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Arequipa is one of my favorite cities in Peru, but it still doesn’t have as many travelers around as it deserves. It’s a beautiful colonial city and what makes it unique is that it’s built from silllar, a white or pink volcanic stone. That’s why it’s sometimes called the White City. Arequipa is surrounded by four snow-covered volcanoes, the most dominant being El Misti, Chachani, Pichu Pichu, and Ampato. The historical center of Arequipa is a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How to get there?

There are many flights from Lima (LATAM, Sky Airline), Cusco (LATAM), or Juliaca (Sky Airline), but you can fly also directly from Santiago de Chile (JetSmart).
You can get to Arequipa by bus, as well, from Lima (16-18 hours), Cusco (8 hours), Ica (12 hours), Puno (6 hours), Nazca (8-10 hours), Tacna (5 hours), La Paz in Bolivia and Chile. There is also an option to take a train (PeruRail) from Juliaca or Puno.
A taxi from the bus station in Arequipa to the center should cost around S/10 and from the airport around S/20.

1. Plaza de Armas

This is definitely one of the most beautiful squares in the whole of Peru, for me. It’s a grand square with a fountain in the middle, palm trees, lush gardens, and a dominant cathedral surrounded by cafes and restaurants with the best view of the square. I love hanging around and compare to Plaza de Armas in Cusco, there are not that many street vendors, it feels a bit more European and you can enjoy the atmosphere.

2. Basilica Cathedral

A dominant of Plaza de Armas, a colonial cathedral and Catholic church built from sillar stands with the background of the iconic volcanoes El Misti and Chachani. You can even get inside the majestic church during a mass from 8 am – 10 am and from 4 am – 6 pm, but always ask the security about the current opening hours. Inside, you can see the largest organ consider in South America. There is also the Museum of the Cathedral, where you can take a 45-minute tour, where you will see the art collection, the roof, and the bell towers.


Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Price of the ticket: S/10

3. Santa Catalina Monastery

A must-see place in Arequipa is actually “a city” built in the city. This large complex is built just a few blocks from the main square and has these typical colorful buildings, blue and red. You can get inside and walk around that will take you around 1-2 hours. You will see the picturesque plazas, the old rooms of nuns, the gardens, and the old pool or kitchens. There is an option to take a guided tour, but you can get around by yourself. You can book a ticket online here, or buy a virtual tour through a 45-minutes video called “Open door between two worlds”.


Opening Times: Monday – Sunday: 9 am-5 pm (last entrance is at 4 pm)
Price of the ticket: S/40 (foreigners from 7 to 21 years old – S/20)

4. Mundo Alpaca

Arequipa is also considered the world’s alpaca capital and this, free of cost, museum of alpaca is the best place to show it. You will see the process of sorting the fiber right in the museum, which materials are used to paint the wool, and the techniques to make the typical Peruvian textiles. The live demonstrations of weaving by women from the Andes will remind you how rich the textile culture of Peru has.

There is also the Museum of Textile Machinery, the only alpaca factory in Peru of this type (unfortunately due to the pandemic is closed now). And I can’t forget to mention, you can take a photo with alpacas and lamas in their garden. And trust me, some of them will get pretty close!

If you have ever walked around the Peruvian cities, you might have noticed the boutique stores Sol Alpaca. This exclusive factory-outlet store comes from Mundo Alpaca as well and you will find one on the front side of this place. If you are interested in camelids, farming, and processing the wools here you can find some more info.


Opening Times:
Monday to Friday:  8:30 am-6:30 pm
Saturday:  9 am-6:30 pm
Sunday:  9 am-5:30 pm

5. Barrio de San Lázaro

I just love walking around this neighborhood, it has a special atmosphere, and being there will take you back in time. These houses are considered the oldest in Arequipa which goes back to the year around 1540.

6. San Camilo market

The biggest and the oldest market in the city, you will find literally everything you need. The building was designed by Gustave Eiffel but was destroyed by the earthquake. It’s cleaner than in Cusco, but also a bit more expensive. You can’t forget to try some local Arequipa cuisine, like different tamales, Adobo Arequipeño, Rocoto Relleno, potato cake, or chicharron. We also made a video about the street food in Arequipa including the market tour.

Opening Times: Monday to Sunday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM

7. Yanahuara

A pretty popular neighborhood overlooking the city. The iconic spot, The Mirador De Yanahuara, is right at the beginning with the huge arches and the view of the majestic El Misti. If you went to San Blas in Cusco you could find some similarities here. Don’t forget to grab a queso helado (an ice cream made of condensed milk, shredded coconut, and sprinkled with cinnamon), or picarones and sit in a beautiful park surrounded by palm trees.


8. Museo Santuarios Andinos

You can’t skip this place if you want to know a bit more about history. In the museum, there is a frozen mummy of a 14-year-old Inca girl called Juanita that was found on the top of the Ampato volcano. It’s the only mummy that has been well-preserved from Inca time and used as an offering to the Inca gods in the 15 century. In the museum, there are also ceramics, metals, textiles, and organics that were typical in Inca times. However, you can’t take a photo of the mummy.

Source: fernandolizamamurphy.com

Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am – 4 pm 
Price for the ticket: S/15

9. Fundo El Fierro

It’s a handcraft fair in the heart of Arequipa, that preserves traditional artisanal techniques. The sellers are usually families and parents who teach their kids the old techniques to keep their cultural identity. That’s why every piece has a “soul of Arequipeñas hands.”


Opening Times: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

So this is my list of 9 best places to visit in Arequipa (I know the number 10 looks better, but I didn’t want to add one more place just to round the list up), however, since you’ve scrolled all the way down here is a map with other places in the city if you are staying longer.

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