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Destination Arequipa City

Located 1000 kilometers south of Lima at an altitude of 2,225 meters, Arequipa is considered, together with Trujillo, the second most important city in Peru. It was founded by the Spanish on August 15th 1540 under the orders of Garci Manuel de Carbajal, one of Pizarro's lieutenants, in the valley of the Chili River, and it was named "Villa Hermosa de Arequipa". A year later it was granted the status of a city through a royal decree issued on October 7th 1541 by Carlos V of Spain.
However, the area has been inhabited for more than six thousand years, when pre-agricultural ethnic groups settled there, as demonstrated by the petro-glyphs of Toro Muerto. Subsequently, a number of early civilizations of varying levies of development established them-selves in the area.
It was only with the invasion by the Tiahuanaco-Wari culture around the year 600 AD that the more advanced civilization known as the Collagua culture developed, giving rise to the Churajón and Chuquibamba cultures, the latter of which was influenced by the coastal Nasca culture.
The name Arequipa is the result of a combination of two words: "Are" and "quipa". It may have been derived from the Quechua words "ari", which means "yes", and "quipay", which means "stay". On the other hand, in the Aymara language "ari" means "peak", while "quipay" means "be-hind", thereby producing the phrase "be-hind the peak" in reference to Arequipa's location at the foot of El Misti volcano.
After its foundation, Arequipa was immediately inhabited by Spanish conquistadores and colonists and it quickly became the highest concentration of Hispanic inhabitants in the Viceroyalty of Peru. It was built using the white volcanic rock known as "sillar", which is common in this volcanic region, and it is known as the "White City". Arequipa, together with Moquegua and Tacna, is located in the volcanic southern Andes and the city itself is constructed at the foot of the El Misti volcano. This is a seismically very unstable area and the city has been affected by a number of earthquakes which have devastated the city throughout its history (in 1581, 1584, 1687, 1788, 1868, 1958 and 1960, with the most recent earthquake occurring in June 2001).

Choose your Arequipa City Tour


Arrowheads and rock art nave proven human occupation around Arequipa for over ten thousand years. This began with early groups of hunter-gatherers arriving here on a seasonal basis for several millennia from 8000 BC to around 1000 BC when horticulture and ceramic technology began to appear in small settlements along streams and rivers. Initially influenced by the Paracas culture and later by the Tiahuanaco-I Huari, two major local tribes emerged sharing the area: the Churajone living in the far northwest section of the Arequipa region, and the Chuquibamba who thrived higher up in the Andean plateaus above Arequipa the arrival of the Incas.
The name Arequipa is derived from the Quechua phrase "art quepay", meaning "let's stop here, which, according to local legend, is exactly what the fourth Inca emperor, Mayta Capac, said to his generals on the way through the area following one of his conquest trips.

Colonial development

The Incas were not alone in finding Arequipa to their liking. When Pizarro officially "founded" the city in 1540, he was moved enough to call it Villa Hermosa, or Beautiful Town, and Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes extolled the city's virtues, saying that it enjoyed an eternal springtime. The lovely white stone lent itself to extravagant buildings and attracted master architects to the city.

Colonial development arequipa

The wool trade

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this mountainous region became an important source of sheep and alpaca wool exports, largely to the UK. Connected to the rest of Peru only by mule track until 1870, Arequipa was slow to become the provincial capital it is today. Money made mainly from exports kept the economy growing enough to establish an electric urban tramway in 1913 and then a road up to Puno in 1928.

The wool trade arequipa

Political upheaval

Having acquired a reputation as the centre of right-wing political power, while populist movements have tended to emerge around Trujillo in the north, Arequipa has traditionally represented the solid interests of the oligarchy. Important politicos, like Francisco Javier de Luna Pizarro, who was president of Congress on many occasions in the nineteenth century, carne from Arequipa. Sánchez Cerro and Odria both began their coups here, in 1930 and 1948 respectively, and Belaunde, one of the most important presidents in pre- and post-military coup years, sprang into politics from one of the wealthy Arequipa families. By 1972 the city's population had reached 350,000. Twenty years later it passed half a million, with many people arriving from the Andean hinterland to escape the violence of Peru's civil war.
The social extremes are quite clear today; despite the tastefully ostentatious architecture and generally well-heeled appearance of most townsfolk, there is much poverty in the region and there's been a huge increase in the number of street beggars in Arequipa. Social polarization carne to a head in 2002, when the city's streets were ripped up in political protest against President Toledo´s plans to sell off the local electric utility.

Political upheaval arequipa


According to the INEI (Peru’s statistics bureau), the population of the Arequipa metropolitan area is projected to reach just under 1 million in 2015. It is the 3rd most populous Peruvian metropolitan area, after Lima and Trujillo. Arequipa sits at an average elevation of 2,335 m, lower than Cusco city, the Colca Canyon, and Puno/Lake Titicaca.
The region experiences periodic seismic activity in the form of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

arequipa Geography


Three volcanoes stand guard over Arequipa city: Chachani (6,075 meters; 19,939 feet), Misti (5,822 meters; 19,101 feet), and Pichu Pichu (5,669 meters; 18,599 feet). Chachani and Pichu Pichu are extinct. Misti is currently dormant, but has a long history of violent eruptions. The word “misti” means “lord” in Quechua.


The Cotahuasi Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world, is situated in the Valley of the Volcanoes. At its greatest depth, the chasm measures 3,354 meters or more than 11,000 feet. For the sake of comparison, the Grand Canyon in the U.S. reaches just 1,857 meters or 6,093 feet.
The Colca Canyon is less profound than Cotahuasi, but it more accessible as a destination for sightseeing and trekking. Located about 100 miles northwest of Arequipa City, travelers can arrange a comfortable tour by car to spend a day or two exploring the canyon. For an extra challenge, book a 2- or 3-day trek to get into and out of the canyon on your own power.


Varied topography means you’ll experience diverse weather conditions depending on where you go in the Arequipa region.
Arequipa city is renowned for its pleasant weather and enjoys an average of 300 sunny days per year. Remember to wear sunscreen, as Arequipa experiences intense high solar radiation as a result of high altitude and proximity to the Atacama Desert.
If you venture out to the mountains and highlands around Arequipa expect stronger sun and winds during the day, and significantly cooler temperatures at night.


Iglesia Santo Domingo

East of the Iglesia La Compañía and the plaza you'll find the exquisitely restored Iglesia Santo Domingo, originally built in 1553 by Gaspar Baez, the first master architect to arrive, in Arequipa. Most of what you see today was built between 1650 and 1698, but suffered major damage during the earthquakes of 1958 and 1960. The large main door represents m interesting example of Arequipas mestizo craftsmanship - an Indian face amid a bunch of grapes, leaves and cacti - and the side door is said to be the oldest in the city.

Iglesia Santo Domingo arequipa

La Casa del Moral

Around the corner from the Casa Arróspide sits the seventeenth-century La Casa del Moral (literally meaning "Mulberry House"), lovingly restored and refurbished with period pieces. Its most engaging feature is a superb stone gateway, carved with motifs that are similar to those on Nasca ceramics - puma heads with snakes growing from their mouths - surrounding a Spanish coat of arms. The mansion name comes from an ancient mora trece, still thriving in the central patio.

La Casa del Moral arequipa

Iglesia San Agustín

One block from the Casa del Moral, the elegant 1575 Iglesia San Agustín has one of the. city's finest Baroque facades, added later in the late eighteenth century. Its old convent cloisters are now attached to the university, while inside only me unique octagonal sacristy survived the 1868 earthquake.

Iglesia San Agustín arequipa

Monasterio de Santa Catalina

Two blocks north of the Plaza de Armas the vast walls of the Monasterio de Santa Catalina shelter a convent that housed almost two hundred secluded nuns and three hundred servants from the late sixteenth century until 1970, when it opened some of its outer doors to the public. The most important and prestigious religious building in Peru, its enormous complex of rooms, cloisters and tiny plazas takes an hour or two to explore. Some thirty nuns who still live here today, worship in the main chapel only outside of opening hours. Originally the concept of Gaspar Baez in 1570, though only granted official licence five years later, the convent was funded by the Viceroy Toledo and me wealthy María de Guzmán, who later entered the convent with one of her sisters and donated all her riches to the community. The most striking feature is its predominantly Mudéjar style, adapted by the Spanish from the Moors, but which rarely found its way into their colonial buildings. The quality of the design is emphasized and harmonized by a superb interplay between the white stone and brilliant colours in the ceilings, the strong sunlight and deep-blue sky above the maze of narrow interior streets.

Monasterio de Santa Catalina arequipa

Museo Histórico Municipal

Just above Santa Catalina, the small, leafy Plazuela de San Francisco, usually buzzing with students and townspeople, is where you'll find Arequipas city museum, the Museo Histórico Municipal, which devores ítseif principally to local heroes - army chiefs, revolutionary leaders, presidents and poets (including the renowned Mariano Melgar). It´s rather a dull collection of memorabilia, though some rooms have interesting photographs of the city. There are also displays of artefacts from the colonial period and the war with Chile. The university´s museums, located on the outskirts of the city, are of greater interest (see opposite).

Museo Histórico Municipal arequipa

Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco

The Plazuela de San Francisco is honie to a stríking Franciscan complex, dominated by a convent and the Iglesia de San Francisco. Yet another of Gaspar Baez's projects, this one dating back to 1569, it shows an interesting mix of brick and sillar work both inside and on the facade. Original paintings by Baltazar de Prado once covered the central nave, but the earthquake of 1604 destroyed these. However, the nave retains its most impressive feature - a pure-silver altar. Adjoining the church are rather austere convent cloisters and the very simple Capila del Tercera Orden, its entrance decorated with modest mestizo carvings of St Francis and St Clare, founders of the first and second orders.

Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco arequipa

Monasterio de Santa Teresa

Close to the centre of town, Monasterio de Santa Teresa is smaller than Santa Catalina but has astonishingly beautiful colonial patios set around a large open courtyard. Internally it has a colonial art museum which displays some fine religious artwork and murals, as well as twelve exhibition spaces and over three hundred works of art.

Monasterio de Santa Teresa arequipa

Monasterio de La Recoleta

The Monasterio de La Recoleta is located on the western side of the Río Chili, which runs its generally torrential course through Arequipa from Selva Alegre, di viding the old heart of the city from what has become a more modern downtown sector, including Yanahuara (see opposite) and Cayma (see p. 164). This large Franciscan monastery stands conspicuously alone on Callejón de La Recoleta, just ten to fifteen minutes' walk east of the Plaza de Armas.
The stunning major and mirror cloisters were built in 1651; in 1869 it was converted to an Apostolic Mission school administered by the Barefoot Franciscans. It is the archeology and natural history museums that really draw people here though. Open to the public since 1978, they house: two rooms of pre-Columbian artifacts including textiles and ceramics; an Amazon room showing artifacts from jungle Indian tribes and examples of forest flora and fauna; a religious and modern art gallery displaying both Cusqueña and Arequipeña classical works; plus a renowned history library with some 25,000 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century volumes.

Monasterio de La Recoleta arequipa

Museo Santuarios Andinos

The Museo Santuarios Andinos, part of the Universidad Católica de Santa María, is arguably the most important museum in Arequipa today, with displays of some nineteen Inca mummies and a range of archeological remains; guides are obligatory but their fee, which is additional, is negotiable. The main exhibit is Juanita, the ancient 13-year-old "princess" uncovered in her icy ritual grave on September 8, 1995, by an expedition that included the archeologists Johan Reinhard and José Chavez, along with the well-known Andinista Miguel Zarate. Her gravesite, located at the incredible altitude of 6380m on Ampato Volcano, is estimated to be about 500 years old. It is thought that Juanita was sacrified to the Apu Ampato and killed, after a time of fasting and herbal sedation, with a blow to the head by a five-pointed granite mace. The museum also contains fine examples of associated grave goods like textiles, precious metals and Inca ceramics.

Museo Santuarios Andinos arequipa


Until the railway boom of the late nineteenth century, which brought peasant-migrants to Arequipa from as far away as Cusco, Yanahuara was a distinct village. It is now built up, though it still commands stunning views across the valley, above all from its churches. There are also one or two fine restaurants in this sector. The municipal plaza possesses a beautiful viewing point (mirador), which has been made famous by posteards.
To get here, buses and colectivos can be caught from the corner of Grau with Santa Catalina, or from Puente Grau, or it’s a fifteen-minute walk from Puente Grau (l-2km), between blocks 2 and 3 of Avenida Ejercito.

Yanahuara arequipa

Iglesia Yanahuara

The small Iglesia Yanahuara on the tranquil main plaza dates to the middle of the eighteenth century, and its Baroque facade is particularly fine, with a stone relief of the tree of life incorporating angels, flowers, saints, lions and hidden Indian races.

Iglesia Yanahuara arequipa


From Puente Grau, a longish stroll takes you across to the west bank of the Chili, along Avenida Ejercito and out to the suburb of Cayma (3-4km); there are also buses available (see below). Another kilometre or so furthet out than Yanahuara, the area was once a small suburb with views over the city, but now reflects the commercial, even flashy side of Arequipa, with large shops and even one or two nightclubs. The suburb also offers good views of the Chachani Volcano.

Cayma arequipa

Iglesia de San Miguel

The Iglesia de San Miguel, buil in the early eighteenth century, houses an image of the Virgen de la Candelaria, donated to the city by King Carlos V. It’s possible to climb up to the roof of the church which offers great views across Yanahuara and towards the S volcanoes to the north.

Iglesia de San Miguel arequipa

Puente de Fierro

South of the city centre, Arequipas very impressive black-iron viaduct, or Puente de Fierro, provides a great vantage point for views over the city to El Misti. Although spanning half a kilometre, it was well-designed by Gustave Eiffel and built to such high standards by die railway baron Henry May that it has successfully vaulted the city´s bubbling Río Chili, and. withstood the test of Arequipas severe earthquakes and tremors, for over a hundred years.

Puente de Fierro arequipa

Plaza de Armas

Arequipa's main plaza is a monument to the city's sillar architecture - white, muscular and aesthetically unique. Impressive colonnaded balconies line three sides.
The fourth is given over to the cathedral, a humungous edifice with two soaring towers.

Plaza de Armas arequipa

La Catedral

Originally built in the 17th century (and rebuilt many times since), the cathedral's luminous interiors contain 12 Italian marble columns (symbolizing the 12 Apostles) and a Byzantine-style brass lamp from Spain. In 1870 Belgium provided the organ, said to be the largest in South America - though damage during shipping condemned the devout to suince at its distorted notes for more than acentury. It is the only cathedral in Peru the stretches the length of a plaza.

La Catedral arequipa

Iglesia de la Compañia

This diminutive Jesuit churs on the southeast corner of the Plaza de Armas has a facade that is an intricately carved masterpiece of the churrigueresque style (think Spanish baroque - and then some). It has an equally detailed altar completely covered in gold leaf. To the left of it is the San Ignacio chapel, with a polychrome cupola smothered in jungle inspired murals of tropical flowers, fruit and birds.

Iglesia de la Compañia arequipa

Museo Arte Virreinal de Santa Teresa

This gorgeous 17th-century Carmelite convent and museum is filled with priceless votive objects d'art, murals, precious metal works, colonial-era paintings and other historical artifacts. A charming shop at the front of the com-plex sells baked goods and rose-scented soap made by the nuns.

Museo Arte Virreinal de Santa Teresa arequipa

Cultural norms

Religious festivals: Señor de los Milagros

In October, the Catholic faithful in Arequipa gather at San Agustin church to celebrate “mes morada” or purple month. The focus of the celebration are paintings of Señor de los Milagros and Virgen de la Nube. During the month, the images are carried in procession around the historic center, visiting churches, hospitals and other public and private institutions.

Señor de los Milagros arequipa


Historically, the indigenous cultures of the Andes regarded volcanic mountain peaks as powerful spirits with the ability to control weather and agricultural fertility. In the present, some people in Peru still believe that the mountains are both protectors and occasional menaces (when they explode). During important festivals, offerings are still made to appease the giants. Adventurous travelers with appropriate gear and experience may ascend the ice-covered summits by booking a guided trek.

Literary city

Arequipa has a long history of producing writers, artists, musicians, and intellectuals. The Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa was born here. Other notable writers include the 19th century writers Mariano Melgar, Maria Nieves y Bustamante, and Jorge Polar and the portrait painter Carlos Baca Flor (1869-1941). In the present, Arequipa is filled with museums, cultural centers, and galleries that testify to a thriving tradition of artistic production.


Rich, complex, and wholly addictive is probably the best way to describe traditional Arequipa cuisine. The place to go to try it? Local eateries called picanterías. These restaurants are veritable institutions, where friends and families like to get together on Sundays to feast and share each other’s company.

Recommended dishes:

  • adobo – traditional spicy pork stew, usually served on Sunday
  • rocoto relleno – spicy rocoto pepper stuffed with minced beef, eggs, and olives, topped with melted cheese
  • caldo blanco – white broth lamb stew with potato, corn, chickpeas, chuño, and spices
  • puchero – meat stew with beef, pork, chicken, greens and herbs chupe de camarones – spicy shrimp stew prepared with milk and cheese
  • loco – squash stew with beef or lamb
  • chicharron – tender deep fried pork


Tour the Historic center

Declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity Site in 2000, the historic center of Arequipa conserves the most picturesque colonial architecture in all of Peru. As you wander the cobblestoned streets, you’ll quickly see why Arequipa is called “Ciudad Blanca” or White City.” Sillar is petrified ash from millennium’s worth of volcanic eruptions. Used as the primary building material for Arequipa’s churches and mansions, it bestows the city with a radiant appearance. Since the city began to be built in the 16th century, the region has experienced a high level of destructive geologic activity in the form of earthquakes and volcanic explosions. In this context, the preservation of monumental architecture in the historic center is even more remarkable.

Tour the Historic center arequipa

Try the food

Tell anyone that you traveled to Arequipa, and the first thing people will ask is, “did you try the food?” Don’t miss your chance to sample what many consider to be the best dishes in all of Peru. At the top of the list: rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy pepper), chupe de camarones (spicy shrimp stew), adobo (spicy pork stew). Save room for a dessert of queso helado (frozen milk spiced with cinnamon).

Try the food arequipa

Yanahuara Balcony Viewpoint

A lovely neighbourhood that hosts a small tree-lined plaza leading to a “mirador” or lookout point. This viewpoint has exceptional views of the city and of its nearby volcanoes. The arches here are caved with quotes from Arequipa’s most prolific poets and writers.

Yanahuara Balcony Viewpoint arequipa

See Misti from a fresh angle

Go to the Yanahuara district overlooking the historic center to get fantastic angles of majestic El Misti volcano. A beautiful terrace is framed by white stone arches carved with famous lines of prose and poetry in Spanish. It’s a great place to relax and soak in the views.

See Misti from a fresh angle arequipa

Go to the Colca Canyon

Everywhere you go in Peru, you’ll see alpaca scarves, sweaters and gloves for sale. In Arequipa, go to Mundo Alpaca where you can learn all about the origins of these products, from the shearing of alpacas and vicunas, to spinning yarn, to weaving using centuries-old methods. At the end, you be able to tell the difference between our alpaca products and those made with synthetic material.

Go to the Colca Canyon arequipa


Arequipa has a good selection of accommodation in all price ranges, with most of the better options mainly within a few blocks of the Plaza de Armas or along Calle Jerusalen. For ease of reference, they are divided below into three selection: the pleasant area north of Calle Melgar, the central area between Melgar and the main plaza, and the area around the plaza and to the south, all within walking distance of the Plaza de Armas.

The following are our top choices for hotels in Arequipa City.

Libertador Hotel Arequipa

Address: Bolivar Square s/n – Selva Alegre, Arequipa

The Libertador Arequipa hotel is located at 1.5km north of the downtown, at the Selva Alegre district and 20-minute drive from "Rodriguez Ballon" airport.
Here, whether you're traveling for pleasure, you can start enjoying in its pool and gardens as well as the exquisite cuisine offered at “Los Robles” restaurant. For business travel, you can access its lobby, workstations; and enjoy the company of good friends, also exchange experiences at the “Montoneros” bar, which counts a direct entry from the street. The hotel also has a new multipurpose area, ideal for major events and conventions of up to 900 guests and ample parking.

libertador arequipa

Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa

Address: Ugarte Street # 403, Arequipa

The hotel is a historical building dating back to 1794 which contains a little chapel, museum; inner courtyard and an ancient home to the “Casa de la Moneda” (Mint House) what makes this place a living museum than a hotel. It's a great colonial mansion situated in the historic center of Arequipa city.
The "Casa Andina Private Collection" Arequipa hotel offers its guests great and panoramic views of the "Misti" volcano and the cathedral from its fourth floor. This boutique hotel also has an exclusive restaurant named "Alma Cocina Viva", which offers international cuisine combined with traditional dishes of Arequipa.

casa andina private collection arequipa

Sonesta Posada del Inca Arequipa

Address: Main Plaza, Portal de Flores # 116, Arequipa

The Sonesta Posada del Inca Arequipa hotel is just located in the main plaza, a few steps from the tourist and financial centers of the city. This hotel is known as one of the best ones.
The hotel has undoubtedly got one of the best locations of all hotels in the city. This is a four star hotel, also has a restaurant overlooks the beautiful Cathedral of Arequipa situated in the arches of the plaza on the second level.
The hotel also has a small pool where guests can enjoy a day of sun and terrace area situated on the fifth floor, offering a bit of relaxation.

sonesta posada del inca arequipa

QP Hotel Arequipa

Address: Villalba Street # 305, Arequipa

This picturesque hotel is situated in an infrastructure built in volcanic rock, located at a few meters from the main square of the city. It features a terrace with panoramic views accompanied with stylish decor and furniture which look harmonious details that give a value for a comfortable stay.
Buffet breakfast is served every day. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant inside where can be ordered Peruvian and also international dishes.The rooms are designed and furnished to satisfy its guests’ expectations.

qp arequipa

Casa Andina Classic Arequipa

Address: Jerusalén 603, Arequipa

Casa Andina Classic Arequipa “Jerusalen” offers its visitors safety and comfortable rooms at accessible prices.
The hotel looks a contemporary decor set in white volcano rock; this hotel has a spacious terrace with panoramic views of the “Misti” volcano. It’s located at only 5-minute walk from the main plaza. It also offers free Wi-Fi internet service in different areas of the hotel.The hotel is also situated within short walking distance of local markets, tourist restaurants and shopping stores of the city.

casa andina classic arequipa

San Agustin Posada Del Monasterio

Address: Santa Catalina Street # 300, Arequipa

The Hotel “San Agustin Posada del Monasterio” is a traditional house of ashlar dating from the eighteenth century; it has been completely restored while preserving its architectural heritage with actual amenities, located in the opposite side of “Santa Catalina” convent.
This hope also offers a touristic restaurant which has a capacity of 65 people, where you can find a variety of national and international dishes. It also counts a hick bar with capacity for only 25 people with a selection of spirits and local inputs.

san agustin posada del monasterio

Tierra Viva Arequipa Plaza

Address: Jerusalén Street 202, Arequipa.

The Tierra Viva Arequipa Plaza hotel is located at Jerusalem Street, into the historical center of the white city. Its character is defined by a good quality service, also its closeness to the main tourist attractions and the comfort and silence of its rooms.
The hotel displays paintings created by most celebrated artists and photographs which show the most renowned streets housed on its rooms and common areas, as well as beautiful details in ashlar stone, a volcanic rock used to build the historic buildings of th city.

tierra viva arequipa plaza

Where to eat

As it's not too far from the Pacific, the town's better restaurants are also renowned for their excellent fresh seafood. Picanterías - traditional Peruvian eating houses serving spicy seafood - are particularly well established here. There are also a number of non-picantería restaurants on the plaza, many of them with fine views to the Catedral and square below. Some also offer live musk, especially on weekend evenings.

Where to eat arequipa


Burger Express

Portal San Agustín 123. This fairly standard Italian-style café nonetheless serves some of the best and strongest coffee in Arequipa. The menu includes sandwiches, burgers and other fast foods, as well as full meals.

Inkafe Café Bar

Portal de flores, Plaza de Armas. Upstairs and to the right of Cinesur, and linked to the luxurious Sonata Posada del inca, this café is located on one of only two sunny terraces on the east side of the plaza and serves fine sandwiches, pastas and main dishes. An expensive place to dine, but worth it, not least for the high-quality service.

Los Leños Pizzaria

C Jerusalen 407. Just below the corner of Jerusalen and Puente Grau, this café serves a large range of delicious pizzas, pastas and some meat dishes, all very good value. The walls are covered with the graffiti of travellers from every continent.


C Mercaderes 113. One of Arequipa's longest-established snack bars, offering good service and a delectable selection of meals, cakes and sweets, as well as excellent coffee. Portions are big and prices similar. There's another Manolos, newer but almost identical, just a couple of doors away on the same Street at number 117Restaurant Lakshmivan C Jerusalen 402. A very popular lunchtime vegetarian cafeteria at the back of a small patio, with a background soundtrack of classical musk and a tranquil afnbience. There's also a range of health-food producís, yoghurts and wholemeal bread for sale.


Pasaje Catedral 108. A small vegetarian snack bar in the lane behind the Catedral with good set-menus, great yoghurt and scrumptious Mexican tacos. Prices are very reasonable, even if portions aren't overly generous.

El Turko

San Francisco 216. Central, vaguely Middle-Eastern-themed place With excellent coffee plus crepes, sandwiches, sweets and probably the best falafel in Peru; the space is popular and busy into the early hours.


La Cantarilla

C Tahuaytani 106, Sachaca. A notable, modern picantería located in a suburban district to the south of Yanahuara. Best at lunchtime when you can enjoy the shaded, spacious patios; everything is cooked over wood fires. Main-course prices start at S/20 per dish.

Complejo Turístico Bob Gourmet

Alameda Pardo 123. Combining two of the finest restaurants in the city, this complex is based in the old Club Aleman, overlooking the city from the western banks of the Río Chili, with shady pagodas and a kids' play area. El Montonero is its excellent lunchtime restaurant, which is attempting to rescue some traditional regional dishes such as senca meatballs and pesque, which is made from quinoa with a cheese and steak topping. Che Carlitos is a relatlvely fancy Argentine grill and bar, serving excellent beef and alpaca cuts, but also offering fine salads and roast vegetables. Best at lunchtime.

El Gaucho

Portal de flores 112. On the plaza but below ground level, this is one of the best meat restaurants in town with quite reasonable prices; try the grills or the lomo gaucho.


C Santa Catalina 120a. A highly recommended veggie restaurant with a distinctive atmosphere, serving excellent breakfasts, natural yoghurt, juices and mueslis plus very good and inexpensive vegetarian set meals. The restaurant is associated with the Centro Cultural Bhakti Yoga (in the same building), which offers daily classes.

Inkari Pub Restaurant

Pasaje Catedral 113. Half-bar, half-restaurant, this serves good pizzas as well as other food (beef, chicken, pasta) in an often lively environment. There's also a dartboard (dangerously close to the front entrance), tables outside and just about enough room for musicians at weekends.

Picantería La Cau Cau II

Tronchadero 404, Yanahuara. One of Arequipa's best-value picantería restaurants, specializing in traditional foods llke guinea pigs and ricotto relleno and with fine views towards El Misti and the city from its patio garden.

Restaurant Sol de Mayo

Jerusalen 207, Yanahuara. Located in a different Calle Jerusalen (in the suburb of Yanahuara) to the one which bisects Arequipa's centre, this place has tables set within and around attractive gardens, live musk and superbly prepared, traditional Peruvian dishes, all enjoyed in a convivial atmosphere. It's quite expensive, with main dishes starting at around S/28, but worth the S/5 taxi there out there; alternatively it's a 15rrrin walk over Puente Grau, then a few blocks up Av Ejercito. Cali to reserve a table, since it's very popular.

Restaurant El Viñedo

San Francisco 319. Quite a large, posh restaurant; pricey, but worth it for arguably the best Argentine-style steaks and grills in southern Peru, as well as the quality service.

Restaurant Zingaro

San Francisco. A modern re-fit of an attractive sillar-vaulted space, this restaurant offers good Mediterranean-style food at average prices, with equally good service. Best appreciated in the early evening.

Rosal Restaurant

Rosal Restaurant This is an ecological restaurant run by environmentalists and situated in lovely gardens by the river. All the food Is delicious and organic, and their avocado stuffed with vegetables is exceptional.

Tradición Arequipeña

Av Dolores 111. Probably the best picantería in town, this is the place to try your first cuy chactado or rocoto relleno. Opened in 1991 several blocks east of the city centre, it has a pleasant garden and is usually bustling with locals enjoying the extremely fresh and tasty food.

Arequipeña Delicacies

It's often hard to distinguish between bars, restaurants and nightclubs (or discos, as most are referred to), as many restaurants have a bar and live musk, while many bars and clubs also serve food. Welcoming peña restaurants concentrated along the streets between calles Santa Catalina and Jerusalen, specialize in more traditional music than either bars or clubs. Most peñas open Thurs-Sat 8.30pm-midn¡ght, while discos and nightclubs, many just a couple of Wocks from the Plaza de Armas, open nightly till 3 or 4am, and usually charge a small entrance fee (around S/10).

Arequipeña Delicacies Arequipa

Adobo Typically eaten for breakfast In Arequipa. This is a pork dish where the meat and bones are soaked and cooked in maize-beer sediment or vinegar, onions, garlic, boiled small rocotos and chillis.

Cuy chactado The name comes from the flat, round stone – or chaqueria – which is placed on top of a gutted and hung guinea pig to splay it out flat in a large frying pan, while cooking it in ample olive oil; it is usually served with toasted maize and a sauce made from chillis and the herb huacatay (black Andean mint).

Chupe de camarones River shrimp casserole incorporating squashes, cheeses, chillis and potatoes.

Ocopa A cold appetizer that originated in this city but can be found on menus across Peru. iIt is made with potatoes, eggs, olives and a fairly spicy yellow chilli sauce, usually with ground peanuts added.

Rocoto relleno A spicy Andean pepper usually stuffed with minced pork meat and blended with garlic, tomato paste, eggs and mozzarella.

Drinking and Nightlife

It's often hard to distinguish between bars, restaurants and nightclubs (or discos, as most are referred to), as many restaurants have a bar and live musk, while many bars and clubs also serve food. Welcoming peña restaurants concentrated along the streets between calles Santa Catalina and Jerusalen, specialize in more traditional music than either bars or clubs. Most peñas open Thurs-Sat 8.30pm-midn¡ght, while discos and nightclubs, many just a couple of Wocks from the Plaza de Armas, open nightly till 3 or 4am, and usually charge a small entrance fee (around S/10).

Drinking and Nightlife lima


Deja Vu

C San Francisco 319. This small, popular place serves seafood, spaghetti and meat dishes, plus, of course, drinks. There's also a big video screen and a nice rooftop patio, which can get crowded al weekends.

Itnika Restaurant Pizzeria

San Francisco 317. A popular restaurant in the Casona Forum complex, with reasonably tasty pizzas accompanied by good table service; the place usually gets very busy later on in the evenings.

Farerns' Irish Bar

Pasaje Catedral 107. A tidy Irish pub type bar With a wide range of cocktails and whiskies, good rock music and outside tables. Food also served.

Zero Pub

San Francisca 317. Popular with young locals and calling itself a "temple to rock'n'roll", this bar has a couple of decent pool tables and is decorated with posters of rock icons.


Forum Rock Café

C San Francisco 317. The liveliest and funkiest spot in the city, with live rock-centric music on Fri and Sat. This massive venue boasts a concert hall and disco as well as a café, decent bars and snacks.

La Quinta Jerusalen

C Jerusalen 522. Comes to life at night when excellent food is served amid live local folk music. Sometimes traditional folk-dancing at weekends too.

Restaurant Peña Las Quenas

C Santa Catalina 302 One of the larger and better venues in town, Las Quenas dishes out authentic Andean music, food (including breakfast) and good pisco sours. Live folk music most weekends (5/10 entrance), and also during the week from June to Sept.

La Troica

C Jerusalen 522a. One of the main folk venues with music almost every night in high seaáon (S/6 entrance). AIso features traditional Afro-Peruvian music. Well frequented by Wur groups.

El Tuturutu

Portal San Agustín 105. Right on the Plaza de Armas and overlooking the angel fountain of the same name, this restaurant and peña has a great atmosphere when busy at weekends.


The cultural institutes put on occasional programmés, especially the Instituto Cultural Peruano-Alemán, (Ugarte 207, which has a cultural events notice board, shows good films in Spanish and Germán and sometimes has children's theatre. AIso worth a try are the Alianza Francesa, at C Santa Catalina 208, where there's a gallery displaying local artists' work, and the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norte Americano at C Melgar 109.

Arts and Entertainment lima



Arequipa's central market is one of the biggest and liveliest in Peru, though it's also a prime spot for pickpockets. located a couple of blocks down from Iglesia Santo Domingo, it sells all sorts of food, leather work, musical instruments, inexpensive artesanía and even llama and alpaca meat, while offering an excellent range of hats, herbs and even cheap shoe repairs. You can also get a selection of fruit juices, including some combined with eggs and dark, sweet, stout beer.


Artesanía, alpaca goods and silver jewellery can be found in a number of places, but mainly in shops along the Pasaje Catedral, close to the main plaza, and the stalls and shops around the courtyard at Centro Artesanal Fundo El Fierro, on the second block of Grau.

Patio del Ekeko

C Mercaderes 141, near the corner with Calle Jerusalen. A very plush, new shopping mall with a difference: quite upmarket in appearance, the products -- silverware, artesanía, clothing, quality food - are surprisingly inexpensive. On the second floor there's a very good internet service, cafetería and bar; on the third floor there's a museum of textiles from southem Peru.


For collections of colonial (and older) antiques, including some interesting pre-Columbian ceramics, the antiques and art shops at Puente Grau 314b and along blocks 1 to 4 of C Santa Catalina are excellent. Of the latter, the best is Arte Colonial, where there are several jam-packed rooms to explore.


La Cañasta

C Jerusalen 120. The best baker in town, located at the back of a patio, where you can also sit down and eat breakfasts or snack. It also has a small delicatessen counter.


Librería El Lecto

San Francisco 133. Sells a number of books in English and also has the best book-exchange service in Arequipa and a cultural events notice board.

Libreria San Francisco

C San Francisco 221. Stocks a wide range of English-language books, including many on the history and wildlife of Peru.


Campamento Base

C Jerusalen 401b. Otherwise known as "Colca Trek" this shop offers camping equipment and maps plus a good range of tents, sleeping bags and all other essentials. lt is also a good place to enquire about expert guides.

Zarate Adventures

C Santa Catalina 204. Has a significant range of camping and climbing equipment. There are other tour companies that rent out equipment, but not all are of the same quality.


The region has a semi-arid and temperate climate. The rainy season begins in January and ends in March.


Maximum temperature Minimum temperature
22°C 5°C
72°F 41°F
weather arequipa

Travel Tips

How to get to Arequipa

By plane: Arequipa’s Manuel Ballon International Airport (airport code: AQP) has regular connecting flights to/from Lima, Juliaca, and Cusco. The airport is 8 km (5.5 miles) from the Plaza de Armas. Take a taxi or book a transfer with your hotel or travel agency.

By bus: Arequipa has 2 major bus stations, Terminal Terreste and Terminal Terrapuerto, which are located adjacent to one other and 3.8 km (2.4 miles) from the Plaza de Armas. For long distance travel between Arequipa and Cusco, Puno, or Lima, the best and safest option is to look for non-stop overnight routes with companies such as Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, or Exclusiva.

Getting around Arequipa

Transportation options within Arequipa include taxis and combis. Taxis are the most expensive (by local standards) but also the easiest way to get around. When hailing a taxi on the street, make sure that the vehicle’s placards and identification numbers are readily visible. These taxis and their drivers are registered with the local Transportation Authority. Be sure to negotiate the fare before you get in the car. Taxis are not metered and fares vary by approximate distance to your destination.
Combis are also fairly easy to use. The fare is always a flat rate of 50 centimos or S./1 (less than half a US dollar), depending on the distance to your destination. Be sure to verify with the attendant, called the cobrador in Spanish, that your destination is along their route. Traffic moves pretty fast, so your best bet is flag down the combi at a traffic light and quickly ask the cobrador, who will answer “sí” or “no.”


If you’re arriving from sea level and plan to travel to the Andes, Arequipa is the perfect stop between Lima and higher elevation destinations such as Cusco/Machu Picchu or Puno/Lake Titicaca.
Arequipa is located at 2,335 meters above sea level — about a 1,000 meters less than Cusco or Puno — and few travelers ever experience altitude sickness here. However, the road between Arequipa and the Colca Canyon reaches altitudes of 4,000 meters. You’ll notice the difference if you get out of the car and try any strenuous activity, such as climbing or sprinting. Gladly, these activities are not part of the program. Stick to the comfort of your car, bus, or van and you should have no problem.

Best time to visit Arequipa

The weather is best during the dry season from April to June.
In August, Arequipa celebrates the anniversary of its founding with a month-long celebration that draws a mix of locals, Peruvians, and international travelers. Hotels can book up quickly, so be sure to make your plans well in advance.

Packing for Arequipa

As with any of Peru’s mountain destinations, the key to packing for Arequipa is to plan to dress in layers. Morning are cold and you’ll want to start the day with outer layers than you can remove as the day warms up.

Trip Extensions

Arequipa is located on the popular southern route through Peru. From Lima, you can travel down the desert coast to Paracas and Nazca, then up to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. From here, depending on how much time you have, go to Puno & Lake Titicaca or Cusco & Machu Picchu. And if you have days to spare, consider taking a short detour to the Amazon rainforest. The Peruvian jungle outpost of Puerto Maldonado is a short 30-min flight from Cusco and a 1-hr flight from Lima.