O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru: roteiro de dois dias

Things to do in Arequipa, Peru: a 2-day itinerary

South America

What to do in Arequipa, Peru? I guarantee you one thing: your enchantment will start at the Plaza de Armas, in the historic center. Secular constructions, made of sillar, a white stone of volcanic origin, form the landscape, completed by the volcanoes themselves, which keep the city from afar.

See also: A tour of Peru beyond Machu Picchu
Where to stay in Arequipa – best hotels and neighborhoods
Where to stay in Lima – best hotels and neighborhoods
Where to stay in Puno – best hotels and neighborhoods
Where to stay in Cusco – best hotels and neighborhoods
Where to stay in Machu Picchu – best hotels and neighborhoods
How to visit the Colca Valley in Peru

Despite being the second largest city in Peru and being full of attractions, good restaurants and viewpoints for volcanoes, Arequipa is usually left out of the traveler’s itinerary – including the Brazilian – who goes to Peru.

The reason is Machu Picchu, which dominates the attentions and sighs and ends up eclipsing other incredible places in the country. A pity.

Things to do in Arequipa: Touristic (paque

Almost every city of Spanish origin has a Plaza de Armas, often also called the Plaza Mayor. I had no idea of this, but the initial goal of these areas, almost always large and located in the center of the villages, was to serve for the concentration of troops in the event of an attack.

Thus, the city could organize and prepare the counterattack, facing the invaders. In addition, the Armas Squares have better functions in times of peace, functioning as a kind of city center.

A good way to get to know the historic center of Arequipa is with a guided tour by a local. Look at the smart tip: in this link here you can make the reservation for a free tour of the city (tips to the guide are expected and appreciated).

If you prefer a different and more elaborate walking tour, one option is the Mysteries and Legends of Arequipa, which costs R$ 120. Reservations here.

O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa and Cathedral Weapons Square

Arequipa’s Weapons Square is reputed to be the most beautiful in Peru – certainly the most beautiful I have ever known.

Around it is Arequipa Cathedral, which has been there since 1540, the year of the city was founded, but which has been rebuilt a few times in recent centuries, due to five earthquakes and a great fire.

The cathedral opens every day, but closes between 12:00 and 3:30 p.m. An entrance fee is charged and a museum operates next to the Cathedral.

Iglesia de la Companhia, Capilla de San Ignacio and Cabildo de Arequipa

On the other side of the Plaza de Armas is the Iglesia de la Companhia, a temple erected by the Society of Jesus from 1590, also with stones from the Misti volcano, which is on the outskirts of the city. In addition to the church, the temple guarded courtyards and cloisters.

Some of the outdoor areas today have other functions and you can find shops of souvenirs there. Entrance to the church is free, but there is a fee payment (5 soles) to know the Capilla of San Ignacio, nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of Arequipa.

O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru

Porticos, including where the old Cabildo was located, in the colonial period, and fountains, already inside the Square, complete the list of attractions.

Museum of Andean Sanctuaries

Just walk a few meters, entering La Merced street, to find the Andean Sanctuary Museum. I haven’t been to this museum, but the visit was recommended by practically all the guides I talked to during the trip.

It is there that is the mummy of Juanita, an Inca girl who, at 12 years old, was sacrificed to the gods and left in the snowy mountains around the city, about 500 years ago. Preserved by the cold, the girl’s body was rediscovered in 1995 and can now be seen in the museum.

The exhibition is reed throughout the year with another mummy, less famous, the Palomita. The museum opens from Monday to Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and on Sundays, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Entrance costs 25 soles.

O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru

Monastery of Santa Catalina, Arequipa

Leave the Plaza de Armas to bring and follow Rua Santa Catalina. In three blocks you will arrive at the monastery of the same name, pointed out in many lists, such as the Tripadvisor, as the main attraction of the city.

I won't disagree. Inaugurated in 1579, just 40 years after the foundation of Arequipa, the Monastery of Santa Catalina came to be housing for up to 500 people at the same time, between cloistered nuns and their serfs. Today, 20 religious live there, in a scheme much less rigid than in other times, but still of cloister.

The Monastery, which is almost a city within the heart of another city, requires a few hours and is available to be visited, so take time on your itinerary.

The visitation takes place every day, from 9am. Try to go on a Tuesday or Thursday, when the place closes at 8 p.m. – it’s amazing to watch the sunset change the colors of the convent. Entrance costs 45 soles.

If you want to further enrich your experience, you can book a guided tour (Spanish, English and, of course, portunhol). It costs R$ 150 and already includes the Monasterio’s ticket and also a roadmap through the historic center.

See also: How is the visit to the Monastery of Santa Catalina, in Arequipa

Monastério de Santa Catalina, Arequipa

Monastery of Santa Catalina

Viewpoints Carmen Alto and Yanahuara

With conical shape and 5822 meters, Misti is the most famous of the volcanoes that surround Arequipa. In addition, the Arequipegic landscape would not be the same without Chachani, which passes from 6,000 meters, and Pichu Pichu, an extinct volcano. With so many snowy peaks around the city, of course there is no shortage of lookouts there.

Our itinerary included two, the Carmen Alto, my favorite, and the Yanahuara, which is around a historic square. Carmen Alto is six kilometers from the city center and has a cafeteria. And the spectacular view of the photo below.

As the lookouts are away from the center, the best way to get around is by hiring a transfer. You can also go by bus, which will take more work, or taxi. This four-hour tour of the viewpoints of Arequipa costs about R$ 180.

O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru

The Yanahuara Viewpoint is in one of the 29 districts of Arequipa, being one of the oldest in the city. It is only two kilometers from the center and, like some of the buildings of the Plaza de Armas, it is full of houses made of sillar and a church erected in 1750, in a style that became known as Andean Baroque or mestizo.

O que fazer em Arequipa, Peru

Founder's Mansion in Arequipa

The Founder's Mansion keeps the history of the occupation of the region, at the time of Don Manuel Garcí de Carbajal and the creation of Arequipa. The building, which was in ruins, was renovated and turned into a museum in the 1980s.

It is 20 minutes from the historic center and is usually visited on tours organized by local agencies. I went, I found it interesting, but I don’t think it’s an indispensable visit.

Walks through the quarries around Arequipa

Another alternative tour involves visiting the quarries around the city, where hundreds of people work, to this day, in the production of the sillar, the volcanic stone that was used in the construction of Arequipa.

In 2014, the technique of working in the quarries of sillar, which has not changed in the last 400 years, was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Peru. I did this tour and recommend a lot – it lasts five hours, guides who speak Spanish, English and Portunhol and round trip transfer from your hotel. It costs around $60 per person. Book it here.

Another interesting alternative combines the Sillar Route with the Culebrillas Canyon. This itinerary costs $ 200 per person. Book it here.

Finally, you can also combine the itinerary through the quarries with a visit to the thermal waters of Yura, a program of six hours and that costs R $ 250. Book it here.

See also: Life in the quarries and the Sillar Route, in Peru

Pedreiras de Arequipa, Peru

Market of San Camilo

The San Camilo Market is located in the historic center of Arequipa and near the Plaza de Armas. It occupies the place where there was once a temple, destroyed by an earthquake. In 1938 came the market, which sells various food and local handicrafts. It works from 6 a.m. to 7:00.

Convent of Santa Teresa

The Convent of Santa Teresa was founded in 1710 and still serves as an address for Carmelite nuns. It has a museum that houses one of the largest collections of colonial art in Peru. Entrance costs 20 soles and the convent is 900 metres from Plaza de Armas.

Museum-house of Mario Vargas Lhosa

Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize in Literature, was born and lived in Arequipa. His family’s former home is now a museum dedicated to the writer.

The exhibition has videos recorded by the author and are displayed in the form of a hologram, in addition to many particular objects. Learn more about the Vargas Lhosa museum.

Pisco Tour in Arequipa

Pisco, alcoholic beverage made from the grape, is a symbol of Peru. In Arequipa, you can take a guided tour with a focus on pisco. The tour lasts four hours, includes pisco tasting and costs R$ 170. Reservations here.

Batht-ups and short trips from Arequipa

In addition to knowing the city, Arequipa serves as a base for traveling to other parts of Peru.

From Arequipa to the Colca Valley

The Colca Valley holds one of the deepest canyons in the world and is 160 kilometers south of the city. This is one of the best kept secrets of Peru, a beautiful region full of secular villages.

Many people do the back, but the most recommended is a two-day excursion (and with an overnight stay). A package like this, with transportation, hotel and breakfast, costs about R$ 250.

From Arequipa to the Misti volcano

With almost six thousand meters, the Misti looms over Arequipa. And you can do well more than just see it from the Plaza des Armas or the various viewpoints of the city. It is possible to take a two-day tour, amazing scenery and night at the base camp. It costs $ 600, but it’s the kind of experience that leaves many stories to tell. Find out more here.

Chat of Arequipa to the wineries of the Vale de Majes

On the same line of the pisco ride, but more complex, is the tour of the Valley of Majes, which is close to Arequipa. The tour lasts a full day and includes wine tasting and pisco. Reservations here.

How to get to Arequipa

The best way to get to Arequipa is by plane. Lima is more than a thousand kilometers away and Cusco is 500 km away.

Will you follow from Arequipa to Puno?

Arequipa is 300 km from Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. In the middle of the path between the two cities is the Colca Valley.

If you plan to include the Colca Valley and Puno in your itinerary, here is another fantastic tip: hire a tour that takes you in Arequipa, passes through the Colca Valley and the thermals of Chacapi and ends in Puno.

The complete itinerary takes 17 hours and is done in tourist bus, with several stops for food. It costs R$ 300 per person and is one of the most reserved experiences in Arequipa. Find out more here.

How to get around in Arequipa?

Stay in the historic center and do almost anything on foot. For the more distant tours and in other cities it may be interesting to hire a tourism agency.

For people with mobility difficulties, an alternative is to get to know Arequipa from one of those tourist buses. The tour lasts four hours and costs $ 90. Reservations here.

A transfer from the center of Arequipa to the airport costs, on average, R $ 70. Reservations here.

When days to meet Arequipa?

Stay two or three days to get to know the main sights of the city. If you have more time, you can use Arequipa and base to know other attractions in the region, such as the ones listed above.

Hotel Reviews in Arequipa

  • La Plaza Arequipa Hotel Boutique – It is in the Plaza de Armas and with daily rates at 60 dollars.  
  • Plaza Central – Daily from $65 in the double room. Some rooms have a view over the square and the Misti Volcano.
  • Casablanca Hostal – With daily rates at 40 dollars, depending on the room and, of course, the season.
  • Hotel Catedral deserves this name, since it is next to the main temple of the city – the view of breakfast, on the hotel terrace, has the church towers a few meters from you. It has family rooms. Daily rates at 40 dollars.
  • Casa Andina Select Arequipa – where I stayed. Fantastic view, pool and daily rates at 100 dollars.

Do I need travel insurance to get to know Arequipa?

Travel insurance is not mandatory to pass through the immigration of Peru, but it is certainly essential for the trip.

It is much more than a bureaucracy: insurance protects you in case of medical emergencies or even travel perrengues, such as a cancelled flight or a missing suitcase.

Good insurance does not usually weigh on a budget. Read the text how to choose the best travel insurance for South America.

How to Get an Internet Chip that Works in Peru

There is no point in traveling without internet. If you’re connected all the time, it’ll be easier to get around, communicate in a language you don’t speak, ask for an app car, and get information about the tourist destination – outside the ease of talking to your family.

The problem is that most phone plans do not include trips abroad. Or worse, they charge taxes. The way out is to hire an international travel chip in Brazil. We have listed two options:

  • America Chip has an unlimited internet plan for South America. It's 5G, high-speed internet, for $49. It is the best cost/benefit.
  • Viaje Conectado has a plan of $69, with a dollar right to one giga per day.

What to do in Arequipa: quick questions

Are there any typical dishes in Arequipa that I should try? Yes! It is Rocoto Relleno, pepper stuffed with meat, onion, egg, cheese and other ingredients.

Is Are Arequepa Safe for Tourists? Yes, Arequipa is a safe city, but it is always good to take precautions against thefts and remain attentive, especially in crowded places or at night.

When is the best time to visit Arequipa? The tip is worth not only to Arequipa, but to Peru as a whole: if possible, avoid the rainy season, which runs from December to March. But the impact of traveling at this time is felt even in places like Machu Picchu – and less in big cities.

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