20 Things To Do In Arequipa, Peru - Updated 2024

things to do in arequipa
Don Carlo
Don Carlo 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 9 min read

Arequipa is one of Peru’s most beautiful destinations, with three majestic volcanoes surrounding the historical city. It is also known as the White City or “La Ciudad Blanca.” Arequipa is popular for its brilliant white buildings and colonial aesthetics. Embedded on its cobble-stoned colonial streets and stunning baroque facades are its hundreds of years of history. The city is also filled with nature’s beauty, including snowcapped volcanoes. Home to some of the country’s historical landmarks, it’s no surprise that the city is part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Going on a trip here will satisfy your cravings for unique adventures. To finalize your itinerary, check out the best things to do in Arequipa, Peru.


Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Arequipa

Peru is a wonderful country with so much beauty, nature, history, and exquisite food. It's a must-visit - you'll discover so many dreamy landscapes.

Arequipa, specifically, is very pedestrian-friendly, so you can walk around downtown. If you want to go further, you can buy a pass for a car. But it's complicated to take a bus or a car because the city has a lot of cars while being small in size. Personally, I prefer walking.

1. Taste local flavours at picanterías - contributed by Tour Guide, Mauricio Gamboa


Picanterías are traditional restaurants in Peru, especially in Arequipa, which serve traditional, spicy and delicious dishes with regional influences and local culture. Experience this in La Nueva Palomino. It has a cozy setting and costumed staff members dancing to lively music.

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2. Be blown away by the grandeur of Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user BrunoLocatelli used under CC BY-SA 4.0

UNESCO designates Arequipa Cathedral as a World Heritage Site in 2000. You can find this massive cathedral at Plaza de Armas, and its length spans the entire plaza. The cathedral also features a museum where tourists can admire arts and religious objects that tell Peru’s history. Being one of the most popular attractions in the whole Arequipa, the place is often crowded with locals and tourists. You will also encounter travel agencies that offer a more in-depth tour of this place. The Cathedral is a must for every tourist in Arequipa and is worth seeing. The majestic view and historic ambiance of the site are genuinely one of a kind.

Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

Address: Plaza de Armas, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: Museo de la Cathedral de Arequipa

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 3:15pm (closed on Sun)

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Museo Catedral de Arequipa

The organ in the Cathedral of Arequipa is a priceless jewel named "Loret" after Francois Bernand Loret, who built it in the country of Belgium. Of the instruments built by him, only 10 are of higher quality, and they are around the world. This organ arrived in the city of Arequipa on March 18, 1854. It is 12 meters (39.37 feet) high and is located in the back of the cathedral.

Once you're done exploring inside, stay awhile until sunset so you can enjoy one of the best views of the White City. The contrast between the architecture of the cathedral and the artificial light creates a magical view. Definitely a shocking experience you shouldn't miss.

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3. Explore the natural wonders of Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation

Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation
Source: Photo by Flickr user Véronique Debord-... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in the provinces of Caylloma and Arequipa, Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation is filled with most of Arequipa’s natural wonders. Here, you can catch views of volcanos, meadows, flora and fauna, lagoons, waterfalls, petroglyphs, and some pre-Inca ruins. Packaged tours are available and easy to find, complete with meals and highlight some of the reserve’s best views and spots. If you have the energy and want more adventure, you may want to check out some outdoor activities such as trekking or biking. Tourists can also spend a night camping in the vicinity of the reserve. Ready your cameras because you will surely be needing a lot of pictures as a remembrance for this one-of-a-kind experience.

Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation

Address: Richardo Palma 20, Lima 15067, Peru

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. Admire the stunning beauty of Santa Catalina Monastery

Things To Do In Arequipa, Peru
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Havardtl used under CC BY 4.0

For centuries, Santa Catalina Monastery used to be the residence of around 450 nuns and their lay servants. Now, it serves as one of Arequipa’s most popular tourist sites. The monastery features white walls made from adobe and sillar (volcanic rocks)—all adorned with stunning red geraniums. As you enter through the gates and explore the narrow streets, every post and brick will give you a feel of this place’s 400 years of history. The entire monastery is about 20000 sq m (2152782.0 sq ft) in size, and it features chapels, living quarters, a plaza, and a gallery inside. Also, you will be mesmerized by the fountains and endless pots of flowering plants that you will find as you stroll the grounds. Every private room’s interior is uniquely beautiful, while the colorful façade creates a beautiful contrast to the bright blue sky. Indeed, this place feels like it’s out of a fairytale.

Santa Catalina Monastery

Address: Santa Catalina 301, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: Monasterio de Santa Catalina

Opening hours: Mon: 9am - 5pm; Tue: 8am - 8pm; Wed: 9am - 5pm; Thu: 8am - 8pm; Fri- Sun: 9am - 5pm

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Santa Catalina

One of the must-see and extremely photogenic places in Arequipa is the monastery of Santa Catalina. It's a spectacular religious citadel integrating architectural styles from the 16th to 19th centuries and is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, except on Christmas and Good Friday.

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5. Soak in the view at Yanahuara Scenic Overlook

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

El Mirador is a popular observation point at Yanahuara. It showcases a breathtaking panoramic view of the beautiful city of Arequipa, with its majestic volcanoes. The ancient sillar arches were built during the 19th century; these were engraved with poetry and served as the frame for the beautiful scenery. Nearby, you can find Parroquia San Juan de Yanahuara, a well-preserved baroque structure built in 1750. Since Yanuhuara is a district, tourists will also enjoy walking through its narrow cobbled streets. Explore the pleasant neighborhood with stunning sillar white houses as well as plazas, gardens, and restaurants. There are also local street vendors selling local street foods. Wearing comfortable clothes and bringing a bottle of water is recommended for a better experience.

Yanahuara Scenic Overlook

Address: Miguel Grau, Yanahuara 04017, Peru

Website: Yanahuara Scenic Overlook

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

El Mirador

El Mirador has become a favorite place for lovers who are surely attracted by that old spell. In its light, couples tell their secrets or renew their promises. For this reason, although with time masses of hard cement and high floors rise, the Mirador will always rise above all of them.

Tip from Content Creator

Yanahuara has beautiful streets where you can take pictures and walk around. It's perfect on rainy days. You'll also have a great view of the volcanoes.
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6. Channel your inner señor and señorita at Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas Arequipa
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ivan Mlinaric used under CC BY 2.0

Known as the birthplace of the city of Lima, Plaza de Armas beautifully presents the aesthetics and ambiance of colonial-era Peru. Learn a little Spanish and show a little poise as you channel your inner señor and señorita at the city’s main square. Fill your stomach with good food as you dine at one of the restaurants and cafes surrounding the plaza. You can also do souvenir shopping or indulge in local street foods while exploring colonial buildings and houses.

Plaza de Armas Arequipa

Address: Arequipa 04001, Peru

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Plaza de Armas de Arequipa

Plaza de Armas is a piece of art from the Republican era. It's one of the most beautiful mains squares in Latin America and has survived popular overflows and natural phenomena. It's a great spot to take pictures. I stop here for pictures whenever I'm not guiding a tour, and believe it or not, I have around 1,000 photos just of this place. Here, you'll find the eclectic and imposing Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa. The cathedral, the architecture, and the volcano behind it, if it's covered in snow, are beautiful.

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7. Learn more about the remains of "Juanita" at Museo Santuarios Andinos

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you think that Arequipa is all about colonial-era Peru, you might want to visit Museo Santuarios Andinos which is located just across Plaza de Armas. The tour of the museum is free and would only take you an hour to complete. It features plenty of ancient artifacts and a documentary film about the fascinating discovery of the perfectly preserved remains of “Juanita.” She is believed to be around 12-15 years old when killed in a ritual of sacrifice to gods sometime in the mid-1400s. The dim lights of the museum add to the almost eerie ambiance of the whole place. The story of Juanita was even considered by a magazine as one of the world’s top 10 discoveries in 1995.

Museo Santuarios Andinos

Address: Calle la Merced 110, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: Museo Santuarios Andinos

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 6pm; Sun: 9am–3pm

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8. Engage in fun activities offered by Wild Rover Arequipa

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Take a break from historical attractions and engage in exciting activities offered by Wild Rover Arequipa. Located in the center of historic Arequipa, this facility offers guests a variety of fun sports games, cultural activities, and gastronomic events daily. There’s also a swimming pool, where you can take a dip when the weather gets too intense. The courtyard, on the other hand, serves as the perfect spot to have drinks or snacks with your buddies. Wild Rover’s staff are friendly, and they will be more than happy to provide you with assistance.

Wild Rover Arequipa

Address: Calle Ugarte 111, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: Wild Rover Arequipa

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9. Sample Arequipa's authentic flavors at Mercado San Camilo - Central de Arequipa

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Mercado San Camilo - Central de Arequipa is popular with many tourists wanting to immerse themselves in the culture of Arequipa. Here, you get to see wide varieties of available local produce, such as fruits, potatoes, spices, and even meat. You will also enjoy the experience of shopping, as you interact with friendly local stall owners and market-goers. When you get hungry, check out the food courts on site and try different Peruvian delicacies for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Mercado San Camilo - Central de Arequipa

Address: Calle Perú 416, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Mercado San Camilo not only offers the colors and flavors of Peru but is also only a six-minute walk from the historic Cloisters of The Company - perfect for foodies interested in learning about the local history and culture!

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10. Pause for a while and relax at Kaffeehaus Tostaduria Cafeteria

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Kaffeehaus Café Tostaduría on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Located on Calle Melgar, Kaffeehaus Tostaduria Cafeteria is a facility known for its quiet environment where guests can relax with friends or hold urgent business meetings. It has been around since 2016, and it takes pride in its top-notch roastery and 100% Peruvian green coffee. Besides the indoor café’s relaxed ambiance, customers may also enjoy wine and beer in its lovely open garden. If you’re not into coffee, this place also serves traditional German desserts, waffles, and artisan bread.

Kaffeehaus Tostaduria Cafeteria

Address: Melgar 117, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: Kaffeehaus Tostaduria Cafeteria

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7:30am - 7pm; Sat: 8am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

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11. Get lost in the beautiful streets of San Lazaro

San Lazaro
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user manuel machuca sa... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The lovely streets of San Lazaro will take you back in time to old Arequipa. This colonial-era street is dotted with picturesque white structures within its narrow cobbled alleys. It is one of the most beautifully preserved historical areas in the city, so no wonder why it should be included in your list. Great for picture taking, filming or just simple walking, you can get lost in the beauty of San Lazaro street. Try visiting during sunset as the sun makes the sillar structures glow. Indeed, being here is a worthwhile experience.

San Lazaro

Address: Arequipa 04001, Peru

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12. Go on a tour of Founder's Mansion

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


You will surely travel back in time as you get on a tour of Founder’s Mansion. The entire property was originally owned by Arequipa’s founder, during the colonial era of Peru. Now, the founder’s mansion serves as a facility for locals and tourists looking to experience the city’s olden days. The entire property features pre-colonial aesthetics, from structures to antiques displayed in the museum. A guided tour of the place is available, where you can explore the place via private car or tourist buses.

Founder's Mansion

Address: Huasacache s/n Vía Paisajista Hunter, Arequipa - Perú

Website: Founder’s Mansion

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

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13. Gaze at the ornamented architecture of Historical Centre of Arequipa

Historical center of Arequipa
Source: Photo by Flickr user Danielle Pereira used under CC BY 2.0

Historical Centre of Arequipa includes the entire Plaza De Armas. Here, you will find a lot of picturesque buildings and structures with a lot of Spanish architecture influences. However, what’s unique about Arequipa’s buildings are their color and textures, mostly covered with sillar or volcanic rock. The place is now filled with modern establishments and you can explore restaurants, shops, and museums and around the area.

Historical Centre of Arequipa

Website: Historical Centre of Arequipa

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

Arequipa

This city within a city spans 20,000 square meters (215,278.21 square feet) and four neighborhoods that emulate the urban distribution of Arequipa in the early years of the Colony.

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14. Marvel at the elegant facade of Church of the Company

Iglesia de la Compania Church Arequipa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arteyvista used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Iglesia de la Compania or Church of the Company is a small baroque church that can be found at the corner of Plaza de Armas. What’s unique about it is the beautiful intricate carvings covering its columns and main facade. The experience inside the chapel is equally magical. Filled with sacred objects, arts, and carvings, a visit here is going to be a unique and memorable experience—especially for someone from the same faith. Within its courtyard, tourists may enjoy drinks such as lemonade or coffee. Souvenir shops are available here too.

Iglesia de la Compania Church Arequipa

Website: General Móran 114, Arequipa 04001, Peru

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15. Treat your taste buds to a burst of flavors at INDIA Indian Cuisine

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Indian Cuisine on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Craving Indian food? If so, then you should check out INDIA Indian Cuisine. Located at Calle Bolivar, the restaurant is just a few minutes from Sta Catalina Monastery. This restaurant boasts authentic Indian food prepared by resident chef Roy from Kolkata, India. Their menu includes delicious vegetarian, vegan, and non-vegetarian options, perfect for customers who are on special diets. They are usually frequented by locals and tourists alike, so be sure to visit early.

INDIA Indian Cuisine

Address: Calle Bolivar 502, Arequipa 04001, Peru

Website: INDIA Indian Cuisine

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 1pm - 7:30pm (closed on Sun)

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16. Have a jolly time with animals at Mundo Alpaca

Mundo Alpaca
Source: Photo by Flickr user Marie Thérèse Héb... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When you hear the name Alpaca World, you might think of the place like a zoo. However, Alpaca world in Arequipa, Peru, is more than that! One of the most popular attractions in Arequipa, Alpaca World offers interactions with these cute and fluffy creatures. You can also have fun playing with baby llamas and alpacas. Aside from that, this place enriches your Arequipa experience with an introduction to the traditional process of selecting Alpaca fiber to the actual weaving. You can marvel at these traditional woven textiles and equipment at the on-site museum and gallery. There’s also a boutique where you can purchase souvenirs.

Mundo Alpaca

Address: Juan de la Torre 101, San Lazaro. Arequipa, Peru

Website: Mundo Alpaca

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 6:30pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 6:30pm

Price: Free

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17. Witness a match at the spectacular Monumental Stadium of UNSA

UNSA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rojinegro81 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re a fan of Bolivian games, then you should check out Estadio de la UNSA. It’s a multi-purpose stadium that was established by the University of San Agustín in the early 1990s. It was named after the Virgin Chapi and sponsored by the university’s lottery fund-raiser. You’re lucky if you were able to watch a sports game at Monumental Stadium of the University of San Agustín. Intercollegiate, national, and even international sports contests are being held here. Founded by the oldest university in Arequipa, a visit to this place is a must-do.

Monumental Stadium of UNSA

Address: Social Faculty of UNSA Av. Venezuela parallel Cercado, Virgen del Pilar, Arequipa, Peru

Website: Monumental Stadium of UNSA

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18. Soak up the nightlife on Calle Ugarte

Calle Ugarte
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pitxiquin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Calle Ugarte is one of the liveliest streets in Arequipa. Filled with commercial establishments, restaurants, and bars, you are definitely in for a treat here. One nice way to end your day filled with wonderful adventures is by drinking the night away. At Calle Ugarte, be prepared to experience diverse local cuisines and exciting parties. Try to interact with locals to get tips on the best things this street offers.

Calle Ugarte

Address: Arequipa, Peru

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19. Taste the best organic Peruvian chocolate at Chaqchao Chocolates

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Cacao is an essential aspect of ancient Peruvian civilization. Chaqchao Chocolates in Arequipa, Peru, provides that same respect and value to it. Here, they hire experts to ensure they produced high-quality organic chocolates. Aside from that, the company also features a rustic, cozy place to enjoy its products. Several items from their menu, which can be enjoyed by tourists, even include alcoholic drinks.

Chaqchao Chocolates

Website: Chaqchao Chocolates

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)

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20. Attend a local chef's Peruvian cooking class (from USD 39.0)

Take home the secrets of Peruvian flavors by attending a Peruvian cooking class! Here, you will experience cooking traditional dishes as well as learn Peruvian cooking techniques using local flavors and ingredients. Arequipa is rich in culinary traditions and as a tourist, you would not want to miss the opportunity to experience and learn it from some of the experienced local chefs.

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Peruvian Cooking Class in Arequipa

Duration: 3 hours

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Explore the natural and historical wonders of Arequipa

Arequipa, Peru, with its nature, arts, and culture, will surely make for an enriching travel experience. If you want to explore both of the city’s historical and natural treasures, check out our list of the best things to do in Arequipa, Peru.

Tip from tour guide

Mauricio

Mauricio
Peru

If you want to discover a different place with good food and great landscapes, Ariquepa is the right place. It's not in Europe but looks like it is, with some Peruvian charm.

One hidden gem you can look out for is Pillones Waterfalls. It's a beautiful place where you can admire nature and see the stunning power of the water. Or, ifyou are fascinated by volcanoes, take some time to admire Misti, an active volcano at an altitude of 5835 meters (19143 feet).

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Don Carlo, a young professional, once dedicated himself to curating meaningful travel experiences for clients, driven by his profound love for the travel industry. In his current role in...Read more

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