Arequipa is the second most populated city in Peru, after the capital city, Lima, and also plays an important role in Peru’s tourist trade, being the third most visited city after Lima and Cusco. The city sits high above sea level, like many South American cities, and is surrounded by volcanoes. Expatriates living in Arequipa will notice its heavy Spanish influences in architecture, food and culture. The historical city center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, blends a mix of indigenous and European styles. Expats interested in learning more about Arequipa’s long history can while away hours in a variety of museums in the city, including the Virtual Hall of Arequipa, the Archaeological Museum of the University of St. Augustine, the Museum of Natural History and the Regional Museum of the Central Reserve Bank. Expatriates preferring the outdoors can celebrate the ‘city of the eternal blue sky’ by making use of Arequipa’s 26 hectares of green spaces and 22 acres of countryside.
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Expats moving to Arequipa will notice many buildings in the Yanahuara District made from ‘sillar’. ‘Sillar’ is a pearly white volcanic rock which was used historically since it was found to be soft, lightweight and weatherproof. The number of historic buildings made from sillar throughout the city has earned it its nickname of the ‘White City’. When choosing where to settle in Arequipa, expats may like to consider getting in touch with other expatriates living in Arequipa to help them decide which area of the city to move to. The Yanahuara District is well known for its sillar buildings and Andalusian style churches, Cayma Villa is buzzing with taverns and affords beautiful views, while Yura boasts thermal baths with water coming from inside the Chachani volcano. Expats in Arequipa can use the discussion groups and forums at InterNations to find information on neighborhoods, housing and even storage from other expats living in the area.
Arequipa is an important economical hub in Peru. As the second most industrialized city in the whole country after the capital city, Lima, Arequipa holds a key role in Peru’s progression. An Industrial Park was built in the city in the 1960s; a nod to Arequipa’s growing economy. As well as commerce and construction, Arequipa has a rich, high quality wool trade and maintains close ties with its South American neighbors, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil. From 2003 – 2008, Arequipa was the city with greatest economic growth in Latin America, according to a 2009 report. An expat looking to work in Arequipa can network with other expats on the forums at InterNations and find essential information on visas, finance and other topics, making relocation that little bit easier.