Arequipa is a nice city, surrounded by 5 volcanos, being the biggest El Misti, which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. The vibe is similar to Cuzco with lots of backpackers everywhere, a bit quiter maybe. There is a free tour but i don’t recommend it, it’s quite comercial, taking you to stores and restaurants and not passing in important places, as Plaza de Armas, for instance. We stayed in the Wild Rover for 25 soles (20 reais), good place if you want to party, they have parties almost every day until 1:30, and after that they take you to some club to keep partying.
For vegetarians there is a great deal, Mandala, in la calle Jerusalen, #207, with set menu (soup+main course+tea) for 7 soles (4 reais).
Cañon del Colca is close to Arequipa and it’s awesome! You can go either with an agency or by yourself, i did with agency but if i knew how it was a would have done it by myself. If you’re doing by yourself, get a bus to Cabanaconde and ask for the driver where is start of the way. The trails are wide open and there are lots of natives and groups doing the way. If you’re used to trekkings you can do it in 2 days, otherwise do it in 3, the first day is quite a walk down hill (nearly 3 hours) and the second day 3 hours up, really steep. During the walk you cross lots of pueblos, if you’re doing by yourself you can just sleep in any of them. The sights are great, beautiful views and if you’re lucky you can see condor’s flying. Great opportunity to get in contact with nature and local people!
If you want to do with an agency, i do recommend the one i did, Wayna Travel Agency, Portal San Augustin #145. It was 110 soles for the tour, plus 40 soles park entrance, 20 soles the free buffet lunch in the last day (two breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner included) and 15 soles if you want to go to the hot springs in the second day. The staff and guide were great, and they have vegetarian options in all the meals.