The 10 Best Places To Visit In Arequipa

Imagine a city where the past whispers from every corner, where the rugged beauty of snow-capped volcanoes meets the charm of colonial architecture. That’s Arequipa for you, a gem in the south of Peru that’s as rich in culture as it is in breathtaking landscapes. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring this “White City,” and let me tell you, it’s a feast for the senses. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 spots that you simply can’t miss when you visit.

1. Santa Catalina Monastery

Step into a world of vivid colors and serene cloisters at the Santa Catalina Monastery. It’s like a city within a city, complete with narrow alleys and picturesque plazas. As you wander through, you’ll feel the tranquility that’s been a part of the nuns’ lives for centuries. The blend of Spanish and indigenous architecture here is simply mesmerizing.

2. Colca Canyon

Just a stone’s throw from Arequipa lies the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest. It’s a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Watching the majestic Andean condors soar above the canyon at Cruz del Condor is an experience that’ll stick with you forever. The local culture is vibrant, with traditional villages dotting the landscape.

3. Plaza de Armas

The heart of Arequipa beats in its Plaza de Armas. Surrounded by the imposing Basilica Cathedral and colonial arcades, it’s a perfect spot to soak in the local vibe. Grab a coffee at one of the terrace cafes and watch the world go by. The plaza is not just a feast for the eyes but also a hub of daily life in Arequipa.

4. Misti Volcano

For those with a taste for adventure, Misti Volcano calls. It’s an iconic symbol of Arequipa, standing guard over the city. Hiking to the Summit is challenging but rewarding, with panoramic views that are second to None. Even if you’re not up for the climb, just seeing Misti from the city is a sight to behold.

5. Yanahuara Viewpoint

Speaking of views, the Yanahuara Viewpoint offers some of the best. It’s a peaceful spot, away from the hustle and bustle. The arches made of sillar, a white volcanic stone, frame the city and Misti Volcano perfectly. It’s a favorite for both locals and tourists, especially at sunset.

6. Arequipa’s Cuisine

Let’s talk about food, shall we? Arequipa’s cuisine is a highlight in its own right. From spicy stews like Rocoto Relleno to the creamy perfection of Queso Helado, your taste buds are in for a treat. Don’t miss out on the picanterías, traditional eateries that serve up local dishes with a side of history.

7. Juanita, the Ice Maiden

The Andean Sanctuaries Museum is home to Juanita, an Inca ice maiden whose well-preserved remains tell a haunting story. Discovered atop Ampato Mountain, she offers a glimpse into Inca rituals and beliefs. The museum does a fantastic job of bringing this part of history to life.

8. Sabandia Mill

For a taste of rural Arequipa, head to the Sabandia Mill. Nestled in the countryside, this 18th-century mill is a testament to Arequipa’s agricultural heritage. The bucolic setting and the sound of the waterwheel are a soothing escape from the city’s buzz.

9. La Compañia Church

La Compañia Church is a jewel of Baroque architecture. Its intricate facade is a masterpiece, and the gilded interior is just as impressive. The church also houses a collection of colonial art that’s worth a peek. It’s a place where art and spirituality merge beautifully.

10. Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve

Last but not least, nature enthusiasts will be spellbound by the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. It’s a sanctuary for vicuñas, flamingos, and other wildlife. The landscapes here, from wetlands to volcanoes, are a testament to the region’s natural diversity.


  • What’s the best time to visit Arequipa?

    The best time is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is sunny and pleasant.

  • Is Arequipa safe for tourists?

    Absolutely! Like any city, it’s wise to take standard precautions, but Arequipa is generally very safe for travelers.

  • Can I visit Colca Canyon without a tour?

    While it’s possible, I’d recommend a guided tour for the best experience and to learn about the canyon’s rich history and geology.


Arequipa is a city that captures the essence of Peru’s diverse heritage and natural splendor. From the hallowed halls of Santa Catalina Monastery to the awe-inspiring depths of Colca Canyon, there’s a slice of wonder for every traveler. The city’s culinary delights, coupled with its rich history and stunning vistas, make it a must-visit destination. Whether you’re gazing at Misti Volcano from Yanahuara Viewpoint or delving into the past with Juanita, Arequipa offers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Andes. So pack your bags, and get ready to explore the best places this White City has to offer!

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