10 Best Things to Do in Arequipa, Peru
Are you looking for the best things to do in Arequipa, Peru? Arequipa is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Peru. But Arequipa is well worth a visit.
Wondering what to do in Arequipa, Peru?
Visit Mundo Alpaca, take a day trip to Colca Canyon, enjoy the beautiful panoramic view from Yanahuara viewpoint, and wander around the Santa Catalina Monastery.
As Arequipa is easily accessible from Lima or Cusco, you should add it to your Peru Itinerary.
This ultimate guide to visiting Arequipa includes how to get there, where to stay, and the best things to do in Arequipa, Peru.
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- 10 Best Things to Do in Arequipa, Peru
- Where is Arequipa
- Best Time to Visit Arequipa, Peru
- How to Get to Arequipa
- How to Get Around Arequipa, Peru
- Is Arequipa Safe?
- Best things to do in Arequipa, Peru
- 1. See the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
- 2. Visit Mundo Alpaca
- 3. Wander Around Santa Catalina Monastery
- 4. Relax at Plaza de Armas
- 5. Day Trip to Colca Canyon
- 6. Stroll Around Claustros de La Compañía
- 7. Shop at the Local Market
- 8. Enjoy the View from Yanahuara Scenic Overlook
- 9. Visit Ruta del Sillar
- 10. Join a Free Walking Tour
- Where to Eat in Arequipa
- Where to Stay in Arequipa
- How many Days do you Need in Arequipa, Peru?
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Where is Arequipa
Arequipa is located in the south of Peru and is easily accessible by a short flight from Lima or Cusco or an overnight bus from Huacachina or Nazca.
Arequipa, also known as the “White City”, is the second largest city in Peru.
Best Time to Visit Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa has a temperate, dry climate. During the day, temperatures can be between 10-25°C.
Arequipa can be visited all year round. But the best time to visit Peru is from May to October.
The rainy months in Arequipa usually run from January to March.
Bring a light raincoat and walking shoes, and pack some warmer clothing for your trip to Peru.
Recommended post → Ultimate Peru Itinerary
How to Get to Arequipa
Arequipa is easily reached by a short flight or overnight bus from Lima or Cusco.
Arequipa has an International Airport, the Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon International Airport (airport code AQP).
But most international flights arrive in Lima, where you can start your Peru Itinerary or take a connecting flight to Arequipa.
Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Arequipa, Peru.
The bus journey between Huacachina and Arequipa takes around 12 hours, depending on traffic.
Recommended post → Best Things to Do in Huacachina
We traveled from Huacachina to Arequipa by Peru Hop (hop-on, hop-off bus system).
On the way to Arequipa, we stopped at the famous Nazca Lines, which was a fantastic experience.
From the Nazca Lines Viewing Tower, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape. If you are planning a flight over the Nazca Lines, you should spend a night in Nazca.
Good to know
If you want to reach Arequipa by public bus, we recommend the Cruz del Sur bus company. Get Bus Tickets here.
How to Get Around Arequipa, Peru
Getting around in Arequipa is easy.
Once you arrive in Arequipa, you can take a taxi from the bus station to the city center or your accommodation for 10-15 Soles (3-4 USD).
You can easily explore the Arequipa center and Yanahuara district, as most attractions are within walking distance. For the best experience, join a city tour.
You can also travel by taxi, but we recommend using the Beat app.
Is Arequipa Safe?
Yes, Arequipa is generally safe.
But small thefts and pickpockets can happen everywhere. So always take care of your valuables!
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! We always choose SafetyWing for our travels.
Best things to do in Arequipa, Peru
1. See the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
Arequipa, also called ‘White City’, is well known for its beautiful architecture, volcanoes, stunning valleys, and delicious cuisine.
The most beautiful attraction is the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa, built of white volcanic stone. Book your city tour.
Good to know
Arequipa is the perfect place to get used to the altitude of 2,335 meters before heading to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
2. Visit Mundo Alpaca
Are you looking for free things to do in Arequipa? You have to visit Mundo Alpaca and the Textile Museum.
A great place to see alpacas and llamas, take beautiful photos and then learn more about them at the Textile Museum.
See how Alpaca fibers are sorted and the process of making pre-Inca weaving techniques.
Keep reading → Best Places to Visit in Peru
Mundo Alpaca has a great shop where you can buy alpaca clothing, but we found the prices overpriced!
You can walk to Mundo Alpaca easily, but crossing the busy road was a bit dangerous.
Mundo Alpaca is free to visit and is open every day from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.
3. Wander Around Santa Catalina Monastery
One of the best things to do in Arequipa is to visit the beautiful Santa Catalina Monastery, which offers fantastic photo opportunities.
You can easily join a guided tour if you want to learn more about the history, but you can also discover on your own.
The entrance fee to Santa Catalina Monastery is 45 Soles (12,5 USD) for adults and 25 Soles (7 USD) for children (under 21 years old) and must be purchased online!
See also → How to Visit Machu Picchu
The Santa Catalina Monastery is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM. It is open on Thursdays from 9 AM to 8:30 PM.
Arrive in the morning and avoid the afternoon crowds.
You can easily spend 1-2 hours exploring this beautiful place and enjoying the picturesque view of the red and blue arches.
4. Relax at Plaza de Armas
As the colonial city of Arequipa is located at a high altitude, spend your first day relaxing and sightseeing.
Arequipa’s main square is the Plaza de Armas is situated in front of the cathedral.
Here you can easily relax, buy delicious churros from the locals and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere.
We loved hanging out and walking around the main square during our visit.
If you need a taxi, you will easily find one near the Plaza de Armas.
Another beautiful colonial town → Valladolid, Mexico
5. Day Trip to Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in Peru, so take a day trip from Arequipa to Colca Canyon.
The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world and is well worth a visit.
It is located about 4 hours from Arequipa, Peru. The best way to visit Colca Canyon is to join a private or group tour.
You can enjoy a short visit (1-day tour), or if you have more time in Peru, you should book a 3-day Colca Canyon trek.
The entrance fee to Colca Canyon is 70 Soles (19,5 USD).
Book the best Colca Canyon tours via Viator, where you can get great prices.
We recommend spending one night in Arequipa before going to the Colca Canyon trek to acclimatize to the altitude.
Read our → Lima Guide
6. Stroll Around Claustros de La Compañía
Claustros de La Compañía is a shopping center with great restaurants and cafes in the area.
If you don’t have time to shop, it is well worth a visit as it offers beautiful photo opportunities.
As you can’t usually bargain in shops, buy from street vendors instead.
See also → How to Visit Sacred Valley
7. Shop at the Local Market
Visiting food and street markets is a great way to talk to locals and ask for tips on what not to miss in Arequipa.
The Mercado San Camilo is the best local market in Arequipa, where you can buy fresh fruit, cheese, fish, and meat.
If you can’t speak Spanish, you can use Google Translate.
8. Enjoy the View from Yanahuara Scenic Overlook
One of the best things to do in Arequipa is to explore the Yanahuara district and see the Yanahuara scenic overlook, which offers a fantastic view of the Misti volcano.
You can easily combine your visit with Mundo Alpaca as Yanahuara’s viewpoint is only a 20-minute walk away.
Spend 1-2 hours exploring the area and then go to one of the Picanterias to sample the delicious local dishes.
More about Peru → Cusco
9. Visit Ruta del Sillar
Unfortunately, we missed this attraction in Arequipa because we didn’t find out about it until too late.
However, you should visit this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can get to Ruta del Sillar by private or shared transport, join an organized tour or take a taxi.
Here you can learn more about how they process extracting the blocks and carving the volcanic rock.
The Ruta Del Sillar opens from 9 AM to 4 PM, and the entrance fee is 5 Soles (1,5 USD) per person. Book your Sillar Stone tour with GetYourGuide.
10. Join a Free Walking Tour
One of the best things to do in Arequipa is to take a free walking tour, usually led by local students.
The walking tour takes around 2.5 hours in the historic center of Arequipa, and you can visit some hidden gems and get more information about the “White City”.
There are two tours every day starting at 10 AM and 3 PM.
If you enjoyed the experience, give a tip at the end of the tour.
Good to know
The meeting point is a few minutes from Santa Catalina Monastery at Santa Catalina Street 204, inside Chaqchao Choco Museo.
Where to Eat in Arequipa
In Arequipa, you should try the traditional, spicy dishes in the Picanterias (local restaurants).
There are a lot of good places to eat in Arequipa, and these are our recommendations.
Best restaurants in Arequipa, Peru
- Pasta Canteen (Delicious homemade pasta)
- 13 Monjas (Italian foods, cold beers)
- La Nueva Palomino (Best picanteria in Arequipa)
- Picantería La Capitana (Typical local food)
- Zig Zag Restaurant (Popular restaurant in Arequipa)
- Prana Vegan Club (Vegans and vegetarians dishes)
- La Benita de los Claustros (Amazing local dishes)
- Eco Brunch (Perfect breakfast place)
Get a delicious experience at the Chaqchao chocolate making workshop.
Where to Stay in Arequipa
The accommodation options are available for all budgets in Arequipa. We recommend you choose a hotel near Plaza de Armas, as you will be closer to restaurants and sights.
In high season we strongly recommend booking accommodation in advance.
Best hotels in Arequipa, Peru
How many Days do you Need in Arequipa, Peru?
Spend at least two days in Arequipa, which gives you enough time to explore the sights.
However, if you want to take the 3-day Colca Canyon trek, add extra days to your Arequipa Itinerary.
We hope our list of the best things to do in Arequipa will help you plan your next trip to Peru. If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments below.