Arequipa is often used as a stop between Peru, Bolivia or Chile but for us it was much more. The city is located 8 hours south from Cusco and is growing more and more popular with tourists. With its European feel mixed with Peruvian history it must be added to every traveller’s hit list.
Along our way we heard comments that Arequipa was too touristy and sure it has all the modern day hallmarks; Starbucks, McDonalds but if you take the time to delve into Arequipa you will find much more.
What to see
Santa Catalina Monastery
This Monastery is huge! Often referred to as a city within a city it’s a must when visiting Arequipa. Stepping inside the 20,000 square meter site really takes you back in time, walking around the nun’s cells, the main kitchen, galleries and gardens it gives you a small taste of what living inside the monastery must have been like. You could easily spend hours here getting lost in the maze of structures and its one you must do. The monastery was opened in 1579, the nuns that lived here had no contact with the outside world, it still serves as a monastery now although you cannot visit the working section.
Cost – Entrance fee was 40 soles. Guides are available for an additional fee.
Location – its located a short walk from the main square in the historical centre.
If you have ever stepped a foot in Peru you will know alpaca produce is everywhere, Mundo Alpaca shows us how the produce is made. You will see the sorting, weaving, a museum and you’ll get the chance to buy in their outlet. But our favourite was the alpacas and llamas, we spent a little bit too long here.
Cost – Its free
Location – a 20-minute walk from the main square, its located on the outskirts on the historical centre.
Plaza De Armas
As most South American cities have Arequipa has the main square, Plaza de Armas. This square is surrounded by limestone buildings and its beautiful. The standard garden square filled with pigeons, tourists and street sellers is a great place to grab a seat and watch the world go by. One of the buildings on this main square is next.
Cost – Its free
Location – in the historical centre.
Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
If you’ve been travelling anywhere in South America you’re probably thinking, another cathedral? Really? Yes, another one, but this one is worth the visit. Towering over and stretching the full length of the square you cannot miss this cathedral. Entering you get a guide either in English or Spanish, the guide will take you around the cathedral and the museum but our favourite part was visiting the bell tower, from here you get a great view of the city and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.
Cost – There is no entrance fee but you have to pay the compulsory guide 10 soles per person.
Location – Plaza de Armas
San Camilo Market
This was our favourite market we found along our travels. Dani is used to these markets as coming from Colombia, but for Danielle it was great. You could literally find anything here, walking around taking in the culture, sights and smells it was one of our favourite things to do in Arequipa. Don’t forget to grab you’re on concocted fruit juice from one of the many stalls.
Cost – Its free
Location – A ten minute walk from the Plaza de Armas.
Where to stay
We stayed at a beautiful hostel in a great location, read more.
Watch our vlog of our time in this amazing city.