Arequipa, also known as Peru’s “White City,” has one of the delights awaiting you. It has everything starting from architecture, scenery, history, culture, food, and so on. If you’re planning a vacation, it can get overwhelming seeing so many options to choose from. To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of things you can do in the white city and ensure your trip to be a merry one. Listing the best of the best so that you can have a great time with no restrictions!
1. Hang out at Plaza de Armas
Most Peruvian cities have a main square, but none is as attractive as the one in Arequipa’s historic center, known as ‘Plaza de Armas’. This area of the city is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and serves as the city’s focal point of attraction. The magnificent Basilica Cathedral, one of Peru’s most prominent colonial buildings, stands in Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by arched white buildings. The city square is decorated with gardens and flowers, with flairs of fountains and ponds, making the entire place stand out. This is an excellent beginning to your trip to explore the city and take amazing pictures.
2. Visit Juanita at the Andinos Santuarios Museo
In this one-of-a-kind exhibit, Juanita, a 12-year-old girl from Inca who’d been offered to the deities in the 15th century, is celebrated. In 1995, the girl’s remains were found almost perfectly preserved inside a melting glacier, prompting the establishment of the Museo Santuarios Andinos. The museum delves into the Inca Empire’s darker side. In this museum, you’ll be able to see all sorts of artifacts that were buried there along with Juanita. Finally, you’ll find Juanita’s frozen and mummified remains in an eerie chilled bed. The stories of the great sacrifice are visualized heavily in that place. It’s a place that will leave you intrigued for more.
3. Check out the Yanahuara district
If you want to see a different side of Arequipa and get away from the bustling historic center for a bit, the Yanahuara district is a perfect place to do so. It takes about 30–40 minutes to walk across the Chili River from the Plaza de Armas. Yanahuara is well-known for the white sillar architectures and churches that date all the history long to the Spanish colonial period. There’s another one of Arequipa’s widely prominent viewpoints, where pale stone arches provide views of the city and nearby peaks.
4. Stroll around the old San Lázaro neighborhood
Exploring the old San Lázaro neighborhood is one of the best things to do in Arequipa. San Lázaro, one of Arequipa’s most historic quarters, is located approximately several blocks and a ten-minute head north of the Plaza de Armas. Here, you’ll discover the city’s most charming and aesthetic avenues, which will keep you entertained.
Walking between the textured stone walls and hanging baskets on the neighborhood’s narrow cobbled alleyways is like taking a step back in time. Take a stroll here at sunset to see the streets in a beautiful shimmering light, giving a sunkissed glow to the surroundings.
5. Witness the Misti Volcano
It’s difficult to visit Arequipa without seeing Misti Volcano’s menacing form in the distance. At 5,822 meters above sea level, this active volcano is the defining feature of the landscape that surrounds the region. One of the best views of the volcano can be found in the Yanahuara district. We also discovered that the Chili River bridge, only a few minutes’ walk from the Plaza de Armas, is a fine vantage point.
6. Eat Breakfast on a Rooftop
The Plaza’s west flank is surrounded by an array of restaurants, which has its rooftop. Each of the restaurants has its view, which makes them even more enjoyable. You can try out reserving early, the best time’s around 7 am. But before you do so, try to explore the places as there are lots to choose from. As you reside in this city, doing this one of the days can enrich the experience even more. If you plan to save money on the trip or just willing to look out for budget-friendly options, this is one of the best to choose from. So your wallet stays happy too!
7. Shop and eat and San Camilo Market
San Camilo is a busy local market located a few blocks south of Plaza de Armas in a large hall structure. During the day, this location is a hive of activity, with market stalls selling fresh produce, souvenirs, and handcrafted products. The market’s rooftop is not to be missed. Here is a row of miniature street-food restaurant stalls. At lunchtime, popular local dishes such as adobo, ceviche, and others are available for a rather reasonable price. If you’re someone who has a tight budget, this is a must-see lookout!
8. Try a set-lunch menu restaurant
Lunch at a nearby men’s diner is another excellent place to eat cheaply in Arequipa when enjoying the local dining scene. These establishments are usually crowded with locals and are open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A two- or three-course meal with a soft drink can be had for a surprisingly low price in a set-lunch menu’s restaurant. For seven soles, we look for the cheapest hotel in Arequipa on Calle la Merced, south of the Plaza de Armas (less than 2 dollars).
9. Trek in the Colca Canyon
Colca, the world’s second-deepest canyon, is a hiker’s paradise, and, understandably, many visitors want to take the epic journey inside this magnificent natural feature. Walking and horseback riding in the canyon is the easiest way to see this incredible place on a budget, and it’s also very convenient to arrange with a local guide. The Colca Canyon, located a few hours outside of Arequipa, is undoubtedly the city’s main attraction. To maximize your enjoyment, attempt to see magnificent Andean Condors, soak in hot springs, observe smoking volcanoes, and witness authentic village life.
10. Visit Monasterio De Santa Catalina
This monastery, which was established in 1579, is still home to a community of nuns as well as a fantastic collection of local artwork, religious items, and artifacts from various historical periods. The vast maze of passages, cloisters, and sidewalks that comprise the Santa Catalina monastery, that opened to the public in 1970, is now accessible for exploration. The climb onto the rooftop in the late afternoon to watch the spectacular sunset is a highlight for tourists who have been cut off from the outside world and willing to dwell in the lives of the city’s heart.
11. Adore the Cute Animals at Mundo Alpaca
Make a point of visiting Mundo Alpaca when you’re in San Lázaro (Alpaca World). You can encounter some of the area’s cutest animals, including llamas and alpacas, for free! There’s also the opportunity to observe and enjoy the work of local weavers (bring a tip for them). Take snacks or ask for some from your guide and watch those beautiful creatures interact with you.
12. Marvel at the Condors
The region’s most famous attraction isn’t a church made of volcanic stone. Rather, visitors come to see the magnificent condor in flight, marveling as these giant flying beasts swoop right past onlookers in pursuit of hot updrafts that enable them to glide around the canyon with ease. Although a visit in a single day is feasible, a combined Colca Canyon hike can also be complemented.
With this list, we are certain you can explore the best spots in Arequipa without any extra hassle. This place is an amazing destination to see beauty and peace on a budget. It has everything you need, from the best foods to breath-taking adventures. No wonder why it’s so popular amongst tourists! Hope this article helped sculpt your trip to the White City and provided some insight that you can use to prepare mentally and physically for the upcoming trip. Thank you for reading!