Arequipa Tour: 2 surprising curiosities about this destination!

by giardinotoursperu
Arequipa Tours

The famous “White City” of Arequipa enjoys Its own currency and special passport.

If you travel to Perú and you will visit the white city of Arequipa; you have to know that in “few cities of the world” there are people that love so much their land as the “Arequipeños”.

First you should know that those born in Arequipa are called “Characatos” and here we explain you why.

Characato is the name of one of the most popular and traditional districts of the city and is the origin of many customs and cultural expressions typical of the city. In Arequipa, it is considered that a “Characato” is a very hardworking person, who is always in a good mood and loyal to his traditions. Also this is a person that raises its voice to greet its friends and family or to welcome visitors and always offering, as an act of friendship, a glass of good Chicha (Typical Drink made of fermented corn).

Moreover, the characato is a person proud to have been born at the foot of not one, but three volcanoes: the Misti, the Chachani and the Pichu Pichu. “This is the reason why each characato (Arequipeño) is unique and special in the world” Then, you shouldn’t be surprised that the people born in Arequipa say that they don’t get angry, they, erupt as a volcano because in their veins flow “volcanic blood”


Another interesting detail is that the “Characato” is mainly manifested in the character of the “loncco”, a person that lives and work in the countryside of the city and speaks with a mixture of quechuismos (Quechua is the name of the Inca’s language) and barbarisms, which makes him a unique character in every sense.

Initially the expression “loncco” was used to point that work tools that had lost the edge of their edges. This word “Loncco” also began to be used to point out people who did not work well or were not so talented to work in the field. With the time that word “Loncco” became popular in Arequipa to point to the “chacarero” (Man who works in the field) a rude and tough man who lives in the countryside; a hardworking person that always speaks loudly.

Here some typical expressions of a “Loncco”
  • Alalau: Expression that means that it is very cold.
  • Acacau: when something burns or is very hot.
  • Atatau: Feeling that something produces disgust.
  • Calincha: A girl who behaves like a boy.
  • Chascoso(a): Someone who hasn’t combed his/her hair.

Seeing all these points doesn’t surprise too that Arequipa is the only city in Peru that has its own currency “the Golden Characato” and its own “Passport”. These two acts have no legal value in Peru but certainly allow us to understand the originality of the Arequipeños and this spirit to feel that they are unique.


The passport of the “Independent Republic of Arequipa” is one of the most requested souvenirs by national and international tourists and the “Characato de oro” permit us to enjoy a souvenir of a “currency” that “never devalues”.

The Arequipa Passport:

The Passport: The passport of the “Independent Republic of Arequipa” originated during the war PerúChile. At the time that Lima was occupied by the invading army, Arequipa city was declared capital of the Republic and immediately the passport was established as a security measure. But today the passport is a document without any legal value and is a souvenir where you can read inside of its pages funny and typical Arequipeño phrases. You can also custo

The “Characato de Oro”:

Details of the “golden characato”: The Golden Characato is a currency typical from Arequipa and was born as a sign of gratitude to all its visitors. It is printed with the figure of a “loncco” (Now you know what means “loncco”) and the Misti volcano. The “Golden Characato is so important for the locals that the first day that open to the market; the “Characatos” were sold out.
mize it by typing your name and personal data. They have become so famous and popular that it is already part of the local culture.

Arequipa Tours
Arequipa Tours

As you see; Arequipa is not only a must-see destination in Perú for its beautiful colonial architecture, its incredible landscapes and its exquisite gastronomy; it offers an endless number of cultural traditions and the incomparable human warmth and hospitality of the characatos!

Ready to visit Arequipa?

We are waiting for you…. 🙂

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