What to do in Arequipa: Peru’s White City

que hacer en arequipa

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Arequipa is known as the White City and owes its name to the white color of the volcanic rock with which most of its buildings are constructed. It is said that there is another explanation that refers to history. Arequipa was the most loyal colony to the Spanish crown what attracted many white people. Which version do you stay with?

After Peru ‘s independence, Arequipa was the capital of the country for almost 50 years and is currently the second most populated and economically important city in the country. It is an ideal destination to enjoy warm temperatures and for that reason, and because we are very nice, we propose several plans to do in Arequipa, let’s go for it!

Historical Center

The Historical Center of the city is the biggest tourist attraction. It was recognized in 2000 as a World Heritage Site. The combination of local architecture combined with European techniques will awaken your admiration for each of the corners and narrow streets you pass through.

You can also enjoy the large palm trees, extensive gardens and a beautiful fountain in the Plaza de Armas. It is a dream place to rest or eat something, it is always time to eat and more if you find yourself with such a wide and diverse offer, irresistible! We suggest a visit to the San Camilo Market: good products, prices and smells.

In front of the Plaza de Armas is the Cathedral of Arequipa that is easy to notice by its size and beauty. Although it was built in the same year that Arequipa itself was founded, in 1540, it has had to be rebuilt more than once due to earthquakes.

Arequipa Cathedral

Colca Canyon: the valley of marvels

From Arequipa a visit that should be mandatory is the Colca Canyon. It is one of the deepest in the world and the third most visited destination in Peru, for a reason! The most typical thing once you are there is to visit the Cruz del Condor gazer. The condor is a scavenging bird of prey that can reach up to a meter in length. It is a species in danger of extinction and its population tends to decrease.

The Patapampa Volcanoes Viewer is another place that will leave you shocked, not because of the altitude sickness. You will be able to contemplate the mountain range, the mountains and numerous volcanoes. After the views and a little bit of cold in the altitude, the ideal plan is to stop at the thermal baths of La Calera in the town of Chivay to warm up again.

To be honest, you can spend four days in the Colca Canyon because it’s 100 kilometers long and it’s a lot to explore. It includes several villages and viewpoints, varied flora and fauna, hanging tombs, etc. It is a very rich space and it is not to go to take a look, take a picture and leave because the Colca Canyon is not only an arid extension where alpacas run around.

Colca Canyon Arequipa

Santa Catalina Monastery

Arequipa also has a special color and is the red of the Santa Catalina Monastery. Besides its color what attracts more the attention of the Monastery is its design that reminds of a small city and not a religious center, but everything makes sense if we say to you that the nuns who entered this Convent in the past had private kitchen and even slaves to their disposition.

Today you can visit it until 6:00 p.m. when the cloistered nuns go for a walk in the streets. Here the most interesting thing, at least for the adventurous and not scary people, twice a week you can make night visits. Do not worry that some light is there, it comes from small lamps to intensify the experience!

Santa Clara Monastery Arequipa

Museum of Andean Sanctuaries

What is really fascinating about this museum is that it houses Juanita, The Ice Maiden. Who is Juanita? She is a mummy. She was discovered a year before the museum opened in 1996. It is said that Juanita was a healthy and beautiful teenager (it’s a barbie girl) who was sacrificed to the Inca gods in the 15th century.

Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu

The city of Arequipa is guarded by three imposing volcanoes. The biggest of them is the Misti volcano and it is located at 5 825 meters above sea level, a little walk! The Pichu Pichu volcano is dark brown in color and is quiescent Inside it, mummies have been found but it was not Juanita. The Chachani volcano is the highest of the three, but that doesn’t make it any more difficult to climb, in fact there are many options to tour it.

If you prefer not to lose, literally, the breath and it is enough for you a panoramic (very cool) view, we recommend you a visit to the Yanahuara viewpoint. From there you can see perfectly the three volcanoes and there is also a square where you can enjoy the views, but on a bench.

Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu, arequipa volcanoes

You have seen that getting bored in Arequipa is not an option. Take your backpack, put on some good boots and walk from beginning to the end of every corner in one of the most charming cities in Peru. You know what to do in Arequipa, but have you thought about where to start your visit?


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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