Do you have questions about your Arequipa vacation? Check here for answers to the questions our travelers most frequently ask about visiting Arequipa. If you cannot find the answer to your specific question, feel free to contact us directly.
Also, check out our Arequipa Travel Guide where we provide even more detailed information to help you prepare for your Arequipa vacation.
1. What is the altitude of Arequipa?
Arequipa is located at a comfortable altitude of 6,737 feet (2,330 meters).
2. What is the population of Arequipa?
Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru with an urban area population of approximately 783,165 people. When counting the greater metropolitan area and its 19 districts holds more, the population is about 864,300 individuals. The inhabitants of Arequipa are called the Arequipeños.
3. How do I get to/out of Arequipa? Is it easy to get around the city?
Arequipa is well connected and easily accessible to various destinations in Peru. By air, there are daily flights to Arequipa from Lima, Juliaca, and Cusco. The Aeropuerto Rodríquez Ballón is located about 4 miles (7 km) northwest of the city. Local airline, Peruvian Airlines, as well as international airlines such as TACNA and LAN operate in Arequipa.
By land, the main bus terminal (Terminal Terrestre) is about 2.5 miles (4 km) south of downtown Arequipa. Neighboring this station is the newer Nuevo Terrapuerto; both stations are on Av Andrés Avelino Cáeres, though you should confirm from where your bus will depart. A large number of bus companies travel in and out of Arequipa from both stations, but it is recommended to take the slightly more expensive bus lines, as they tend to have better safety records. By taxi, it is a five-minute drive from the main bus terminal to downtown Arequipa which costs about s/.5 (less than $2).
Arequipa is a beautiful city, and most of its main attractions are within walking distance from the large city center. If you prefer to take a taxi, expect to pay around three soles to centrally-located attractions.
4. Do I have to pay a tax at the Arequipa airport?
A domestic departure tax of $5-10 USD must be paid before boarding. When you check in, you will be directed to the payment window, at the back of the airport.
5. What are the best bus companies to travel to/from Arequipa?
We recommend the following bus companies for their safety and punctuality:
A departure tax of a few soles is required, and a staff member is usually stationed at the entrance of the departure platform to check your ticket and ensure you have paid. Generally departure tax stalls are found next to or in front of the boarding exit within the main terminal.
6. What is the best time to visit Arequipa?
Arequipa is pleasant year round. With over 300 sunny days a year and mild, dry temperatures, the city is a pleasant destination during the winter and the summer. June to September is the dry season, and evening temperatures can fall to 50°F (10°C). January and March are the hottest months with temperatures topping out in the uppers 70°F (20°C), though the sun can make it feel warmer.
7. Where should I eat, drink and shop in Arequipa?
Restaurants: The food in Arequipa is distinctly spicier from the rest of the country, and can be found everywhere from modern restaurants to traditional picanterías. A local favorite is the rocoto relleno (a pepper stuffed with meat, spices, eggs, and other ingredients) and a diverse selection of chupes (chowder soups). For specific restaurant recommendations, check out our Arequipa Restaurants – Travel Guide.
Bars: The most happening nightlife is located near the city center. But perhaps more attractive than the beers and cocktails are the spectacular buildings in which you’ll be drinking them: many Arequipa bars are housed in sillar (white volcanic stone) buildings with impressive vaulted ceilings. Check out our Arequipa Nightlife – Travel Guide specific nightlife suggestions. Don’t hesitate to enter the patios and climb up the stairs as there are many excellent bars located on the upper stories of the buildings.
Shopping: Arequipa is one of the best spots in Peru to find decently priced, high-quality textiles with original designs. Woolen alpaca goods, such as sweaters, hats, and blankets are plentiful here. Look at our Arequipa Shopping – Travel Guide for some tips about shopping in Arequipa.
8. What is the depth of the Colca Canyon?
Almost everyone who visits Arequipa makes the trip to the nearby Colca Canyon—as they should, since the canyon is simply stunning. It is twice as deep at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, ranging in depth from 3,280-10,470 feet (1,000-3,190 meters).
9. How long is the trip from Arequipa to Colca Canyon?
The trip from the city of Arequipa to Colca Canyon takes about 3h30 hours to 5 hours by car or bus depending on your destination. The winding journey will take you through mountain passes and across the stunning Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca. The road is now mainly paved, although the last several miles inside the canyon still require a bumpy ride over dusty dirt roads. The road goes up to 15,000 feet (4,600m) and it gets rather cold so remember to wear pants and take a sweater with you on the bus/car.
10. What excursions do you recommend in the Arequipa region?
The most obvious excursion from Arequipa is to the Colca Canyon. Some adventurous travelers may want to hike down into the canyon, spending the night in traditional lodging along the way. Closer to town, the Molino de Sabandía, a large 17th century water-powered mill made of sillar stone, attracts many visitors. You can reach the Molino easily by taking a taxi from the city for about 10 soles ($3.50 USD). Admission is around six soles ($2).
11. Are there any sports activities available in/around Arequipa?
Arequipa is a favorite for all outdoors enthusiasts who come to climb volcanoes, raft on rivers, and trek through the surrounding valleys.
Here are a few examples of activities you can enjoy in the Arequipa region:
- Rafting and kayaking on the Colca River
- Mountain climbing
- Trekking in the Colca Valley
- Biking down Pichu Pichu
- Hiking up volcanoes (El Misti or Chichani volcanoes)
Feel free to ask your Travel Advisor for more information about these activities. Peru For Less is happy to assist with arrangements. Also don’t forget to check out our Arequipa Travel Guide or our Arequipa Vacation Packages for more suggestions of sports activities in the area.
12. What local products/souvenirs can I purchase in Arequipa?
Arequipa rivals Cusco as the best place to shop for top-quality alpaca, vicuña, and llama woolen goods. And because many of the wool items sold throughout Peru are made in or near Arequipa, you can sometimes find good deals on these high-quality items in the Arequipa region. Arequipa is also populated with classy boutique gift and clothing stores, where prices tend to be the highest. If you’re looking for a bargain, visit one of the local market attached to the main square.
13. What are some typical Arequipeño dishes?
Arequipeños have a strong local identity, and this is perhaps best exemplified by the pride they demonstrate when referring to their regional cuisine, one of the best in the country.
Here are a few examples of classic dishes from Arequipa that are worth to try:
- Rocoto relleno: Rocoto (spicy bell pepper) stuffed with minced beef, cream cheese, eggs, spices, and chunks of potato.
- Ocopa: Slices of potato slathered in an herb sauce and fresh Andean cheese.
- Adobo Arequipeño: Pork marinated in chicha (a sweet corn drink) and spices.
- Soltero: A spicy salad made predominantly with fresh Andean cheese, broad beans, diced onion, olives, and tomato.
14. What and when are the main Arequipa celebrations?
January: Every January, the Santa Catalina Monastery opens its doors in celebration of its patron saint during the Festival de Sor Ana de Los Angeles de Monteagudo. Visitors during this time will be treated to a festive atmosphere.
February: The Carnaval Arequipeño usually takes place around February 19-20, during which time a queen is chosen and colorful parades ensue, as well as dance presentations and folklore competitions.
March/April: The celebrations for Semana Santa, Holy Week, in Arequipa are one of the most visually stunning in Peru. On the morning of Easter Sunday, effigies of Judas are burnt in two of the town’s plazas. Along with the candlelit processions of hooded, purple-cloaked figures, spectators will witness horse races, sports competitions, and street paintings. The Saturday of Easter weekend is marked by a series of intriguing indigenous rituals, and is an excellent opportunity to discover some of Arequipa’s fine handicrafts, textiles, and foods.
June: The Corpus Christi procession carried out in Arequipa is also very impressive. More than 500 faithful citizens from various religious and educational institutions are responsible for the creation of around 30 carpets made of flowers, which are placed around the central statue of the Virgin.
July/August: Arequipa remembers the founding of the city in 1538 by Spanish conquerors with a generous annual program of cultural events, centered around August 15, the Anniversary of the Founding of Arequipa.
We work hard to ensure that all information is current and accurate. However, the Tourism Industry is rapidly evolving in Latin America and many changes can occur overnight. Please speak to a Travel Advisor for the most up-to-date information on any of our Latin America destinations!