71° F) and a minimum of 6.9°C (44.4 ºF). The rainy season is from January to March.
By Land: Lima-Arequipa: 1003 km by the Panamerican Highway (about 14 hours)
By Plane: By far the easiest way to get to Arequipa is by plane, landing in Rodríguez Ballón airport (IATA: AQP), 8km from the city. LanPerú, Aero Condor and Star Perú fly from Lima, Juliaca and Cuzco. Hostal Solar provides airport transfer from airport and bus terminal.
A testimony of the first inhabitants of the region dating back 8000 years was left in the form of rock art. Among the many groups who lived in Arequipa, the Collaguas are of special interest because of their excellent weaving ability.
The name Arequipa comes from an ancient legend that says the Head Inca, Mayta Capac, was passing through with his soldiers and decided to stay. When the Inca ordered his soldiers to leave, some of his soldiers asked him for the permission to stay. The Inca responded in Quechua, "ari quepay ", meaning : " yes, stay".
In August 15, 1540, Garci Manuel de Carbajal and about 100 Spaniards discovered the city of Arequipa, while on a mission to expand the Spanish empire under the orders of Francisco Pizarro. Because of its location near the mountain pass at the base of Misti Volcano, the city was inundated with Spaniards and their descendants still have a major presence to this day.
During the Republic, Arequipa was the cradle of revolutionary political events and the home to many confrontations between numerous political revolutionaries of the XIX century such us : Francisco Javier de Luna Pizarro, president of the congress, and Nicolás de Piérola, a revolutionary and president of Peru. They are just two examples of the outstanding figures that were born in this department.
In the XIX century, Arequipa became an important export center for ewe and alpaca wool to England, enabling consolidation of its economic strength within the country. Presently, Arequipa keeps its economic leadership and has become the center of the commerce and industry in the Southern part of the country.