From Arequipa, the coolest place to visit is probably Colca Canyon, once labeled as the world's deepest canyon until they discovered the one nearby is a little deeper. Either way, at it's deepest point it is over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA
. We ended up renting a 4x4 Toyota for the trip since we couldn't find out if tour agencies would be operating the day before Christmas. Tim and I split the cost of the vehicle rental with Lucia and Amanda from Costa Rica and Lawrence from England. For me, it was my first time driving again in almost 2 years...even though my license has long been stolen and expired.
We spent Christmas at the hostel with 3 dozen other international travelers before heading off the next morning with Lucia and Amanda to Bolivia...the girls were headed that way and I need to cross the border and pay a fine for over staying my 90 day visa for Peru. When I return, I should get another full 90 days in my passport... if they don't give me a hard time about overstaying the first time that is.
After doing the Nazca lines, Tim and I made our way south to Arequipa, Peru's 2nd largest city. We arrived off a night bus early in the morning and feeling somewhat rested from the 10 hour trip, we headed off to explore downtown after checking into the sister hostel of the one I work at in Lima. While exploring and photographing downtown, we heard about a 400 year old monastery that was a sort of party convent for nuns for a couple centuries until they cracked down. The monastery is famous for its mystery of 400 years of seclusion from the outside world. It was only opened to the public in 1970. It is the size of one entire city block and is literally a city within a city.