South America is a beautiful place to visit, but like every other place, the countries within South America have differences.
During my trip to Arequipa, I learned a few things that helped me throughout my journey and hopefully will help you during your time in Arequipa.
1. You can plug your electronics into the wall sockets.
Before you go plugging everything in on your next visit to Arequipa, be sure that your electronic can handle a 220v. You can find this information on the back of the plugs of your electronics. My laptop and cellphone chargers can both handle 220v.
2. Drivers do not stop at the stop sign.
Whenever you see a sign that says ‘Pare’ (stop), then do not cross the street if a car is coming. Drivers speed through the stop signs without caring who is on the street.
3. Do not take valuables outside.
Arequipa is filled with poor people and unfortunately many are robbers. If they see you with a nice camera or a semi expensive watch, they will try to rob you. So leave your valuables at home and make sure to put your money in your pocket.
4. Take a safe taxi during your visit.
Back in the 90’s, people would take any taxi they wanted. Now you have to be careful regarding which taxi you take. Even if the car has a sign that says taxi, it doesn’t necessarily make it safe. I have heard stories of people getting kidnapped and robbed in taxi’s. So before going out call a taxi or use one of the recommended taxis below.
You also want to make sure that they have their taxi documents.
5. Expect crazy driving
If you are taking a taxi, expect sharp turns, speeding, being face to face with an incoming vehicle, bouncing during speed bumps and very narrow streets.
6. You will see sheep on the side of the road.
While on a drive around Arequipa, I got to see a herd of sheep and cows walking around. This is something I never see in the U.S. so it was very interesting to see this.
7.Vicuñas, Alpacas and Llamas will spit in your face
If you get too close to one of these lovely animals, they will spit in your face. I have been lucky to not get spit on when taking a selfie with a llama, but my boyfriend was not.
8. Some Peruvians speak both Spanish and Quechua.
Not many Peruvians know English, but they do know Quechua. It is not as common as it used to be, but my taxi driver sure knew how to speak Quechua.
Quechua word of the day: Chaska (Pronunciation: Chas-kuh) – This means star.
9. Alcohol in the Arequipa airport is much cheaper than the alcohol in the U.S.
Whenever I go to Peru, I always make it a point to buy alcohol to bring back to the U.S. Its not against the law as long as you follow their guidelines regarding alcohol. However, during my time in Arequipa, I realized that the alcohol in the Duty Free stores were cheap as well. So the next time you pay a visit to Peru and want alcohol to take home, go to the Duty Free store and look at their specials.
10. Do not drink water from the faucet.
This goes for any place you go to. Do not drink water from the faucet, until you know it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, it is not safe to drink water from the faucet in Peru. If you want water, make sure to filter the water or buy bottled water.
Arequipa is a beautiful place and as long as you know these few tips, your trip will be a great experience.