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Lost in the labyrinth of Arequipa's Sta. Catalina monastery

For most travelers, the white city of Arequipa is the default R&R destination in Peru. I was very grateful to have arrived in the city. Finally the altitude is not so bad, the weather is milder & hopefully the prices not as much. As the bus was driving in at night, there were soo many city lights it reminded me of Las Vegas(US). I was kind of expecting Arequipa to be this small little quaint town. Nope! Its actually the 2nd biggest Peruvian city after Lima. I got into their terreste terminal, tried to get my bearings (which pretty much just means waiting for a tout to sell me a hotel). I found their tourist office & got a room at the local Pirwa. Anyway, about Sta. Catalina- it is gorgeous! As soon as I walked in their 'Silencio' plaza, I was in love with the place!


Highlights: Beautiful architecture! I love how they decorated this place. It seems like each potted plant underwent careful selection & is delicately placed at just the right windowsill.  I am going to have my own villa someday & it will look something like this. Philippines was under Spain for a few centuries so I'm excused with the Spanish architecture.  
Cast of Characters: Just me. Arequipa is a nice place for solo travelers. It's a normal city. Local's lives don't revolve around tourists. Its a good balance of being busy & laid back at the same time. Just like everywhere else in the world, I blend in & look like a local. I tried a bit of Spanish while buying an empanada & I almost got away with it until I had to order a couple more Inca cola. 
Logistics/ Linkstheir website, wiki.
When: I was exploring Arequipa during the later part of May, 2012. Beautiful time to go!
Location: Sta. Catalina is a few blocks off of Arequipa's Plaza de Armas. Peru.
Cost: ~$14 entrance fee
Trip Report: Sta. Catalina monastery was built to accommodate only the wealthiest ladies for life in the convent. Dang! I would go be a nun if it meant living in this place. It's really a city in the city. They have streets, mini plazas, their own little homes, church, everything they need. It was only a few centuries later when they reformed their policies to allow women from all walks of life to join. This is probably the highlight of my trip to Arequipa. It takes at least 2 hrs to explore the monastery. The place is beautiful!
Entrance into the monastery

Love these corridors






The convent is built like a small town with a lot of apartments. Each unit has its own kitchen, sleeping area, bathroom & courtyard. This is what one of the smaller kitchens look like. There's a water filter contraption by the door.

Love this beautiful white lane

Even the plants look nice!





This is their central laundry area.

Gorgeousness
 


I wish I could capture that mountain beyond better. It looks great when you're actually there

I was exploring one of the courtyards. It was very peaceful. This little hummingbird just flew in & went from flower to flower. It was just ignoring me as I photographing it like crazy.
 

You can climb up to the top of the church & get a nice view of the monastery & the city.

This plant just does not want to be touched.


Sta Catalina monastery, Arequipa, Peru






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