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5 best things to do in Arequipa

If you are planning a few days in Arequipa this guide is for you! Find our curated list of the 5 best things to do in Arequipa, with our recommendation on where to sleep and where to eat in the ‘white city’.

Arequipa has an elegant and distinct feel about it, like an old lady who has kept her style throughout the years and still beams her beauty.

Set within a stunning natural landscape, with a series of volcano cones dominating the city skyline, volcano Misti and the extinct volcanic groups Pichu Pichu and Chachani, the city has some incredible views. Basically almost completely built out of sillar, a kind of white volcanic stone, giving her the nickname of ‘white city’, Arequipa is famous also for its unique architecture and numerous churches and religious sites.

5 great things to do in Arequipa Church Window
5 great things to do in Arequipa Church Main Square

Palm trees and delicious fruits on every corner.

White volcanic walls line the streets.

5 great things to do in Arequipa Palm Tree
5 great things to do in Arequipa Church Main Square Palm Trees
5 great things to do in Arequipa Librtador Hotel

The 5 best things to do in Arequipa

  1. Visit Santa Catalina convent to be transported into another era. Built in 1975, the monastery can now be visited for its largest part, giving you the possibility to peek into how the nuns of the Dominica Second Order used to live. You spend hours walking in between deep blue and purpora walls, exploring the old rooms and kitchens and absorbing the sense of calm and peace that still lives there. A must do when in Arequipa.

  2. To buy fresh fruits and vegetables, or a new hat, make your way to the Mercado Central. This bustling market is also the perfect place where to have a fresh juice and see some colorful local daily life.

  3. Have a drink overlooking the majestic Basilica Catedral de Arequipa. On the right side of the Basilica you will find stairs that reach a rooftop bar where you can have a drink or eat with a really epic view.

  4. Visit Museo Santuarios Andinos to learn more about the the historic excavation where ‘Juanita’, the frozen Inca girl that now is displayed in the museum, was discovered.

  5. Two days of hiking in the Colca Canyon. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but it will take you through a wonderful land and will definitely make you feel extra proud of yourself for accomplishing it. Read our blog post on our two days hike in the Colca Canyon. You will find all the information you need to plan the hike!

Our best memory of Arequipa will always be watching a slow, fiery sunset take place over the white Basilica Catedral de Arequipa in Plaza de Armes. Once the night sky faded into darkness the Basilica lights up in a dazzling show of lights which enanches its beauty even more.

Where to sleep in Arequipa

Hotel Libertador Arequipa

Pink walls, palm trees and a blue figure eight pool. Hotel Libertador Arequipa has all the 70s Miami Vice vibes and the class of the best hotel in town. We spent two sunny days in this extra comfortable hotel, lounging by the pool which is set within a spacious park, giving you a real sense of relax and peace.


At our arrive we were offered a pisco sour welcome drink and being the World Cup on, we had the luck to be able to join a Budweiser event taking place in the park within the property, which made our day extra fun. Within the park, a small family of llamas lives undisturbed and as part of an effort to reduce waste and produce ‘sustainable food’, Hotel Libertador Arequipa grows and harvests its own products such as Andean potato, tomato, Chinese onion, celery, among others, creating the concept "From our garden to your table”. Dinner never tasted so fresh!


Bella AQP

Bella AQP offers a spacious room with elegant and cosy decor. A plus is a lovely terrace where you can have breakfast in the morning and a drink in the evening overlooking the city and the lights of the Cathedral.



Wild Rover Backpacker Arequipa

This hostel is where the action happens in the city. The number one party hostel in town where you will certainly have an unforgettable time but maybe not that much sleep!

Where to eat in Arequipa

Lunch at La Dispensa

Conveniently just outside the Santa Catalina convent you will find this little culinary heaven. Everything from the sandwiches, to the pizzas and deserts is extra delicious (we had one of each so you can trust us!). The space itself is beautiful in every detail, with two window sits which make for perfect drawn out launch spot.


Dinner at El Buda Profano

El Buda Profano it’s all my sushi dreams coming true. Original combinations, rich in flavors and textures, all completely vegan. The atmosphere is relaxing and cozy, with jazz music playing in the background and just five tables. A real gem.

5 great things to do in Arequipa Quick Guide