Skip Navigation

Arequipa

Photo © Jennylynn

Travel Guide South America Peru Arequipa

edit

Introduction

Arequipa 6

Arequipa 6

© All Rights Reserved Darell

Arequipa is Peru's second largest city (with about 900,000 inhabitants) and is located in the dusty foothills of the Andes on the Pan-American Highway. Its beauty lies in its breath taking architecture, displaying some spectacular examples of Spanish colonial work. Built from locally mined white ashlar stone, the city literally shines with white sun drenched buildings set against the backdrop of Andean Peaks. It is easy to see how and why this city is on the world heritage list. Whilst it is larger than Cusco, Arequipa appears to maintain a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with less tourists and a smaller, more intimate feel. That said it is still a busy city and at any time there will be street sellers, restaurant owners, shoe shiners, and taxi drivers all at hand, ready for your business. The climate is dry and warm and it is surrounded by an almost desert-like plateau with canyons cutting across it, this leads to some spectacular red and purple sunsets. The flight in from Juliaca really shows off the barrenness of the landscape and the deep scars cut by the numerous rivers and streams. The El Misti volcano towers over the city and is ever present as you walk around it.

Arequipa has strong since of identity and strong sense of history. Having survived several earthquakes and living the shadow of several active volcanos has not stopped this city. At one time it made its one national flag and its own national currency as way to stick its noise to Lima. Although most tourists just hang out in the city centre there is also plenty of interesting neighborhoods and countryside to explore in this amazing city.

Top

edit

Neighbourhoods

The Plaza de Armas is the main tourist area, containing the main cathedral as well as a number of other churches and religious buildings. This area also houses many of the larger stores and restaurants in the city. Like the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Arequipa's main centre displays a wide range of restaurants which surround the square with beautiful balconies. Eating in one these places of course, is the most expensive way to enjoy arequipenan cuisine but you are paying for your view and it is a magnificent way to enjoy the city away from the hussle and bussle. However, if you would like to eat a little cheaper and also in a less touristy place, try walking a little away from the main square, up a side street or two, and you will fine some great family run eateries serving excellent local cuisine.

Across the river is the neighbourhood of Yanahuara, where you can find the Mirador of Yanahuara (built in the nineteenth century and composed of a series of sillar stone arches where the words of famous Arequipa citizens have been engraved), which has a wonderful view of the city and Misti Volcano. There is also the Iglesia de Yanahuara (church) which dates from 1750.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Inside the Nunnery

Inside the Nunnery

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

Historical City Centre

The historical city centre of Arequipa is on the Unesco World Heritage List. The main cathedral and the churches around the Plaza de Armas are worth visiting, be sure to check the tourist visiting times on the cathedral door as it is closed to tourists at certain times of the day.

Santa Catalina Monastery

Santa Catalina Monastery, a former convent that has been renovated and opened up to the public and is one of the main attractions in town. The monastery provides an insight into life in the convent and you can walk around the cloisters, churches and former accommodation of the nun's that used to live here. Walking around the maze of buildings and streets within the complex is an experience within itself and can take 1-2 hours to see everything.

The monastery has a slightly more seedy side then most at the time it was founded. The place was meant to be the home for the daughters of the wealthy and powerful. The seclusion of the place allowed the sisters to maintain their non-religious life style with large living quarters, servant and private kitchens. The cells are more like small apartments with private gardens. Eventually the church shut down this lifestyle after a couple hundred years but the legacy can be felt.

Colca Canyon

Arequipa is a good base to book tours for the Colca Canyon and for treks in the surrounding mountainous area. Colca Canyon is one of the most impressive sights in Peru and a good two or three day hike is well worth the trip. This is very easy and can be cheap to do. There are many companies in and around Arequipa offering 2, 3 and 4 day hikes, depending on what you incorporate as some companies can combine the trip with rafting or canoeing, but if you shop around enough, you'll find yourself a great deal. Before choosing a company, it is wise to ask where you will go, what you will see and exactly how much walking is involved. Many people book treks without actually thinking and don't realize that once you are walking half way down or up a canyon, it's not easy to go back, in fact you can't. Also, it may be a good idea to ask to see pictures of the accommodation, or ask for the names of the hotels. Some of the places have more than others. Really you just need a bed, but if you are wanting hot showers and your own room, you need to clarify this more.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Horse Back Riding has become more popular in recent years. The trips can either be half-day or full-day and start at around 100 sols.
  • White Water Rafting can be achieved on many of the rivers around the area. Daily half day trips leave early in the morning and cost $30. It is possible to do longer trips, some even multi-day, but you will have to organize a group.
  • Shopping is a possibility in Arequipa. Although not as good as Puno or Cusco there are plenty shops selling the Incan style around the Plaza De Arms.
  • El Misti Volcano is an amazing place where one can do some hiking, horseback riding or even try their hand at mountaineering up its steep sides.
  • Malina is a nice area located outside of town and is a good day trip from the city centre.
  • Juanita Mummy in the Museo Santuarios Andinos
  • Convento de Santa Teresa
  • Puente Fierro is an iron bridge designed by Eiffel
  • Molino de Sabandía (Sabandía Mill), a three centuries old water mill just outside Arequipa

Top

edit

Weather

DSC_0214

DSC_0214

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max21.5 °C21 °C21.4 °C21.7 °C21.8 °C21.3 °C21.4 °C21.9 °C22.3 °C22.6 °C22.5 °C22.1 °C
Avg Min8.6 °C8.8 °C8.5 °C6.9 °C6.3 °C5.5 °C5.5 °C5.5 °C6.4 °C6.6 °C6.6 °C7.7 °C
Rainfall28 mm35.6 mm21.3 mm0.7 mm0.2 mm0 mm0 mm1.8 mm1.4 mm0.2 mm1.1 mm4.3 mm

Arequipa is at 2400 metres above sea level and enjoys very nice and warm days throughout the year with little variation. It's usually between 18 and 24 °C on most days but nights from May to September are cold with temperatures around or just above zero. From October to April it's between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius at night. May to September is the dry time of the year with just a few days a month with some possible rain. From October to March rain is possible on about half of the number of days, with peaks in October and January when it rain is possible on 2 out of 3 days. This generally means there are a few showers during the afternoon, it barely rains all day.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Rodríguez Ballón International Airport near Arequipa has daily flights with LAN Peru to and from Lima, Cusco and Juliaca. The flight between Juliaca and Arequipa offers spectacular views of the Andes, the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa and the massive plain it's on.

Sky Airline has flights to and from Antofagasta, Arica, Iquique and Santiago de Chile. Aerosur will start flights to Santa Cruz in Bolivia from 2010 onwards.

The airport is located a fair way out of town, there will be taxis at the airport and there is a notice on the wall when leaving the airport to tell you what the going rate for a taxi is into town.

By Train

The only train line runs between Arequipa and Juliaca and Puno on Lake Titicaca, but there are no regular services anymore. Only PeruRail offers expensive private charter trains sometimes when there is enough demand.

By Car

As Arequipa is located on the Pan-American Highway it is easily reached by car from Lima or anywhere else along the coastal region. The are main roads (mostly, if not entirely sealed) between here and Cusco and Puno.

By Bus

Arequipa, Plaza de Armas 3

Arequipa, Plaza de Armas 3

© All Rights Reserved Gitan Jean

Buses (including overnight buses) are available from Lima (via Pisco and Ica), Cusco (14 hours), Nazca (14 hours) and Puno (6 hours). The buses are cheap, comfortable and largely reliable. Arequipa is the main city in the region so it should be easy to reach from anywhere in the region via bus. There are also international buses to places in the north of Chile and even to Santiago and sometimes onwards to Mendoza Argentina, depending on the season. Ormeno offers three weekly buses to Buenos Aires as well, taking 3 days! Santiago is about 2.5 days.

Long distance buses leave from the new terminal Terrestre that is located in the suburbs, a short taxi ride from the Plaza de Armas. When using the terminal don't forget you will need to pay a departure tax in the kiosk located in the centre of the waiting area. There is also a smaller bus station right next door to the terminal Terrestre that is still used for many buses, even buses going a long distance. Make sure to give enough time when arriving at the bus station to give the possibility of walking to the other one.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

The roads around Arequipa are good, but gridlocked for most of the day.

By Public Transport

Taxis are everywhere and easy to hail and minibuses travel across the town.

By Foot

The main tourist destinations in town, the Plaza, Santa Catalina Monastery and most hotels and restaurants are all located within a few minutes walking distance from the Plaza and, given the traffic, walking is probably the quickest option.

Top

edit

Eat

The more expensive restaurants are located around the Plaza de Armas. There is a massive variety of restaurants running along San Francisco and Jerusalen and the many roads between them around the Plaza, including some particularly good pollerias.

San Francisco

  • Fez is an amazing Middle Eastern/falafel restaurant. You can get simple wraps starting at 10 sols and mains going up to 20 sols. Outback they have a nice outdoor dining area.
  • Pizza Plase is a nice wood fire pizza place that is open late. Personals start at 9 to 15 sols, medium 15 to 25 sols and a large is 30 to 50 sols.

Top

edit

Drink

You can't fail to find drinking establishments if you wander around and just away from the Plaza de Armas. There are many bars located on San Francisco Street running past the main church. Many of these bars offer very good happy hour specials. Some of the night clubs charge a cover on the weekends or on special nights but this seems to be random.

  • El Balde (Bucket Bar) is a wild and crazy place that sells small buckets and large buckets full of some mix drink. Small buckets range from 14 sols to 25 sols. While big buckets range from 35 sols to 50 sols. The place has the usual thumping dance music and the upstairs area tends to be less crowded. Locate on San Francisco Street.

Top

edit

Sleep

As you'd expect from a major city like Arequipa, there is a wide variety of accommodation, and most of it is found around the Plaza de Armas.

Budget

  • Hostel Le Foyer, Ugarte 114, Tel 054 286473. Leave the Plaza de Armas heading north along San Francisco and it's on the right after two blocks, it's easily missed however as the entrance is just a brass plaque bearing the hotels name and a set of steps leading up. The rooms are basic, but ensuite and are clean S/35 p.p.p.n. (Nov 07). The staff were friendly and you can leave your luggage there whilst travelling out of the city. However it can be worth trying to get a room away from the road as San Francisco remains busy well into the morning.
  • Arequipa Backpacker this is a nice budget hostel located in an old school near the Plaza De Arms. Built around a central courtyard there are 22 beds ranging from dorms for US$7 a night to a private triples for US$22 a night. Discounts are available to people planning to stay more then a week. All bathrooms are shared and the solar shower is the best deal during the late day. The very friendly staff generally speak good english and the tours offered by the hostel are very good deal. Breakfast, internet and share kitchen is included. Located at Cruz Verde 309, phone: +51(054) 223001.

More options including traveller ratings are:

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Andes House InnCalle Ayacucho 207-211 CercadoHotel-
Arequipa Tambo Viejo HotelAv malecon socabaya 107 IV centenario -centro AreqHotel83
Bothy HostelPuente Grau 306Hostel84
Buena Vista HostalCalle Ugarte 623 YanahuaraHostel-
Casa de AvilaAv San Martin 116, VallecitoHotel88
Colonial House InnCalle Puente Grau 114.Cercado 114 Puente Grau street. CercadoGuesthouse67
Home Sweet HomeCalle Rivero 509 CercadoGuesthouse80
Hostal AstorgaResidencial Ibarguen, A-11 YanahuaraGuesthouse-
Hostal BolivarCalle Bolivar 202Guesthouse-
Hostal Le Foyer by Edge HostelsUgarte 114Hostel83
Hostal Posada del ParqueDean Valdivia 238 A Manuel Ugarteche 412Guesthouse-
Hostal Sol de Oro BackpackersCalle Cruz Verde 307 - cercadoHostel87
Hostal SolarAyacucho 108 CercadoGuesthouse80
Hotel KunturwassiCalle Cruz Blanca s/n Cabanaconde Caylloma - ColcaHotel-
Hotel Inkari ArequipaCalle Moral 305, CercadoHOTEL-
Inca Reisen House & CampPasaje Saenz Peña A-1 (el filtro-cercado)GUESTHOUSE-
Inti Punku Lodge HostalCalle Cruz Verde #211-AGuesthouse-
Koala BackpackersPuente Grau 108Hostel-
La Casa de AnaCalle Tacna 806 YanahuaraGuesthouse-
La Casa de JaelPeral 115 ArequipaGuesthouse-
La Casa de los PinguinosAvenida Parra 110 BGuesthouse-
La Casa de TintinSan Isidro F1, VallecitoHotel90
La Compañia Hostel Bed and Breakfast109 General Moran CercadoGuesthouse84
La Fuente Arequipeña Hostal ***Av. Mariscal Benavides 205 Urb Selva Alegre - AreqGuesthouse-
La GrutaCalle la Gruta 304 Selva AlegreHotel-
Hostal La posada De UgarteUgarte 320Guesthouse-
La Posada del CaciqueCalle Jerusalen 404Guesthouse72
La Posada del Virrey103 Calle Puente GrauGuesthouse74
Las Torres de UgarteUgarte 401 - A CercadoGUESTHOUSE90
Home BackpackersUgarte 111 CercadoHostel-
Misti HouseAlvarez Thomas 204-A CercadoGuesthouse84
The Casablanca HostalPuente Bolognesi 104, ArequipaGuesthouse-
The Point Arequipa HostelAvenida Lima 515 VallecitoHostel-
Hostal El Pueblo Llaqta WasiCalle Rivero 536 Cercado ArequipaGuesthouse-
Amazing Hostel ArequipaPlaza Campo Redondo No 100 San Lazaro-CercadoHOSTEL87
Yunta Wasi Guest HouseDante Alighieri 40 B Urbanizacion Los Pinos - VallecitoGuesthouse-
Casa LindaUrbanization San Isidro B-5 Vallecito, Cercado - AGuesthouse-
Foresta HostalLos Jilgueros 218 - Urb. El CarmenGuesthouse86
Hotel PremierAv. Quiroz 100 CercadoHotel81
Hostal Arequipa Suites PlazaPortal de Flores 102 Plaza de ArmasGuesthouse-
Hostal GinzaAv. Victor Andrés Belaunde B-12 UmacolloGuesthouse-
Posada de San JuanCl.San Juán de Dios 210 CercadoGuesthouse-
La Posada de CaymaLeon XIII L-19 CaymaHostel-
Hostal ParisAv. Tacna y Arica No 119 - D CercadoGuesthouse71
Hostal Los Balcones de RiveroRivero 520 - 524 - CercadoGuesthouse-
Hostal Mansión Dorada28 de Julio 505Guesthouse-
Hostal Real San FelipeSan Juan de Dios 304Guesthouse-
La Casa de MargottRue Jerusalen # 304 CercadoHOTEL-
GasthausCalle Carlos Llosa 105 Sán Lázaro CercadoGuesthouse-
Hostal Santa MartaCalle Santa Marta 207 CercadoGUESTHOUSE88
Los TambosPuente Bolognesi 129Hotel-
Mi CasaPasaje San Isidro 148, VallecitoHostel-
Hostal VeronaPalacio viejo 206GUESTHOUSE-
Arequipa All SuitesCalle 28 de Julio 314GUESTHOUSE-
Arequipay Backpackers DowntownPasaje O Higgins No. 224 VallecitoHostel88
Marlon's House in ArequipaCalle Rivero 613Hostel83
La Casona de JerusalenJerusalen 306-A CercadoGuesthouse90
Wayra RiverCruz Verde 309Guesthouse81
Flying Dog Hostel ArequipaCalle Melgar 116Hostel83
Pirwa Hostel ArequipaAv. Juan de la Torres 172 Barrio de San LazaroHostel-
Pirwa Bed & Breakfast ArequipaCalle Jerusalen 615Hostel80
La Casita de DinaUrbanizacion Las Orquideas C-3 CercadoGUESTHOUSE-
La Posada del KurakaPuente Grau #110GUESTHOUSE84
Samana Wasi ArequipaCalle Puente Grau 105HOSTEL82
Roxy Hostel BackpackersAvenida Lima 508 Vallecito ArequipaHostel-
Hostal Souvenirs ***Cooperativa de Abogados B-9 YanahuaraGuesthouse-
Wild Rover Backpackers Hostel ArequipaCalle Ugarte 111,HOSTEL84
Los Apus HostelAv. Leon Velarde 204 - YanahuaraGUESTHOUSE-
Hostal Piccola DanielaCalle Bolivar 400-A CercadoHOTEL-
Hostal EuropaPuente Bolognesi 123, cercado, arequipaHOTEL-
Portal La Merced HostelLa Merced No 131HOSTEL83
San Agustin ArequipaCalle San Agustin 125HOTEL-
Whitetower VillaCalle Ramon Castilla 729 - CaymaHOTEL-
Cabanita's HouseCalle los Geranios 105- CercadoHOSTEL-
Hs El Pueblo Llaqta WasiCalle Rivero Nro. 536HOTEL-
Solar de Arequipa Colonial InnPuente Bolognesi 114HOSTEL-
Hostel ScandinaviaCalle Ugarte 314 CentroHostel-
El Albergue EspanolCalle Peral 117 - CercadoGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Boutique Villa ElisaCalle Manuel Ugarteche 401 - Urb. Selva AlegreHOTEL-
Pirwa Park Hostel ArequipaDean Valdivia 238-A, Centro Historico de ArequipaHOSTEL82
The Point Arequipa hostelPalacio Viejo 325 Centro HistoricoHOSTEL79
CasaVilla ArequipaUrbanizacion Coviseal A-1 PaucarpataHOTEL-
La Posada RealCalle Mollendo 218, Urbanizacion MunicipalHOTEL-
Estela de OroCruz Verde 111HOTEL86
Hotel Posada del MonasterioCalle Santa Catalina 300Hotel79
Posada del Characato 2Calle Rivero 536GUESTHOUSE-
La Maison del SolarCalle San Agustin 316-318, CercadoGUESTHOUSE-
Helena de Santa MariaC/ Jose Santos Chocano 28HOTEL-
La Casona de Palacio ViejoCalle Cruz Verde 224HOTEL-
La Casa de MarcelaEl Carmen 507 - MirafloresGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel MiskaPasaje Desaguadero 103-105 Campo RedondoHOTEL-
Hostal Villa SillarJerusalen 307 Cercado ArequipaHOTEL-
Honeyhouse for TravelersCruz Verde 300BAPARTMENT-
Dreams Hotel BoutiqueCalle Luna Pizarro 103 VallecitoHOTEL-
Hostal RegisCALLE UGARTE # 202 CERCADO AREQUIPAHostel-
Royal Village Guest HouseCalle Gomez Sanchez 208 VallecitoGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel MirasolRivero 641 CercadoHOTEL-
El Patio de ElisaCalle Peral 206 CercadoGUESTHOUSE-
hotel sideral aqpHotel-
Hotel HerusalenCalle Jerusalén 300 - C / CercadoHOTEL-
Hotel SideralCalle Carlos Llosa, 106HOTEL-
Como En Casa-Home Away From HomeUrb. Las Calendulas B-4Hostel-
Arequipay Backpackers Apartment GuesthouseAvenida Arequipa 711 B Alto Selva AlegreGUESTHOUSE-
Villa MelgarMelgar Street. 417 Historic CenterGUESTHOUSE84
Queen's Villa HotelLuna Pizarro 512 VallecitoHOTEL-
Homestay de AnarandaUrbanizacion Bartolome Herrera D-5 JLyRGUESTHOUSE-

Mid-Range

  • Casa de Avila, Av. San Martin 116 Vallecito, Tel (51) 54 213177. This comfortable hotel is about 6 blocks south of the Plaza de Armas. The rooms are simple and clean, with private bathrooms and cable TV. All the rooms overlook the large grassy courtyard. Also gives Spanish lessons in the courtyard.
  • Hotel Asturias
  • Hotel Queens Villa

Upscale

  • Hotel Crisma, Moral 107 Tel 054 215290. This large, modern hotel is just off the main plaza.

Top

Top

edit

Safety

See also: Travel Safety

The tourist police station is located along Jerusalen towards the northern end just before the church of San Francisco.
Be careful of pick pockets along Jerusalen, it has a bit of a reputation.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. In Peru, by far the easiest way to check your e-mail and surf the Web is to drop in at the Internet cabinas (booths) that can be found in virtually every city and even small towns. Connections are usually fast, and the service is as little as S/2 per hour.
Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and many hotels nowadays have at least one computer with Internet access.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Peru's country code is +51. Emergency numbers include 105 (Police), 117 (Ambulance) and 116 (Fire).

In all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. Many public phones can be expensive, and an attractive alternative is a Locutorio, or "call-center". Typical rates include .2 Nuevo Sol/minute for calls in the country, and .5 Nuevo Sol/minute for most international calls. Phone cards are cheap and easily available from shops or vendors who hang around pay phones. You'll often see people with a bundle of mobile phones who act as pay phones, they'll be shouting 'llamadas'. Telephone booths are primarily used for making local calls. Calling to other countries from Peru is expensive.

If you have an unlocked cell phone you can buy local SIM cards. Movistar and Claro are two of the phone companies in Peru. You can buy your sim card from these companies and buy a phone card also.

Your best, cheapest bet for making international calls from Peru is to head to any Internet cafe with an international calling option. These cafes have connections to Skype, Net2Phone, or some other VoIP service. International calls made this way can range anywhere from 5¢ to $1 per minute -- much cheaper than making direct international calls or using a phone card. If you have your own Skype or similar account, you just need to find an Internet cafe that provides a computer with a headset.

Post

Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which are faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive.

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: -16.32773
  • Longitude: -71.595886

Contributors

as well as alsalis (14%), Corinna26 (9%), Peter (6%), jtlande (3%), Hien (1%)

Help contribute to this article to share the ad revenue.

Arequipa Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Arequipa

This is version 45. Last edited at 8:44 on Apr 29, 14 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License