10 Reasons Why Arequipa Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

10 Reasons Why Arequipa Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

Nestled in the heart of Peru, Arequipa is a captivating destination that is frequently overlooked by travelers in favor of its more famous counterparts. However, we think it’s time to bring attention to the city of Arequipa and share with you ten reasons why it belongs on your travel bucket list.

In this blog, we will explore the depth of Arequipa’s culture, history, and natural beauty, showing you the wide range of experiences that await those with a thirst for exploration.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Table of contents:

  1. Rich History and Cultural Heritage
  2. Santa Catalina Monastery
  3. Plaza de Armas and Santa Maria Cathedral
  4. Misti Volcano
  5. Colca Canyon
  6. Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve
  7. Ruta del Sillar
  8. Famous Picanterías de Arequipa
  9. Mundo Alpaca
  10. Museums Arequipa

1. Rich History and Cultural Heritage

buildings in spanish colonism style

Arequipa is a historical enthusiast’s dream because of its deep cultural roots that go back many centuries. The Inca civilization left a lasting impact on the city’s history, and it later developed into an important center during the Spanish colonial period.

The city has a unique mix of cultures in addition to its architectural marvels. Spanish colonialism, indigenous traditions, and the Inca civilisation all blend together to form a lively and varied tapestry. We urge you to get to know the locals and experience their kind hospitality to fully experience Peruvian culture.

In Arequipa, the past and present merge, providing you a window into the city’s colorful past and its inhabitants who call it home. The city’s rich history and cultural heritage will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on your trip, whether you’re an enthusiast of architecture, a history buff, or simply curious about other civilizations.


2. Santa Catalina Monastery

monastery and in front of that walls and buildings in red stone

The Santa Catalina Monastery, a hidden jewel that takes you to a forgotten time, lies tucked away in the center of Arequipa. Without a doubt, this architectural wonder will enchant you with vivid colors, twisting streets, and tranquil courtyards the moment you step inside.

This “City within a City” from the 16th century provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the nuns who formerly lived here. Wander around the beautiful chapels, explore the exquisitely maintained living quarters and take in the tranquility of this ancient sanctuary.

A trip to Santa Catalina Monastery is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that harmoniously combines history, art, and spirituality.


3. Plaza de Armas and Santa Maria Cathedral

santa maria cathedral in white sillar and palms in front of it

The lively Plaza de Armas, a busy gathering spot that embodies the beauty of the city, is located in the heart of Arequipa’s historic area. This stunning area has a unique atmosphere thanks to the colonial-era buildings closeby and the blossoming palm trees that cover it.

The magnificent Santa Maria Cathedral, a work of architecture that reflects Arequipa’s extensive religious legacy, dominates the square. As you enter the cathedral, you’ll be struck by its elegance, its beautiful altars and its exceptionally crafted stained-glass windows.

During our 16-day Peru tour, you will have the possibility to visit the Plaza de Armas and the Santa Maria Cathedral.

4. Misti Volcano

view on misti volcano and city of Arequipa

Misti Volcano is one of the most famous volcanoes in Peru, rising to a height of roughly 19,101 ft. (5,822 m) above sea level. It is a part of the Arequipa Volcanic Group, a group of three big volcanoes in southern Peru that includes the Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. They come together to create a spectacular background that highlights Arequipa’s natural beauty.

To have the best view of this unique scenery we recommend going to the Yanahuara viewpoint. This site, which is close to the center, provides an unmatched panoramic view of the Misti Volcano and its nearby volcanoes. From here, you can see the towering peak against the picture-perfect white houses of Arequipa.

Without witnessing the majestic beauty of the Misti volcano, a trip to Arequipa would be incomplete.


5. Colca Canyon

impressive view on colca canyon

Colca Canyon is one of the deepest valleys in the world and is surrounded by beautiful nature. A breathtaking landscape with towering snow-capped peaks, rushing waterfalls, green terraced fields and lush vegetation will enchant you when visiting.

You’ll discover the vibrant traditions of the nearby villages as you look in awe at the soaring Andean condors gently gliding through the canyon’s depths. A trip to Colca Canyon is one of the top things to do in Peru and it’s an opportunity to get in touch with nature, see breathtaking views, and experience the profound peace this amazing location offers.

If you want to learn more about this unique place, feel free to read our blog post about everything you need to know about Peru’s Colca Canyon.


6. Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve

big lake in the middle of a national reserve

For those of you who love the outdoors, the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve is a wonderland. In this large reserve, which spans a variety of ecosystems, from vast salt flats to snow-capped mountains, there is an amazing tapestry of natural treasures.

During your visit to the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, you will observe many species of llamas, alpacas, and vicunas in their natural habitat. Flamingo groups and the Yareta plant will also be part of your adventure.

The national reserve, which covers an area of more than 367,000 hectares, is full of fascinating locations like lagoons, volcanoes, and marshes. It is also home to rare species and pre-Incan ruins. Sounds like a dream land, doesn’t it? That’s why many people say Arequipa is one of the must-visit cities in Peru!


7. Ruta del Sillar

huge sillar walls

Take the Ruta del Sillar, a fascinating tour of the city’s architectural past, to experience Arequipa’s distinct beauty firsthand. This picturesque route takes you to Arequipa’s outskirts, where you can see the famous sillar, a volcanic white stone that covers the city’s colonial structures, being extracted and transformed.

Due to its distinctive architecture and the predominant use of the white volcanic stone, Arequipa is also known as the “White City”.

In the tour, you’ll view experienced craftsmen carving and shaping the sillar into complex architectural elements as you discover the workshops. For everyone of you who loves architecture and those trying to understand Arequipa’s unique culture, the Ruta del Sillar provides an exciting glimpse into the city’s long history and mastery of craftsmanship.


8. Famous Picanterías in Arequipa

typical plate with food from arequipa

Arequipa is known for its delicious food, and no trip to the city would be complete without taking in the lively atmosphere of one of its renowned Picanterias. These small restaurants, which provide an excellent variety of regional cuisine, are a tribute to Arequipa’s culinary legacy. The unique scent of rocoto relleno, adobo or ocopa will leave you speechless when you enter a picanteria.

These places are a hub for social meetings and celebrations because of their friendly hospitality and lively atmosphere. The renowned Arequipa Picanterias are a feast for the senses, providing a memorable culinary experience that will leave you craving for more.

But that’s not all, and if you want to try more different Peruvian dishes then make sure to visit some of the best restaurants in Arequipa.


9. Mundo Alpaca

alpacas with brown fur standing next to each other

Take a trip to Arequipa’s Mundo Alpaca to see the fascinating world of alpacas. This interesting attraction provides a special chance to learn more about these cute animals that are deeply ingrained in Peruvian culture.

You’ll discover the interactive displays that demonstrate the various steps involved in producing alpaca fiber, from shearing to weaving.

At Mundo Alpaca, you can meet these fluffy animals up close and personal, and even have a chance to feed and pet them. You can browse a variety of alpaca products there, including clothes and textiles, and see the accomplished craftsmanship of regional craftsmen.


10. Arequipas Museums

museum with orange walls and white pillars

Arequipa is a city with a vibrant cultural history, and its museums provide an interesting tour of its past and present.

The Santuario Andino Museum, which houses Juanita, the Ice Maiden’s mummy that was found on Mount Ampato, takes you on a moving study of the Inca civilization. Discover the ceremonies and practices of the Incas while observing the maintenance of this historic artifact.

The Contemporary Arts Museum presents the vivid and varied artistic expressions of Arequipa and beyond for fans of modern art. It offers a stage for regional and worldwide artists to present their artistic concepts, ranging from paintings to sculptures and installations.


Discover the Enchanting Charms of Arequipa

As you’ve read in this post, Arequipa is a fascinating place with a multitude of experiences to offer any traveler.

No matter if you are more into Inca culture and history or if you prefer the breathtaking nature, such as Colca Canyon or the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve, this city has it all!

If you need any help with planning your customized itinerary to Arequipa, feel free to send us an email to info@exploor.pe.

  • 27 June, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Super interesting blog! I am keen to visit the “Picanterias” haha.

    • 28 June, 2023 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks a lot for your feedback Mauricio!


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