Two years ago, Donna and I were slated to go to Machu Picchu in South Central Peru.  Machu Picchu is the iconic home of a pre-Columbian Inca nation.  However, in the week before we were to leave, Machu Picchu and the surrounding area was inundated with torrential rains.  The Bingham road was washed out in parts and nearly 2,000 visitors were stranded (they had to be helicoptered out).  What to do. . . .

The question was – do we head for Buenos Aires or do we try to go somewhere else in Peru.  We decided to go to the second most populous (though infrequently visited) city in Peru — Arequipa.  All I can say is “Wow.”  It was too bad that Machu Picchu was rained out but it was oh so good to make the choice we did.  

We stayed in a beautiful hotel — the Casa Andina.   It is the largest hotel in Arequipa.  And we stayed for 3 nights.  Traveling around the city and seeing the sites (e.g. the truly amazing Santa Catalina Monastery where 450 nuns lived).  And trying new and really unique restaurants.  We dined once in the hotel (wonderful) and at a place down the street — Zig Zag Restaurant (sat upstairs).  Wow!  Want an experience?  Go to — or plan to get stuck in — Arequipa.  Pretty special.   Oh – and yes – I would go back. . . .         

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