Despite being Peru's second largest city, Arequipa is peaceful and tranquil, and its winding white streets soon start to feel like home. From culinary excursions to outdoor adventures, Arequipa is filled with every variety of activities and excursions, so you will never be bored while exploring "The White City." Arequipa was given this nickname because the entirety of the historic city center is built from beautiful while sillar stone, making it a UNESCO World Heritage site, but also making it the perfect place for scenic afternoon walks and city explorations.
THINGS TO DO
Whether you are interested in Andean culture, city sightseeing, or exploring the local markets, Arequipa will never leave you bored.
Come check out one of the many museums located in Arequipa. Visit Museo Santuarios Andinos to learn more about Andean culture, or visit the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo or the Casa Museo Mario Vargas Llosa if you are more interested in art and literature.
Spend an afternoon people watching in the beautiful white-stone Plaza de Armas. Eat lunch on the steps of the cathedral, and take an afternoon tour of the cathedral and the towers, both of which are filled with ancient art and Peruvian history.
Get a view of the city framed by beautiful white arcs from the Mirador de Yanahuara, just a short walk from the city center. Go during the day for a view of Misti, or go at night to see the city and the towers of the Plaza de Armas lit up with golden streetlight.
Spend an afternoon exploring the 20,000 sq. meters of Monasterio Santa Catalina. Founded in 1580, the monastery is an impressive citadel-esque structure. Wander around alone or hire a guide to learn more about the monastery's history.
Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa's most famous open-air market, is a sensory overload. Packed with stalls selling everything from fresh fish to sun hats, order a fresh-squeezed juice and take a walk through the bustling aisles to see what grocery shopping can be like in Peru.
LA PLAZA DE
MIRADOR DE YANAHUARA
MONASTERIO SANTA CATALINA
MERCADO SAN CAMILO
Areequipa is a culinary dream. Whether you like sweet or savory, plant-based or meat-filled, test your taste buds at the countless restaurants and delectable street stalls that crowd Arequipa's white-stone streets.
A dish that originated in Peru, ceviche is a dish made of raw fish cured in fresh lime juice. While it may sounds a little strange, it makes for a refreshing lunch after a morning or hot Arequipa sun.
If you like spicy food, try Arequipa's infamous rocot relleno. The Peruvian take on a stuffed pepper, this dish is modeled after Misti, the volcano that overlooks Arequipa. The red, spicy rocot pepper represents the heat of the volcano, and the melted cheese on top represents the snow that often tops the iconic volcano.
If you have a sweet tooth, you will love that Peru is one of the world's largest producers of Cacao. Come and learn about how chocolate is made at Chaqchao, a local cafe and coffee shop, and even get the chance to make your very own chocolate. Sound like heaven? We think so, too.
Potatoes have always been a staple in Peruvian diets, which makes sense, considering Peru is home to more than 3,800 types of potatoes. Come and try them in all of their forms: roasted over flame in the street on the end of anticuchos, or street kebabs, baked into a delicous pastel de papa casserole, or deep-fried and topped with sausage at one of the many Salchipapa restaurants scattered throughout the city. Whatever the form, potatoes never looked so good.
Though not actually cheese, this dessert is loved by both cheese-lovers and sugar fanatics. Stop for a taste of this famous Arequipenan dessert, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, on one of the street corners around the plaza. You can also head to the market on San Camilo to watch them make it--wherever you try it, you will not be dissappointed.
Whether you like volcanoes, mountains, or white-water rafting, the area around Arequipa is packed with outdoor adventures of every kind. With 300 days of sunshine and blue skies every year, you will want to get outside and start exploring.
Take a weekend trip to hike Misti or Chachani, two of the impressive volcanoes that keep watch over Arequipa. Measuring 5,825 m and 6,057 m, respectively, climbing these mountains is no easy feat--but the view from the top is incredible.
Save one, two, or three days to go to Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. Go with a guide and learn about the native plants, animals, and get a peek into what life is like inside a 3,400-meter deep canyon.
Pick a day to go white water rafting in the Chili River. The river flows between Misti and Chachani, the two biggest volcanoes in Peru. You will see amazing views of the volcanoes, all while trying to navigate tumbling rapids.