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View of main square in Arequipa

Arequipa Tours

Arequipa, the second-largest city in Peru (after Lima), holds an enchanting mix of colonial beauty and fierce regional loyalty of its residents renowned nationwide. Set out on a history-filled excursion with our guide around the main plaza and use the city as your base to embark on adventurous Arequipa tours to Colca Canyon.

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What to see in Arequipa

Your stay in Arequipa will be filled with Peruvian cuisine, views of volcanoes and white stone colonial buildings, and an unending exploration of culture and history down its picturesque cobblestone streets.

Arequipa’s Historic City Center

The Historic City Center of Arequipa is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the Plaza de Armas you’ll see European architectural styles, like Baroque and neo-classical all with a touch of Andean symbology. Top-restaurants overlook the Basilica Cathedral where you’ll be likely to hear some live Peruvian music playing from the street.

El Misti Volcano

El Misti Volcano makes the Arequipan skyline something extra special. This perfectly cone-shaped volcano stands 19,098 feet (5,822 meters) above sea level, next to it are the Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.

Salinas Aguada Blanca National Reserve

The Salinas Aguada Blanca National Reserve is a protected park near Arequipa and Colca Canyon. Here you’ll find lagoons, wetlands, birds, wild vicunas, volcanos, and more along the scenic landscapes.

The Ice Maiden Juanita

Juanita is the name of one of the best-preserved mummies in the Andes. You can visit her remains at the Museo Santuarios Andinos in Arequipa and learn about her history, her death in the 1400’s, and her discovery in 1995.

Santa Catalina Monastery

The Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa spans over 20,000 square miles and is very much a city within a city. In 1579 when it was originally built, it was a monastery for Dominican nuns who built all they would need within its walls and never left the property.

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon is near Arequipa city, and is the second-deepest canyon in the world. A visit here should be done over 2 days to take in the natural hot springs, gorgeous hotel properties, and soaring Andean condors.

Cruz del Condor

Cruz del Condor is a panoramic viewpoint over Colca Canyon where Andean condors are prone to soar. The multi-storied lookout point built on the cliffside allows for the 3-4 food condors to soar directly overhead.

Chivay

Chivay is a small town within Colca Canyon and is the gateway to Colca Canyon tours. Chivay has an 8th century Church of Our Lady of the Assumption located on the main square where you might encounter traditional dances or places to purchase Peruvian souvenirs.

Picanterias

Arequipa is best known for its local cuisine and you’d be missing out if you didn’t try it. While all of Peru boasts delicious food, Arequipa’s secret ingredient is spice. Restaurants where you can try these spicy renditions of Peruvian foods are called “picanterias”.

Arequipa Hotels

Costa del Sol Wyndham Arequipa

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Plaza Bolivar (no number), Selva Alegre, Arequipa

Costa del Sol Arequipa is located in Arequipa's largest park, Selva Alegre. From this striking 5-star hotel built in the 1940’s colonial style, you can see Misti Volcano. Their wide array of excellent services include an on-site restaurant, pool, gym, and more.

Expedia Logo 4.4 | Excellent
Tripadvisor Logo 4.5 | Excellent

Casa Andina Premium Arequipa

★ ★ ★ ★

Calle Ugarte 403, Arequipa

Casa Andina Premium in Arequipa is build in a 17th century colonial mansion making each luxurious room part of a national historic monument. Here two colonial-style courtyards form the heart of the building, a gourmet restaurant serves Peruvian cuisine, and the highest standards of service are maintained.

Expedia Logo 4.5 | Wonderful
Tripadvisor Logo 4.5 | Excellent

Casa Andina Standard

★ ★ ★

Calle Jerusalén 603, Arequipa

Casa Andina Standard Arequipa is located right in the heart of the historic Arequipa center. Built with the volcanic sillar stone that makes Arequipa so picturesque, your comfortable stay here includes soft down comforters, luxurious touches, and a delicious breakfast buffet.

Expedia Logo 4.0 | Good
Tripadvisor Logo 4.0 | Very Good

La Hosteria Arequipa

★ ★

Calle Bolivar 405, Arequipa

La Hosteria Arequipa features charming garden patios and flower-filled balconies and terraces for you to fully enjoy the 300+ days of sunshine in the white city! Rest easy on orthopedic mattresses in comfortable and affordable rooms.

Expedia Logo 4.1 | Very Good
Tripadvisor Logo 4.0 | Very Good


Peru Highlights

Peru is filled with archaeological ruins, scenic landscapes, and delicious flavors. Must-see places in Peru include:

Peru Highlights

Peru is filled with archaeological ruins, scenic landscapes, and delicious flavors. Must-see places in Peru include:

Inca trail

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in four or two days. The Inca Trail is a 500-year old pathway where the elite Incas once entered into the “Lost City of the Incas”. Plan with your Peru for Less travel advisor in advance, Inca Trail permits tend to sell out even 6-months in advance.

Amazon Rainforest

Step into the lush Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and witness a spectacular array of wildlife in its natural habitat. Lodges in Puerto Maldonado are ideal for excursions and daily activities. Those looking for a more luxurious Amazon experience would love an Iquitos Amazon River cruise. Colorful macaws, giant tarantulas, and playful river otters are among the sights you’ll behold.

Cusco

Cusco city has it all, archaeological ruins, colonial buildings, top-rated restaurants, and countless places to explore. Your Cusco City Tour will take you to the top highlights like Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, the Cusco Cathedral, and more.

Lake Titicaca

Sail on the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca and step on the reed Uros and Taquile floating islands. Some of the best weavers are found in this area so pick up some Peruvian textiles here for unique souvenirs.

Lima

Lima is a mixture of modern city living and historical significance. Here you’ll find Central restaurant (ranked #6 by 50 Worlds Best), UNESCO World Heritage sites like Historic City Center with the San Francisco Convent, and the best shopping in Peru.

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are mysterious geoglyphs and geometric shapes drawn onto the desert floor hundreds of years ago by the Nazca culture. Little is known about them nevertheless, the Nazca Lines inspire awe in those who take a flight over them.

Arequipa

Arequipa is a picturesque town and also the second-largest city in Peru. Local markets, beautifully built colonial architecture, and El Misti volcano are among the things you’ll see while walking the cobblestone streets of the white city.

Faqs

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 local dishes in all of Peru at one of the best restaurants in Arequipa. While walking around the city, don’t miss the historic Santa Catalina Monastery, spend time in the beautiful central plaza, and learn about Juanita, the Inca Ice Maiden, at Museo Santuarios Andinos.

The city of Arequipa is located in the department of Arequipa in the south of Peru, sharing borders with the departments of Ica, Ayacucho, Cusco, Apurímac, Puno, and Moquegua. Its longest border is with the Pacific Ocean.

For Arequipa city, one or two days should be enough to cover the city highlights, but you can easily spend a week or more here visiting museums, eating great food, and venturing out to explore the countryside. To visit Colca Canyon, you’ll need an additional one to three days.

Arequipa is at 7,660 ft (2,335 m) above sea level - about 3,280 ft (1,000 m) less than Cusco or Puno - and few travelers ever experience altitude sickness here. However, the road between Arequipa and Colca Canyon reaches altitudes of 13,100 ft (4,000 m). 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 a standard tour of Colca Canyon. Stick to the comfort of your car, bus, or van, and you should have no problem.

The following are popular inbound bus routes to Arequipa:

  • Bus from Lima to Arequipa: 16 to 18 hours total
  • Bus from Cusco to Arequipa: 10 hours total

The following are popular outbound bus routes from Arequipa

May to November is the high season for tourism to Colca Canyon. The weather is warm during the day and cold at night. Be sure to make reservations for accommodation in advance. The end of the rainy season (April and May) is also a great time to visit because the terraces will be brilliantly green with crops and flowering plant life.

Many towns of Colca Canyon are higher in elevation than Arequipa (2,335 m or 7,661 ft) and about the same as Cusco (3,400 m or 11,150 ft). Take the same precautions as you would in Cusco – stay hydrated, avoid heavy meals or alcohol on your first days at altitude, and drink the local remedy coca leaf tea. Take a few days to acclimate before attempting any strenuous activity.

The average distance from the peaks of the mountains to the river below is 10,200 feet (3,109 meters). This distance makes Colca one of the world’s deepest canyons. Nearby Cotahuasi Canyon is a few hundred meters deeper.

For a taste of high altitude Andean trekking, many travelers choose a Colca Canyon trek as a less expensive, less crowded alternative to the Inca Trail. The most popular route departs from Cabanaconde descends to the oasis resort town Sangalle. It’s an unrelenting slope whether you are going up or down - usually 3 hours for the descent and 5 hours for the ascent. Mules are available for hire from any of the lodges in Sangalle.

Choices for dining in Colca Canyon are limited but adequate for one or two nights. Most Colca Canyon hotel offer on-site restaurants serving a la carte or buffet-style meals. Towns such as Chivay and Yanque offer a greater selection.

From within Peru, direct flights to Arequipa are offered to and from Lima, the capital of Peru, and Cusco city.

  • Lima to Arequipa flights: 1.5 hours non-stop
  • Cusco to Arequipa flights: 1 hour non-stop
 

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