Guide to Arequipa - What to do in the City?

Guide to Arequipa- What to do in the City?

Wandering in the streets of Arequipa, trying to do fun activities but not sure what to do? This article has got you covered.

Arequipa is one of the most beautiful cities. Once you step foot into this place, you’ll know exactly why it is so. There are plenty of fun activities to do in this scenic city. Arequipa is an extremely photogenic place and any site can be used as a background for your Instagram-worthy photos. The whole city itself is a view on its own. In this article, we have compiled 13 wonderful ventures to take in Arequipa.

Things to do:
  • Sightseeing
  • Food
  • Day Trips


Arequipa is also known as the “White City” due to its white architecture made out of volcanic stone, called sillar. There are many places ideal for sightseeing in this city.

1. City Tour

Plan for a city tour, guided by a local, since nobody would know the place better than them. Roam around the streets and countryside of Arequipa. You can visit Chili Valley and the volcanoes of Chachani and Misti. A very helpful part is the opportunity to cancel the plan at least 24 hours before no charge if necessary.

2. City Square

The city square of Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So you know, it is not the average city square but quite a renowned one. The Plaza de Armas is outlined with the characteristic white architecture and down the line is the famous Basilica Cathedral. There are pools, fountains, and gardens within the city square making it visually pleasing.

3. Basilica Cathedral

It is located on the city square of Arequipa and was built in the early 17th century. The Cathedral built from sillar, just like the other structures, follows the renaissance and Gothic designs. In 3 dollars, you can visit the cathedral to explore ornaments, jewels, and paintings from the colonial era.

4. Museo Santuarios Andinos

It is a museum built to pay homage to Juanita, a 12-year-old girl. In the 15th century, Juanita was sacrificed to gods. This museum reveals the importance of human sacrifice in the Incan Empire. In 1995, Juanita’s remains were found accidentally after a glacier melted in which she was perfectly preserved. That is when the museum was built.

5. Yanahuara District

The Yanahuara District is a quiet and peaceful historical place. It is situated across the Chili River, which is a thirty to forty minutes ride from the city square. Here you will find many churches and trademark white architecture from the colonial era.

6. Misti Volcano

The volcanoes can be easily seen from the Yanahuara district but the best way to do so is to hike them. The Misti volcano is one of the highest mountains that can be climbed without the need for mountaineering tools. However, it is not an easy feat to be completed. It takes more than two days to climb the 3500 meters volcano.


Food in Arequipa is different and exquisite. Indulging into the scrumptiousness of their local food is indeed an experience.

7. Rooftop Breakfast

The west side of the city square is lined with different restaurants that open from 7 am. So during your stay, choose a restaurant and enjoy a rooftop breakfast at least once. The magical view of the Plaza de Armas and the deliciousness of the food is going to make you fall in love. On Sundays, you can also enjoy traditional music and dancing.

8. San Camilo Market

San Camilo Market is a local market in Arequipa. From fresh vegetables to meat, besides art and craft works can be bought from here. There are small, affordable restaurants on the upper floor of the market. So you can enjoy fresh meals at a very low price in this market.

9. Set-lunch Menu Restaurants

There are many set lunch menu restaurants that are filled with local and foreign people. These restaurants serve two to three-course traditional meals for prices as low as only two dollars!

10. Restaurants with a View

There are some restaurants with amazing views you can enjoy. For example, Mirador Misti, just behind Basilica Cathedral, has a great view of the city. You can grab a drink or a meal in these beautiful restaurants.

Day Trips

Arequipa has amazing places where you can spend the whole day and engage in different fun activities. From trekking to rafting, Arequipa offers pretty cool adventures. You can choose one or all the places mentioned below for day trips.

11. Lake Titicaca

Located on the border of Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is the highest largest lake in the world! You wouldn’t want to miss the chance of exploring this lake. You can take boat rides to tour across the lake.

12. Colca and Cotahuasi Canyon

Colca Canyon is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Arequipa. It is the second-deepest canyon in the world and takes a three-hour drive from the city to get there. Trekking in this canyon is fun and adventurous but also can be risky for someone who has never trekked before.

While trekking through the Cotahuasi canyon, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls, Incan ruins, hanging bridges and so much more- as if right out of a mystical storybook. You can buy a trekking package that comes with a guide. This will require you to have extra days in hand for this experience as the transport requires an overnight journey.

13. Water Rafting

White water rafting is another thrilling adventure that will also allow you to see the Misti and Chachani volcanoes. You can also take a swim in the water if you want to. Get to the 90-minute rafting for a fun-filled experience.

Arequipa is filled with thrills, magic, and beauty. We have tried to outline activities you can enjoy during your stay in this beautiful city. So if you aren’t in the city for vacation already, you might consider going there to have an amazing experience. Get your passports ready and prepare for an exciting trip to the White City.

For ease and convenience on how to get to Arequipa, check out the available transportation options.


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