History of Arequipa
Arequipa is also known as La Ciudad Blanca The White City – due to its magnificent constructions made of white rock. It is the second largest city in Peru and the capital of the province of Arequipa (department of Arequipa). In contrast to other Peruvian cities, Arequipa embodies the colonial mestizo culture of Peru the mixture of the authentic Peruvian and Spanish. UNESCO has declared the city of Arequipa and its colonial architecture a Human Heritage site due to this culturally rich mixture of Spanish and Indigenous roots. The city was founded in August 1540 and since then has played an important part in Peruvian history. It was the scene of one of the most important battles for Peruvian independence in 1824. Arequipa is also the home of many influential Peruvians such as Victor Belaunde and the Literature Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, who wrote novels such as The Time of the Hero and The Green House. Apart from historical importance, Arequipa also plays a crucial economic role in the country because of its resources: cattle ranches and leather as well as alpaca wool and crafts such as weaving, and of course tourism. Sillar, the white rock giving the city its nickname comes from the volcanoes surrounding the city: the Chachani (19950 FT), the Misti (1900 FT) and the Pichu Pichu (1850 FT). To add to this beautiful architecture, the white city has also been named the city of the eternal spring thanks to its warm sunny climate. Arequipa receives over three hundred sunny days per year!
Attractions in Arequipa
Within the city of Arequipa, there are plenty of attractions, museums such as the Museo Santuarios Andinos (where you can see the Juanita Mummy) as well as many other impressive colonial and religious buildings. Within walking distance from the city center, you find the calm neighborhood of Yanahuara. Don´t miss out on a visit to the Mirador of Yanahuara, where you can enjoy great views of the Misti Volcano.
With this fantastic city as your base you can head into the countryside to enjoy the stunning scenery. Take a day trip to Puente Bolognesi or go and visit the water mill, El Molino de Sabandina which is over three centuries old. The surrounding valleys provide many opportunities for adventure sports, camping and hiking without any doubt, the most famous spot for hikers and nature enthusiasts is the Colca Canyon.
Things to do in Arequipa
Misti Volcano (19000 foot Peruvian Volcano)
Trek up the awe-inspiring Misti Volcano on an overnight journey from Arequipa. Reach heights of 19,000 feet (5,800 meters) as you make your way to the top of the sacred volcano. While the climb is not difficult, it is better suited for those who are acclimated to hiking at high altitudes. Enjoy panoramic views from the summit and observe the flora and fauna that call the volcano home.
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Even if you are not religious I highly recommend this. The art and colors alone are stunning. The place is MASSIVE so you can definitely spend a few hours there. You have the option tohirea1 hour tour guide for 20 soles but we didn’t and didn’t feel like we needed to. Every room has a plaque with an explanation in several languages. Definitely come check this place out!
Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve
The Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve is located between Arequipa and Moquegua departments, in the provinces of Arequipa, Caylloma and General Sánchez, in the volcanic mountain range. The reserve was created on 9th August 1979. It stretches over 366,936 hectares (906,719 acres). The reserve contains majestic volcanoes, including Misti, Chachani, Pichu Pichu and Ubinas. Among the mountains, nature has crafted the high Andean plains, inhabited by vicuñas, alpacas, llamas, and guanacos. The reserve also contains beautiful lagoons and wetlands – the habitat of birds including flamingos and crested ducks.
Plaza de Armas
This is a typical Spanish style main plaza. Lots of shops, bars, and restaurants as well as greenery and statues. Always a good meeting place and nice atmosphere.
Historic Center of Arequipa
The central square has lots of restaurants, souvenir stands, and govt buildings, as well as a large and impressive cathedral. A notable must-see is a museum to the “ice maiden” located a few meters of the central square.
Museum of the Cathedral of Arequipa
Taking a 40 minute tour of the Arequipa cathedral is worth your while for many reasons, not the least of which is a chance to climb up to the roof and see the surroundings from the vantage point of the bell tower. Additionally, the cathedral is mostly closed during the day and this tour get you inside for a very intimate view of the church. Last but not least, the church is full of treasure (that we are not allowed to take pictures of). This region was conquered for its gold and silver, some of which was left behind in beautiful liturgical artifacts. One brilliant ostensory (the vessel that holds the Eucharist) boasts a thousand diamonds. There are guides are available in Spanish, English, French, and Italian. For anything other than Spanish you may have to schedule a specific time for your visit but it is inexpensive and well worthwhile.
Museum Santuarios Andinos
This is a small museum where the frozen or ice mummies are kept. It takes about an hour. No photography. You have to check in your cell phones. This is by far the museum in Arequipa. It contains a frozen child mummy discovered in the high mountains close to Arequipa. Also on display are numerous items of amazing condition that was found with this mummy, and others.
Worth the visit.
There are some tours that take you there as part of their schedule. You enter and it’s a clothing store that sells a product made of alpaca fur, the backyard has beautiful gardens, a mini section that explains how their clothing is made and you can see all the machines.Also you can learn about the type of animals native to the region. There is a part where you will see the alpacas and llamas and you can ask the man who takes care of them to give you some plants so you can feed them. It’s a good way of spending a couple of hours, especially with kids and it’s free. Plus, you can take pretty pictures there.
Looking back over the Rio Chile toward the City of Arequipa on a late fall summer evening is magical. The views from the Mirador Yanahuara are awesome. The plaza is small but very peaceful. This is the “ancient” part of the city and is filled with great charm. Lace up your walking shoes and wander around. You’ll love it.
Church of the Company of Jesus
The courtyard and cloisters are a lovely example of Baroque architecture from the 16th century. The design of the columns and workmanship of the main facade is stunning. This church was part of our tour through the Historic center which is designated a World Heritage site. The property has gone through several earthquakes over the centuries, and some parts were rebuilt. Well worth a visit.
Museum of Viceregal Art
Still currently used by 19 nuns (sometimes up to 21 nuns at one time) as a convent. Stunning architecture dating back several hundred years. This tour should be on a must-see list of Arequipa.
Mirador Carmen Alto – See the cold river flow
From this viewpoint, you can see the winding Rio Chile flow from a far bend and past you until it again disappears downstream in a turn. The river has a background of beautiful mountains. Well worth the trip.
Would highly recommend this mountain over El Misti it is easier to climb and has much better views. It takes 2 days and is an experience for a lifetime comparable and probably better than Machu Picchu!! You need to have basic fitness and the ability to walk non-stop for 9 hours. It doesn’t ask for more athletic abilities or mountaineering experience!! The Volcano in the background makes this definitely the most rewarding climb.
La Mansion del Fundador – Testimony of old times
The home of the Arequipa city founder is really worth to visit. Built in Spanish colonial style with a lot of furnishings of the old times and portrait paintings and beautiful gardens. Well worth a visit.
Mercado Central – Absolutely fascinating
The smells and the colors are still there in our minds, this was a huge market but as you walked around it you were transported into lots of different worlds – the meat, fish and what about the fruit and veg! Congratulations to Peru on how they are just about self-sufficient in many foods and when you spend an hour in this market it all comes to life.
Recoleta Monastery – Worth the Detour
This interesting monastery actually predates the more popular Santa Catalina convent and it’s only a short walk across the bridge from that end of town. The site has beautiful gardens and patios. It’s fun to walk on the roof of the cloister to get to the library and the mirador. The collection is quite eclectic. Forme the real gem is the library which contains a second edition version of Don Quixote and an old Latin book that was censored by the Inquisition. Climb up to the bell tower to get a view of the town and hopefully the volcanoes behind. You can probably get away with ringing one of the bells if no one is looking. The rest of the collection ranges from pre-Columbian artifacts to exhibits about the people and animals of the Amazon, the Spanish conquest and even a room full of old toys from the late 50s. You can explore the site in about an hour and it is a highly worthwhile companion to the more popular convent of Santa Catalina.
The Colca Full Day is an experience to contemplate the majestic formation of the Colca Valley, its natural attributes, from its viewpoints, hot springs, fauna, small towns and colonial churches. we will visit: the Mirador de la Cruz del Cóndor, Chivay, the small towns of Pinchollo, Maca and Yanque to contemplate the colonial churches. We will make stops at the viewpoints of Antahuilque and Choquetico. In the Mirador de Los Volcanoes, which is 4,910 meters above sea level, in the bogs of Toqra orToccra, small wetlands where you can see a large number of wild birds and in Pampas Cañahuas to observe vicuñas de la National Reserve of Aguada Blanca and Salinas. Duration 14h
Top Hotels in Arequipa
1. Libertador Arequipa Hotel
2. Casa Andina Premium Arequipa
3. El Cabildo Hotel
4. Casa Andina Select Arequipa Plaza
5. Palla Boutique Hotel
6. Casona Plaza Hotel Arequipa
7. Sure Stay Plus Hotel by Best Western Tierra Sur Colonial
8. Bella AQP
9. Hotel Boutique Villa Elisa
10. Tierra Viva Arequipa Plaza
Arequipa, Peru Average Annual Weather
Arequipa, Peru: Annual Weather Averages. January is the hottest month in Arequipa with an average temperature of 59°F(15°C) and the coldest is July at 56°F(14°C)