Arequipa Travel Guide
Arequipa is in the peruvian south, founded by the Spanish conquerors in 1540; This region has part of the dry climate that protects the mountains near the Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes as well as a stretch of coast where you can enjoy its Pacific Ocean beaches.
In addition to being known as the “White City” (Ciudad Blanca) for the buildings made of Sillar, a white volcanic stone. You may wonder : volcanic stone? Yes, it was formed more than 10 million years ago by the eruption of a terrible explosion on the surface of the ground, where a lot of magmatic material flowed, which after solidifying became “the sillar”
There are quarries from where this material is extracted, one of them is where walls of 10 to 15 meters high are observed, the well-known Sillar Route (Ruta del Sillar). Other attractions to visit are the Colca Canyon, City Tour Arequipa and more. We present our Arequipa travel guide:
How to get to Arequipa?
By bus: Lima is 1020 kilometers from Arequipa. The bus trip takes about 16 hours and several companies depart from the bus terminal with different departure times.
By car: You must travel along the Panamerican Highway South, where you must travel 971 km. After passing through the district of La Joya, continue for about 4 km along the South Interoceanic Highway 34 A and then turn right and continue along Vía Cerro Verde / AR 115. Following this road, you enter Arequipa through the Alfonso Ugarte Avenue.
By bus: It’s 325 kilometers from Puno to Arequipa and the bus trip lasts about 6 hours. The buses leave from the bus terminal and follow a mountain path that descends until they reach Arequipa.
By car: You must take the Arequipa-Puno highway (34 A) and it takes 5 hours and a half. You should start the route on highway 3S towards the left exit on the 121 for about 19 km.
By bus: Cusco and Arequipa are separated by 625 kilometers. Like Lima, there are many bus companies that go to Arequipa from Cusco. Driving time is about 10 hours.
By car: The highway that you must take from Cusco is the 3S until joining the Arequipa-Cusco highway (34 G) on the right hand side, just after the town of Sicuani. At this point you should continue for about 205 km until you turn right onto Highway 34A.
In Arequipa is the headquarters of the Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón International Airport. It is located 8 kilometers from the city center. Although it is a small airport, it has daily and regular flights to and from the cities of Lima, Cusco, Juliaca and Tacna.
To travel from other destinations, you must make a stopover at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.
To visit the city and its surroundings, it’s recommendable to avoid the rainy season, which usually occurs in January, February and March, however, it’s also an ideal time to go to the beach. The best month to visit the city and its surroundings is between March and December
If you are looking for cultural events, August is the best month to visit Arequipa, as the anniversary of the city is celebrated on August 15 and many events are held throughout the month. Likewise, on the 15th there is the Corso de la Amistad and it is celebrated from morning to night with parades, dances, troupes, fireworks, craft markets and typical food.
Regarding the weather, Arequipa has a dry climate and the temperature is constant throughout the year, since in its normal conditions the temperature does not exceed 25 °C and in winter it can reach 7 °C.
What to bring to Arequipa?
Continuing with our Arequipa travel guide, it’s also important to talk about its two seasons, a dry winter and a rainy summer, but in itself it is very unpredictable. If you travel during the rainy season (December – April) you must bring:
- Rain poncho and umbrella: Even if it’s a hot day, always keep these two things in your backpack.
- Windbreaker jacket: It tends to be very windy at this time of year.
- Light and warm sweaters: Although it tends to be hot during the day, it can get very cold when it rains more at night.
- Trekking shoes: It is designed to tackle deep puddles and is a must for those who plan to hike.
- Insect repellent: Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
But in dry season?
This is what you need:
- Warm clothing: Although no rain is expected at this time and the days are mostly sunny, but in the evenings make sure you stay warm during your stay, as the temperature reaches 16°C during the day and drops to 0°C in the evening. night.
- Scarves, hats and gloves.
- Trekking boots and sports shoes.
Typical Dishes in Arequipa
You will love the restaurants and gastronomy of Arequipa, also known as “picanterías”, where the delicious gastronomy of the region spreads its aromas with the warmth of firewood.
The rocoto, the iconic delicacy of the area, the soltero de queso (cheese), shrimp chupe o chupe de camarones, guinea pig chactado, white soup, pork rinds or chicharron, sancocho and the famous adobo dominguero will delight diners. And desserts? The queso helado (an ice cream made of milk) They are like the flavors of the gods!
Tourist Attractions in Arequipa
1. The Plaza de Armas – Historical Centre
The city welcomes you in the historic center, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Plaza de Armas, with its beautiful white volcanic rock facades, is surrounded by churches, museums, hotels and restaurants with terraces where you can eat or drink at night.
2. Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Siena
It was built in 1579, the monastery has opened part of its cloisters to the public, becoming an unmissable attraction for any visitor to Arequipa. It’s also a great example of local architecture worth seeing, the atmosphere is magical, enchanting and completely experiential.
3. The Cathedral and Museum of Arequipa
Relive more than 400 years of history by exploring the interior of the Arequipa Cathedral and its gold carvings, jewelry, and paintings, and visiting the bell tower of the cathedral to see the city and volcanoes from a bird’s eye view.
4. The Colca Canyon
It is the best place in South America to see the majestic Andean condors. This is one of the main hiking destinations in Peru, you will be amazed by its beautiful nature, as well as being the deepest and most extensive in the world.
We recommend you do the Colca Canyon in a 2D/1N Trek or a 3D/2N Trek, a journey surrounded by incredible landscapes, very picturesque towns and unique experiences.
5. Sillar Route
If you want to know how this stone is extracted, we recommend you visit the Sillar Route, a visit to a quarry on the outskirts of the city where you can also see sculptures, engravings and monumental sculptures.
Here you can learn how entire cities were built with this material and why Arequipa is known as the “Ciudad Blanca” (White City)
6. Mirador de Yanahuara (Yanahuara Viewpoint)
This viewpoint is one of the best places to visit in Arequipa Peru. From them you can appreciate the city in all its dimensions. Yanahuara is very traditional due to its carved stone arches.
But there are also other interesting viewpoints such as Sachaca, a 19-meter tower with views of the volcanoes. And Carmen Alto with a view of the Inca terraces. The Sabandia mill and the Founder’s Mansion are located on the outskirts of the city and have wonderful views. You can see them doing the City Tour Arequipa.
7. Rafting on the Chili River
Rafting on the Chili River is an opportunity for adventurers to experience different things. It is not a very fast river, but there are many torrents for fun and adrenaline-filled sessions in a canoe.
The city of Arequipa Peru and the entire region of Arequipa have many places to visit and incredible stories to learn. It can take days to get to know the greatness of Arequipa, however, it is one of the best experiences worth living. We hope you liked our Arequipa travel guide, ready to plan your next trip?