Arequipa: travel guide to the white city
Known as the White City, Arequipa is a destination that delights for the beauty of its white stone architecture and snowy volcanoes, which hides impressive natural reserves and magical rural hamlets. PeruByBus brings you a guide to this amazing city.
Arequipa City Guide
Arequipa is the capital and largest city of the Department of Arequipa, which is located in the southern part of Peru. The city itself extends into an area of valleys, surrounded by mountains, where majestic volcanic cones stand out, such as the Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu.
The greatest fame of the city comes from its wonderful historic center declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is home to countless constructions dating from the viceregal and republican era, characterized by the use of white volcanic stone, using the technique of ashlar.
In addition to history, Arequipa is a destination of nature, sheltering in its surroundings surprising natural destinations, such as the Colca Canyon. One of the deepest natural canyons in the world, it is famous for being a privileged place for observing the flight of condors.
What to do in Arequipa?
A walk through the historic center of Arequipa is undoubtedly the top thing to do in Arequipa. It is one of the best postcards of the colonial and republican era, still retaining its centennial streets, large houses in white stone and religious buildings. Among its numerous buildings of interest, one cannot fail to mention baroque jewels such as the Church of the Company and the huge monastery of Santa Catalina, a true citadel of 20 000 m2.
Treasures of natural heritage are within miles of the city. They are representative of the mountainous landscapes of the region, where you can observe valleys, rivers and enormous volcanic peaks. Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve and the Colca Canyon are some of the best ecotourism destinations near the city.
Both in the vicinity of Arequipa and in the Colca Valley, there are numerous settlements that display the ancestral cultures of the region, conserving folkloric traditions, crafts and colonial constructions. Some of the most visited are Villa de Cayma and Villa Hermosa de Yanahuara.
Best time to visit Arequipa
Arequipa has a pleasant climate throughout the year, with 300 days of sun, along with temperatures that do not rise above 25 °C and are rarely lower than 10 °C. Summer goes from December to March. This is the wet season, has more clouds, some rains, higher humidity. The minimum average temperatures is around 10 °C and maximum averages of 20 °C.
Winter, between April and November, is known as the dry season, with very low humidity, no precipitation and temperatures that can feel a bit colder due to the dryness of the air. This is usually considered the best period for visiting the city, avoiding rainfall and higher humidity indexes.
Major tourist places of Arequipa
Plaza de Armas
Recognized as one of the most beautiful squares in the world. It has an important historical background: it that precise location the city was founded in 1540. The Plaza is located in the heart of the old town and around it you can see impressive works of architecture such as the viceroyal portals, the Cathedral and the Church of the Company.
Villa Hermosa de Yanahuara
One of the most famous tourist places of Arequipa. It houses the beautiful Mirador de Yanahuara, a terrace surrounded by stone arcades, which serves as a platform for spectacular views of the White City and its three snowcapped volcanoes: Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu.
Villa de Cayma
Cayma is known as the Balcony of Arequipa for the beautiful views that are obtained towards the White City. It is located 3 kilometers from the historical center of Arequipa, and famous by the beauty of its colonial architectures.
Known as the South Eastern Gate of Arequipa. It is located 8 kilometers away from the historic center of the city. Sabandia is known for its landscapes and crystal clear waters that emanate from the nearby volcanoes. Its main tourist attraction is the Sabandía Mill, a colonial monument that for centuries was the flour supplier of the city, a heritage work nowadays restored, keeping its white ashlar walls, vaults, gargoyles, and balconies.
Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve
Jewel of natural heritage located in the vicinity of Arequipa, at an average altitude of 4300 meters above sea level. It is famous for its landscapes that mix snow-capped volcanoes, lagoons, Andean forests and meadows. Its most famous is Salinas lagoon, a scenario of particular beauty with shallow salt water and extensive bofedales. It is a true bird sanctuary that hosts about 20 000 waterfowl. Among them the famous flamingos that dye the waters of the lagoon with color.