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Quite possibly Peru’s most beautiful city, Arequipa - or the White City - is home to exquisite architecture and buildings carved from shimmering sillar (white volcanic rock). Resting in the foothills of the western Andes, the snow-tipped El Misti rises majestically above the city’s turrets and terraces. Arequipa holidays offer both city splendour and natural beauty - and all of it in spades.

Within the city walls, there’s plenty to soak in. The city centre - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - sparkles with beautiful colonial buildings, many centred on the breezy Plaza de Armas square. The spectacular sillar centrepiece, the Cathedral of Arequipa, stretches the entire length of the plaza; join a tour to learn about its history. A city within a city, spend time wandering the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, a sprawling convent of labyrinthine passages and rooms.

Roam away the days on your holiday to Arequipa

There are a number of premier museums in Arequipa. The Museo Santuarios Andinos is home to a famous attraction: Juanita, the Ice Maiden. A young Inca girl, sacrificed between 1450 and 1480 atop Mount Ampato as an offering to the Gods, now frozen and forever preserved.

Outside the city, a whole plethora of delights await. Surrounded by towering volcanoes, hiking, climbing and rafting opportunities are plentiful. Thermal hot springs, salt lakes and stretches of arid desert also frame the White City. Take a trip to the iconic Cañón del Colca, one of the world’s deepest, and watch out for the majestic Andean condor as it glides overhead. If you’re feeling daring, climb to the summit of El Misti on a gruelling two-day hike.

Adventure awaits on your holiday to Arequipa. Get in touch with our Destination Specialists to begin planning. In the meantime, why not see what the rest of Peru has to offer? Think cobbled Cuzco, pretty Puno or the spectacular Sacred Valley.

Destination Highlights

  • Wander the ornate buildings of Arequipa’s historic colonial centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Join a Colca Canyon tour and watch out for the sweeping wings of the magnificent Andean condor high overhead
  • Visit the magnificent, sprawling City Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, built from white volcanic rock
  • Spend a day exploring the city’s local markets, searching for artisan souvenirs - San Camilo Market is one of the best

Explore Arequipa

City Sights

Visit the numerous museums dotted throughout Arequipa. See Juanita the Ice Princess who was discovered tightly wrapped in textiles and preserved in ice in the Ampato Mountains at Museo Santuarios Andinos. Peruse the 12 gallery rooms to see more than 300 works of art, including colonial-era paintings, sculptures, murals, metalworks, and religious art at Museo de Arte Virreinal de Santa Teresa. Or explore the exhibits at the Archaeological Museum of the Santa Maria Catholic University. 

Outdoor Delights

Arequipa's city centre is packed full of almost 250 colonial buildings, most of which are centred near beautiful  Plaza de Armas, the city's main square. Just around the corner, peruse the San Camilo Market for souvenirs to take home from your holiday to Arequipa. Make sure to explore the Santa Catalina Convent, a beautiful convent that is a miniature walled colonial town perched right in the centre of Arequipa.  

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Gina, Destination Specialist

“Arequipa’s central square is guaranteed to impress. Set amongst leafy palms, and flanked by stunning colonial churches, the Plaza de Armas is the true heart of Arequipa and the perfect place to really appreciate why it is known as the White City.”

Destination Specialist
Barbara, Destination Specialist

“To sample some delicious traditional food, head to one of the picanterias in Arequipa. The name is derived from the word picante (spicy) and speaks for most of the dishes on offer. Visit on the weekend to join local families.”

Destination Specialist

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