Things to Do in Arequipa
Arequipa offers a range of interesting activities for travelers with varied interests and we recommend one or two days in the city to see all the main sights. Below is a roundup of the top things to do in Arequipa.
Santa Catalina monastery is the pride of Arequipa and often considered the key sight. A city within the city, this expansive 29,426 square meter convent was founded in 1580 and is a masterpiece of Colonial architectural design. Absorb the incredible colors that decorate the walls as you weave through the maze of gardens, artwork, and historic rooms.
Santa Teresa convent is a fascinating ‘living museum’ where nuns still dwell and worship. Built in 1710 the building is beautiful and historic, with rooms adorned with colonial art older than the convent itself. Aracari can arrange for expert guiding by one of our top Peru specialists– the convent’s Museum Director of Viceregal artwork and the current Director of Culture in Arequipa, Franz Grupp.
Plaza de Armas:
Explore one of the most impressive main squares in Peru, the Cathedral, and neighboring streets. Check out the view from atop Katari hotel, perfectly situated directly opposite the Cathedral. A small minimum spend applies to access their rooftop bar.
A Jesuit church that is a unique example of American baroque architecture with a wonderfully intricate facade illustrated with local motifs and a superb polychrome chapel dome.
Santuarios Andinos Museum:
The museum where the body of Juanita, a frozen girl, is on display. Uncovered atop Ampato Mountain in 1995, Juanita was a teenage girl sacrificed to the Inca gods in the 1400s and is eerily well-preserved. The museum also displays artifacts from the burial site to portray the importance of the sacrificial ceremony.
Ruta del Sillar:
On the outskirts of the city is a route composed of canteras, or quarries, where to this day workmen manually carve blocks of the iconic volcanic stone, sillar, that constructs the casonas, churches, and famous buildings of the city center. Visit the workmen and learn about the carving techniques that gave Arequipa the nickname, the White City.
Food in Arequipa:
Visit one of the best restaurants Arequipa and explore the delicious Arequipeño food. Arequipa is home to some of the most traditional Peruvian dishes thanks to its location half way between the coast and the heights of the Andes, which result in a wide array of ingredients. Don’t miss tyring ‘rocoto relleno’, a classic dish from Arequipa.
How to Get to Arequipa
Arequipa is easily accessed. You can fly directly to or from Lima on a 1.5 hour flight. There are also direct daily flights to and from Cusco on local airlines (though they tend to leave Cusco very early in the morning). Arequipa is a 4hr drive from the nearby Colca Canyon, another major attraction in Peru. From Colca, it is possible to drive to or from Lake Titicaca in a few hours. The luxury sleeper train Belmond Andean Explorer connects Cusco, Arequipa and Puno with a three day and two night itinerary.
When to Visit
Arequipa boasts dry and temperate climate year round, making a trip to the White City favorable during any season. If you’re worried about rain, you are better suited to travel during the known dry season, April-November, as other months could see scattered showers.
Contact us to plan a tailormade trip to Arequipa and Peru.