Quick, name Peru’s second largest city! Six months ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue. Even last month as I was cycling through Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city, I was thinking, “when I come through Cusco I’ll have visited the three biggest cities in Peru.” Well, I am not riding through Cusco and but did reach Arequipa today. Not an extremely difficult ride, with only 50 kilometers and a little over 1100m (3500ft) of climbing.
On the outskirts of El Cruce, there was a cactus farm.
A short while later, the road split and Pan American Highway continues south to Tacna. I took the left road up and over the hill.
It was a nice road with not as much traffic as one might expect approaching a city of nearly a million people.
As I got closer, I could see one of the volcanos that loom over Arequipa.
There were several weird splits in the road. I would get out my Android map application and sort out the best choice.
Nice to reach the city outskirts itself!
The main road turned out to be a construction mess. I walked past parts of this construction and slowly found myself to middle of the city. Another nice hotel recommendation from my Uncle Gerard. Right downtown and not too expensive.
Plan is to spend a rest day or two here and make sure all is in top shape for the climb from here (2300m, 7500ft) up to the Altiplano (4500m, 14,800ft pass and about 500m lower for the plateau). I first went looking for a bike shop, since figure it can be good to get a service. The Specialized shop was closed for afternoon siesta.
The other one nearby was also closed.
Went to nearby mall. The food court had a “Texas” restaurant.
After lunch (not at Texas), I went back and investigated the Specialized shop and then brought my bike there for service. Otherwise plan is to visit an outdoor shop or two. I think I have all the camping and cold-weather gear I need but doesn’t hurt to browse and see what else is there.
Arequipa is otherwise a touristy place with many “Tourist Info” shops selling bus tours and trekking tours in nearby areas. Otherwise a nice comfortable place to get everything set up for ~2000km riding from here up and over the Altiplano.