Colonial Architecture, Hiking and more! Discover the top 5 things to do in Arequipa
Ahhhh the pretty and sunny Arequipa! Once you step into this city, you’ll definitely want to stay for more days. Peru by bus will take you on a tour across the top 5 things to do in Arequipa.
Arequipa is a unique and fascinating city, packed with enough sights and attractions to keep you busy for at least a week. White well-preserved colonial buildings all over the historical center? Check! Hiking a jaw-dropping Canyon and spotting condors? Check! Arequipa shimmers, and it´s undoubtedly the prettiest of Peru’s cities.
Here are a few of Peru by bus favorite things to do in the city:
1. Chill at the historical center
Meet one of the best Plazas in South America. Arequipa’s central Plaza de Armas is high on our list of what to see in the town. Like most South American plazas, this one is located right in the middle of the city. Sit and read a book under the palm tree shadow, surrounded by the stunning colonial buildings.
Walk along the main streets and enjoy a tasty lunch in one of the numerous hip restaurants and cafes.
Take time and soak up every city points. Arequipa’s central square is a living museum of the city’s local white volcanic rock architecture. That´s why the southern town is known as the “White City.” The downtown is the city soul and earned a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage title in 2000.
2. Be face to face with Juanita
Juanita is a 500-year-old mummified girl who was ritually buried after sacrificed to the Gods. Her body was discovered in 1995, due to a volcanic eruption. The volcanic activity melted the snowcap, revealing Juanita´s burial site and causing her frozen body to slide down the mountain face. This is the reason why Juanita´s body is near-perfectly preserved. Be face to face with this symbolic mummy in the Andean Sanctuary Museum, located only a block from the Plaza de Armas.
3. Visit San Camilo Market
When traveling through South America, visiting local markets must always be one of your top priorities! Although they often seem a bit too similar, you´ll always find one that proves just how cool markets can be. San Camilo Market is one of this places.
Don’t miss the chance to taste the exotic fruits juices and smoothies. You’ll spend hours wandering through the rows of people selling fresh Peruvian products, from black olives to dozens of potato variations.
Have a typical lunch, chat with the sellers and take advantage of the market photogenic vibe.
How to get there? From the Plaza de Armas, it’s about eight minutes walking distance.
4. Hike the Colca Canyon
The Colca Canyo is Peru’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and it can be accessed on an 8-hour hike (up and down). The tours can last up to three days and pass through unbelievable landscapes as the great condor flies overhead.
See how locals live in the little villages across the Canyon. They are still very traditional in their ways and customs. Colca is steeped in plenty of history and its inhabitants even predate the Incas.
This is a must stop for everyone traveling through Arequipa.
5. Sunset at Yanahuara
Yanahuara is an easy stroll from the center of the city, located just about a 30-minute walk. Here you can find a little plaza and a beautiful 18th-century church. What about Yanahuara´s coolest thing to do? A lovely viewpoint from where you can see Arequipa and one of its three volcanoes, El Misti.
By the way, those with serious adventurous veins should consider scaling El Misti. A strenuous two-day ascent reaches heights of 5,822 m. Head up to Yanahuara viewpoint just before sunset for a few Insta-worthy pics. Yanahuara´s famous street vendor treat is the local queso helado. Although its translation is “cheese ice-cream,” this delicious artisanal ice-cream is actually has coconut, cinnamon, and cloves. Worth paying a few soles for!
You can cover Arequipa on foot, and it’s a perfect pretty city to discover in that way. In the central Plaza de Armas you´ll find a tourist office (English spoken) which is a nice source for any advice on activities and tours.
Despite its picturesque location in the shadow of three dramatic volcanoes, Arequipa’s colonial architecture, quality restaurants, trendy bars and sleeping options don’t get the attention they deserve. Arequipa is Andean splendor at his best.