Arequipa, also known as the ‘White City’ is a gorgeous location in Peru that boasts an exciting and diverse cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and magnificent architecture. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, this enchanting city offers visitors myriad attractions to explore and experience.
From colonial-era buildings to picturesque views, you’ll love what Arequipa has to offer. Perhaps because there is just so much to see, it’s wise to narrow things down a little to ensure you are able to enjoy the main attractions. With that in mind, here are some of the unmissable attractions to see in Arequipa to help you create the perfect itinerary.
Historic City Centre
Perhaps the best place to start when it comes to Arequipa is in the city centre itself. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you know you’ll find some wonderful buildings and plenty of history to go along with your visit. Colonial-era buildings showcase the best architecture the city has, but perhaps the most iconic and interesting landmark here is the Santa Catalina Monastery – this is like a small city all by itself, and you can happily lose yourself in the maze-like streets filled with vibrant colours for many an hour.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas is Arequipa’s main square, located right in the heart of the city. This is the ideal spot to sit and relax, soaking up the local atmosphere and watching the world go by. The square is lined with beautiful arcades, charming cafes, and many restaurants serving local cuisine where you can enjoy a cup of Peruvian coffee. One of the buildings you won’t be able to miss no matter where you are in the Plaza de Armas is the Cathedral of Arequipa, an imposing architectural masterpiece that you can visit while you’re there.
Santa Catalina Market
Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a culture lover (or perhaps you’re a mixture of the two), heading to the Santa Catalina market is an excellent idea. This bustling market is a feast for the senses, offering a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and other local delicacies that you just have to try (and since many stalls will offer free samples, you can do just that!). Talk to the friendly vendors and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere to get a taste of what Arequipa is really like.
If you’re tired of the busy streets in Arequipa, then why not look for some peace and quiet in Yanahuara? This is not far from Arequipa, but it’s a quiet, sedate kind of place where you can take a break and really soak up the atmosphere. Here you’ll find the wonderful Yanahuara Plaza surrounded by beautiful gardens, and you’ll get an unparalleled view of the volcanoes dotted around the horizon. Take a leisurely stroll through the neighbourhood’s narrow streets and take in the colonial-style houses with their distinctive white volcanic rock walls.
Andean Explorer Train
To really appreciate the beauty of Arequipa, why not embark on a journey you’ll never forget on the Andean Explorer train? This luxurious ride will take you through breathtaking landscapes like the snow-covered mountains and deep canyons that you can find near Arequipa. The Andean Explorer Train is a fantastic way to combine transportation with a memorable sightseeing experience, which can easily include Arequipa.