Arequipa is known as the white city and it has some of the most beautiful architecture in Peru. It’s a delightful city with a very relaxed vibe, and it’s certainly worth a few days of your time. There are a variety of interesting attractions and some fantastic regional food. Here are the best things to do in Arequipa!
1. Visit Santa Catalina Monastery
The city’s best attraction is a monastery that has been home to cloistered nuns since the 16th-century. The walled monastery feels like a city within a city, and the red walls make for great photo opportunities. It opens at 9 AM and it’s best to go early for optimal lighting to appreciate the colors.
2. Hike in the Colca Canyon
The world’s second deepest canyon is great for hiking and spotting condors. It’s a 4-hour drive from Arequipa and there are two ways to visit. You can take a day tour, which is not recommended because you will spend most of the day driving. The better option is to take 2-3 days to hike through the canyon while stopping off in the villages along the way.
3. learn About the Tradition of Sacrifice
Visit Museo Sanctuarios Andinos to learn about the ancient Andean tradition of sacrificing kids on top of mountains. You can even see the preserved body of Juanita, who was sacrificed in the 1500s.
4. Feed Alpacas at Mundo Alpaca
Alpacas might be the cutest animal I’ve ever seen, and feeding them is as fun as you would imagine. At Mundo Alpaca you can feed alpacas, learn about their life, and buy some alpaca clothing.
5. Go on a Free Walking Tour
Learn about the history of Arequipa and how volcanoes and earthquakes influenced the city’s architecture. Free Tour Downtown Arequipa gives a fantastic tour.
6. Eat at a Picantería
These day time restaurants serving regional cuisine have kept their traditions and close by 6 PM every day. The regional food in Arequipa is delicious and La Nueva Palomino is a great choice to try the rocoto relleno.
7. Visit the Cathedral of Arequipa
This cathedral made of volcanic rock is the focal point of the Plaza de Armas and its construction started in 1540. You can visit for free during the daily prayer hour, and it’s mandatory to wear pants to enter.
8. Watch the sunset from a rooftop
The sunsets in Arequipa are simply spectacular. Arequipa Suites Plaza Hotel is the perfect place to have a pisco sour and watch the sunset with views of the mountains in the background.
9. Visit Monasterio y Museo de la Recoleta
Arequipa’s less famous monastery is worth a visit for the variety of things you can see for S/10. Here you’ll find cloisters, Inca artifacts, a church with a bell tower you can climb, a 17th-century library, an art collection, and strangely an exhibit on Amazonian birds.
10. Eat Queso Helado at San Camilo Market
Queso helado is a delicious regional ice cream and despite its name, it does not contain cheese. The best in town can be found at Doña Rosa on the second floor of the San Camilo Market.
That wraps up the 10 best things to do in Arequipa!
Where to Next
Bookaway is a great resource that allows you to compare the prices of both buses and flights, and secure your seat in advance!
Puno – Spend a night with a local family on one of Lake Titicaca’s islands.
Cusco – One of the continent’s gems is a hiker’s paradise full of incredible Inca ruins.
Huacachina – A desert oasis with the country’s coolest adventure activity and pisco tastings.
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