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AREQUIPA


CITY OF VOLCANIC STONE

Nestled between the desert coast and the foothills of the Andes, Arequipa is renowned across Peru for its architecture, volcanoes, delectable food specialties, and distinctive regional traditions. Spend a few days here and you are sure to become enamored by its quiet charm, uncommon elegance, and eternal springtime weather.

Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city after Lima and has an energy all its own. Enjoy a sunlit day on the gorgeous Plaza de Armas, visit the Ice Maiden Mummy, and venture to the rolling countryside for bucolic fun.

  • Elevation 7,700 ft (2,340 m) at Plaza de Armas of Arequipa. Nearby Misti Volcano reaches 19,101 ft (5,822 m)
  • Temperature Daytime: 70 to 77°F (21 to 25°C)
    Nighttime: 41 to 48°F (5 to 9°C)
  • Dry Season From April to October
    Coinciding with the southern hemisphere’s summer season, dry season days bring abundant sunshine and cold temperatures at night down to 41°F (5°C). July is the coldest month.
  • Wet Season From December to March
    Wet season days can be sunny or cloudy. Afternoons are usually cloudy with light rainfall. Nights are moderately cold, usually around 48°F (9°C). February is the wettest month.
    Arequipa has a dry desert climate and experiences intense high solar radiation as a result of high altitude and proximity to the Atacama Desert.
PLAZA DE ARMAS
Try not to exhaust your camera memory card when you visit the beautiful Arequipa Plaza de Armas. The Basilica Cathedral is its eye-catching centerpiece.
SANTA CATALINA MONASTERY
Get swept up in the history and charming passageways of Santa Catalina Monastery, once home to 500 nuns.
JESUIT CHURCH
Visit Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus if only to admire the church's stone portal entrance intricately carved with Andean motifs.
MUSEO SANTUARIOS ANDINOS
Pay a visit to Juanita, the Ice Maiden Mummy, whose remains were discovered atop Ampato peak in 1995 and are now housed in this archaeological museum.
CASA DE MORAL
Transport yourself to Arequipa’s golden age with a visit to an 18th century mansion complete with antique furnishings, alpaca rugs, and a collection of religious paintings.
MIRADOR YANAHUARA
Use the terrace’s white stone arches as frames for photos of the historic center of Arequipa and Misti Volcano beyond.
LA RECOLETA CONVENT
Browse this Franciscan convent library’s original manuscripts, maps, and letters dating from the 16th to 18th centuries.
TOUR THE HISTORIC CENTER
Admire the radiant white stone architecture of monumental buildings throughout the historic center, declared a UNESCO site in 2000.
EAT AREQUIPA CUISINE
Go to a picanteria and sample Arequipa’s traditional dishes, namely adobo stew, rocoto relleno, chupe de camarones, locro, and more.
THE PLAZA DE ARMAS
Join Arequipa locals who gather by day and by night on the scenic Plaza de Armas. Don’t forget to make a wish at Tuturutu Fountain.
BUY ALPACA GOODS
Arequipa is a global center for alpaca wool. Visit a factory to see the process of making alpaca wool products and learn to spot what distinguishes top quality goods.
VISIT A MIRADOR
Get a fresh angle on the lush countryside and the three volcanoes that surround the city with a visit to one of Arequipa’s miradores.
CLIMB A VOLCANO
Book a guided trek to climb to the ice-covered summit of Misti or Chachani. The views from the top defies the imagination.
A DAY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
See what life was like for Arequipa elite who kept grand haciendas in the countryside. Visit the Molino de Sabandia and the restored Mansion del Fundador.
GO TO THE COLCA CANYON
Combine your Arequipa tour with a trip to the Colca Canyon. Book a stay at a tranquil resort like Casitas del Colca and wake up early the next morning to watch condors soar.
MOUNTAIN BIKING
Adventurous and altitude ready? Book an adrenaline-packed downhill biking tour from Chachani or another peak to Arequipa.
To sample traditional Arequipa food, go to a picanteria restaurant where you can select from 2 or 3 or more dishes. Bring your appetite because serving sizes are huge. Also be aware that the word picantería derives from the word picante, meaning spicy, which is a key characteristic of Arequipa cooking.

El Sol de Mayo
Open for lunch only: 12-6pm. Live music from 1pm to 4pm
Jerusalem 207, Yanahuara
La Tradición Arequipa
Open noon to 7pm on Thursday – Sunday; noon to 10pm on Fri-Sat. Full orchestra on Saturday nights.
Dolores 111, Paucarpata
In addition to traditional restaurants, you’ll also find every other type of Peruvian and international cuisine, as well as some stand out fusion restaurants.

Zig Zag Arequipa
Andean-Alpine fusion cuisine. Start with a salmon and trout carpaccio. Try duck, beef, and alpaca (served alone or in combination) cooked on a hot volcanic stone.
Zela 210, Historic Center of Arequipa
Chicha Arequipa
Gaston Acurio's novo-Andean restaurant. Specialties include alpaca steak, suckling pig, and peking guinea pig.
Santa Catalina 210, Historic Center of Arequipa
Zingaro
Peruvian-Mediterranean food in an ambient, romantic setting. Great venue to try cuy. Alpaca ribs in red wine sauce are also recommended.
San Francisco 309, Historic Center of Arequipa
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Arequipa Travel Tips


By plane: The Arequipa airport is called the Manuel Ballon International Airport (airport code: AQP). There are regular connecting flights to/from Lima, Juliaca, and Cusco. The airport is 5.5 miles (8 km) from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.

If arriving by air, an English-speaking representative from Incas Expert Travel will be waiting for you outside of the baggage claim area, holding a sign with your name on it. If you arrange your own transportation from the airport, we recommend using one of the licensed taxi companies inside the airport.

By bus: Arequipa has 2 major bus stations, Terminal Terreste and Terminal Terrapuerto, which are adjacent to one another and 2.4 miles (3.8 km) from the Plaza de Armas. For long distance travel between Arequipa and Cusco, Puno, or Lima, the best and safest option is to look for non-stop overnight routes with companies such as Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, or Excluciva.

If traveling to/from Colca Canyon, private vans pick-up and drop-off directly at your hotel.

You can easily explore the historic center of Arequipa by foot. For longer distances, such as to the miradores (lookout points) or into the countryside, your travel advisor can arrange transfers in advance. You can also ask your hotel concierge to arrange transfers for you. For your own safety and peace of mind, do not hail a taxi from the street.

In Arequipa, the same advice holds true as it does for any new city you visit.

Keep valuables at your hotel, stow money under your clothes in a zippered or sealed container, wear backpacks on your front when in crowded areas, and in general stay alert. Common sense goes a long way to avoid potential incidents like petty theft and pickpocketing. In the historic center, you will see a visible police presence. Ask for help if you need assistance. Please speak with your travel advisor about any specific concerns.

ATMs and casas de cambio (currency exchange offices) are widely available on the Plaza de Armas and surrounding streets. If withdrawing money from an ATM, it’s best to use a machine that is attached to a bank. Some machines will give you the option to withdraw in Soles or US dollars.

A few hotels, restaurants, and expensive shops in Arequipa accept credit cards, many others don’t. Some establishments will add a commission (5-10%) if paying by credit card. For purchases in small amounts, it is best to pay in cash. Keep note of emergency numbers for all credit or debit cards in case of loss or theft.

As with any of Peru’s mountain destinations, the key to packing for Arequipa is to plan to dress in layers. Mornings are cold and you’ll want to start the day with outer layers that you can remove as the day warms up. By late afternoon, temperatures begin to drop again.

If you’re wishing for sunny skies, the dry season from April to October is the best time to visit.

In August, Arequipa celebrates the anniversary of its founding with a month-long calendar of events that draws a mix of locals, Peruvians, and international travelers. Hotels can book up quickly, so be sure to make your plans well in advance.

Arequipa is located on the popular southern route through Peru.

+ Direct domestic flights connect Arequipa to Lima (1 hr 30 min) and to Cusco (1 hr). Most travelers stop in Arequipa in between visits to the desert coast (Lima, Paracas, Nazca) and the Andean highlands (Cusco, Puno, Lake Titicaca).

+ For an extended look at truly breathtaking Andean landscapes, many travelers choose the overland route from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon and onward to Lake Titicaca, or vice versa. The route can be crossed aboard a comfortable minibus. Peru Rail recently introduced a new offer geared toward high end travelers: the Andean Explorer luxury sleeper train which connects Arequipa - Lake Titicaca - Cusco. Inquire for details.

If you’re planning to travel to destinations in the Andes such as Cusco and Lake Titicaca and are concerned about altitude, rest assured that Arequipa is the perfect intermediate stop after Lima and before heading to higher elevations.

Arequipa is located at 7,700 ft (2,340 m) — about 3,000 ft (1,000 m) less than Cusco or Puno. Few travelers ever experience altitude sickness while visiting the city, but it does give you some time to acclimate if coming from sea level.

Be aware, however, that the road between Arequipa and the Colca Canyon reaches altitudes of 12,000 ft (4,000 m). You will notice the elevation if you step out of the car and try any strenuous activity, such as climbing or sprinting. Gladly, these activities are not part of the program. Stick to the comfort of your car, bus, or van and you should have no problem. Chivay and other Colca Canyon villages are at about the same altitude as Cusco 11,150 ft (3,400 m).



 
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