Known as the “White City” for its incredible architectural ensemble left over from the colonial period, charming Arequipa has cultural, historical and natural attractions.

The second largest city in Peru houses attractions and buildings that can be considered true treasures of the colonial period in the country and is located in a privileged location surrounded by attractions and surreal scenarios that need to be explored in a longer trip to the country.

arequipa It is approximately 480 km from Cusco, in a region of desert landscapes and surrounded by gigantic volcanoes that can be observed from practically all sides of the charming city. Also known as the white city, arequipa It is marked by cultural, architectural and religious richness. Its historic center is considered by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity and houses wonderful constructions based on ashlar, a white stone of volcanic origin.

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The best place to start discovering the surprises that the destination has in store is at the charming Plaza de Armas, where some of the most important and famous tourist attractions in arequipa. The square is surrounded by arches and important buildings, such as the Iglesia de la Companhia and the Cathedral of Arequipa, built in the same year as the foundation of arequipa in 1540, the background is the Misti Volcano with more than 6,000 meters high.

Reserve at least one afternoon to learn a little about the history of arequipa and discover some museums that are located around the Plaza de Armas, especially the Museo Santuarios Andinos, where the Dama de Ampato is located, an Inca mummy of a girl aged between 12 and 14 years old who was sacrificed to the gods and left in the snowy mountains at the around the city, there are about 500 and found on top of the Ampato volcano.

What to do in Arequipa

Photo: via Flickr – _renee_

Santa Catalina Monastery

This is without a doubt the most important attraction in Arequipa, the Monasterio de Monjas Privado de la Orden de Santa Catalina de Siena was founded in 1579 and has such a large area that it practically functions as a small town, protected by a large wall.

The place is home to nuns from the region who until 1970 spent their entire lives cloistered inside the monastery. After the Pope's visit to the site, they decided to open part of their premises to the public.

Arequipa Cathedral

The Cathedral of Arequipa is one of the most imposing buildings in Arequipa, the church has been rebuilt a few times in the last few centuries due to five earthquakes that shook the city. The cathedral is open to the public but closes between 12:00 and 15:30.

Archaeological Museum of the San Agustín University

In the museum visitors will find numerous archaeological artifacts including objects from pre-Hispanic peoples, such as Nazca, Inca and Tinawaku and pieces from the colonial period.

Courtyard of the Church of the Company of Jesus

The patio can be visited during a tour of downtown Arequipa, the space has some very cozy restaurants and on the second floor there is a viewpoint where you can see part of the city and three volcanoes: El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu.

Yanahuara viewpoint

The place has the most beautiful view of the city's main postcard, the Misti volcano. The viewpoint is next to the main square of Yanahuara, 2 km from the city center, the square has a small fair of local handicrafts open daily.

Canyon del Colca

The Colca Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the country and is 4160 meters high. The site receives many visitors who seek to observe the flight of the Andean condors, birds with dimensions that can exceed three meters between one wing and the other.

Other tourist attractions in Arequipa:

  • Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
  • Convent of Santa Teresa and Museum of Colonial Art
  • La Recoleta Monastery
  • Villalobos House Museum
  • Arequipa Museum of Contemporary Art
  • El Misti Volcano
  • Pichu Pichu Volcano
  • National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca
  • La Mansion del Fundador
  • Carmen Alto viewpoint

How to get to Arequipa

Photo: via Flickr – miroab

By airplane
This is the easiest way to get to Arequipa, flights land at Rodriguez Ballon Airport (AQP), 8 kilometers from the Center.

By bus
Cusco is connected to numerous major highways in the country, and can be reached from Lima, Nazca, Puno and Cusco. Distance from main cities:
Cusco to Arequipa: 625km
Lima to Arequipa: 1,020km
Puno to Arequipa: 325km

Best time to visit Arequipa

Photo: Véronique Debord Lazaro

The climate in this region of Peru is very stable and pleasant. Arequipa has a dry climate throughout the year and its temperatures do not exceed 25°C and rarely fall below 10°C. If you want to visit the volcanoes that are around Arequipa, don't forget to bring extra clothing and a windbreaker, to protect yourself from the winds at high altitudes. The best time to visit the city is during the winter, between the months of April to September, when the days are the sunniest and the temperatures are milder.

Where to stay in Arequipa

Photo: Disclosure

The center of Arequipa, more precisely around the Plaza de Armas, is without a doubt the best place to stay in Arequipa. THE Katari Hotel at Plaza de Armas it's the Palla Boutique Hotel, are two luxurious options, which have rooms and common areas, with the best views of this region of the city. Other more economical options, but no less cozy, are the The Portal of San Lazaro it's the Count of Lemos Arequipa.

already the Le Foyer Hostel it's the Uspalay Hostel are very well rated by backpackers and solo travelers, who pass through the charming city.

Find accommodation in Arequipa here.

» Discover the Colca Canyon in Arequipa, Peru
» Far beyond Machu Picchu: Inca ruins near Cusco
» How to get to Machu Picchu
» Nazca Lines Peru's Most Mysterious Attraction

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