10 Things To See & Do In Arequipa

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Arequipa is without a doubt one of our favourite cities in Peru (so far!) and it feels very different to the rest of what we’ve seen in this amazing country. In fact Arequipa doesn’t really feel very Peruvian at all. Take a walk through Barrio San Lázaro and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were walking through a typical European Old town. Alternatively spend the afternoon exploring Santa Catalina monastery and you’ll easily convince others that you were in Morocco by the colours on your photos. For us, Arequipa has a good mix of busy city life and quiet backstreets and is a place where traditional Peruvian culture exists alongside Western influences, making for some amazing food and some interesting fashion! What’s most striking about Arequipa though, is its stunning volcanic backdrop which never ceased to impress us, especially during sunset. There really is a lot to do here and with it being the main jump off point for visiting Colca Canyon, you may find yourself spending a few days in the city. We’ve therefore put together a list of our absolute best 10 things to see, do and enjoy in Arequipa, Peru’s White City, so that you can make the most of your time! 

Monasterio de Santa Catalina

We don’t normally like to spend money on these sorts of things and the 40 soles entrance fee to the Monastery completely put us off at first, but after seeing pictures and how big the site was on a map of Arequipa we were intrigued and felt the need to look around. Luckily there’s an under 20s price which we both just about qualify for (yay!) and so we ended up only having to pay 20 soles each ($6.50us). 

As it seemed on the map, the monastery really is monumental and is like a small village in itself. What’s best is that there is an option to take a guided tour but you are also able to simply explore the area yourself (which we much prefer), allowing us to take way too many photos next to the brightly coloured red and blue walls! 

San Lázaro

If you’ve seen pictures of Arequipa’s cobbled narrow streets, they will have most likely been of the San Lázaro district of the city. The area in the north of Arequipa is great for wondering around if you don’t have a particular agenda. There are a few cafes and restaurants around here and it is close to one of our other favourite spots, Alpaca world! I

Alpaca World

If you’re anything like us then the novelty of seeing Alpacas around doesn’t really wear off and so a place like Mundo Alpaca really is exciting. There are some really cute alpacas of all different breads which you can feed, then you’ll be given a brief explanation of the wool making process before heading into a big alpaca shop from which they’ll hope you’ll buy something (although don’t feel pressured!)

Hatunpa Potato Restaurant

Bar far the coolest restaurant in town. Hatunpa serves up amazing Peruvian food all based around potatoes. Peruvians like to brag about the 5000 different varieties of Potatoes they grow in their country but this was the first time we actually got to taste some. The meals are really reasonably valued and are cheaper than most other food in that particular area of town. They also make a weirdly good potato cider!

Plaza de Armas

All too often the main square seems to make our city top 10s but we couldn’t not include it for Arequipa, who’s ‘plaza principal’ really is stunning. Head here around sunset and the light on the cathedral is beautiful. 


A top notch pancake restaurant. Experts in both the savory and he sweet, these crepes are to be found in an all things French courtyard and so are to be trusted!

Rooftop Bars

With the sun setting behind the mountains and volcanoes, which hover over the city, it seems like most restaurants had the idea of putting in rooftop seating. Make sure to get up high an hour or so before sunset and watch the sky turn pink!

Yanahuara Mirador

This place was a lot busier than we expected due to its distance from the centre of town, but it’s worth the walk. Cross Puente Grau, over the river, walk through the park alongside the bank and then take a left, heading uphill to the viewpoint. You get a decent view of the city and there’s a great restaurant nearby called 'El Tio Dario' which is really good value.


This German cafe is more than just a coffee house,  and is also a great beer garden or simply a lovely space to relax inside or out. (Also - They do great sweet and savory waffles!)

Museo Santuarios Andinos

This was the one place that we wished we could've visited but simply didn't have time. It hosts the preserved, frozen mummy of a girl named Juanita who was sacrificed by the Incas almost 600 years ago. Bare in mind though that when visiting here a tour is compulsory and lasts about an hour.

How to get to Arequipa?

Arequipa, Peru´s second most populated city, is situated the South of Peru and can be reached by bus or by plane. Regular flights go from all major Peruvian cities to Arequipa but to fly internationally from Arequipa it is likely that you will have to connect via Lima.

Buses are a much cheaper option and so are much preferred by us! Regular buses leave from Cusco (10 hours), Puno (5/6 hours) and Nasca (9/10 hours). We'd highly recommend the bus company Cruz Del Sur, as the seats are really comfy with plenty of room, the staff are professional and often meals are included.

Where to stay in Arequipa?

Similarly as to in Cusco, we stayed in an appartment as we were travelling with our Mums for a bit. The place was called Apart Hotel Incamin, for for details see here.

If you´re looking for a budget hostel, El Albergue may be the place for you, with dorms beds for only $5us! 

If you´re looking for a party, we´ve heard great things about Wild Rover Hostel and would happily recommend this too!

We hope this has been useful, if you have any questions about Arequipa or any other destinations we´ve been to, please don´t hesitate to ask us at allofthegearnoidea@gmail.com, or via our Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for reading!

Will & Melissa

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