The desert mountains of the Andes are where the colonial city of Arequipa takes place. This cosmopolitan city is surrounded by a wild terrain such as active volcanoes, high-altitude deserts and one of the deepest canyons in the world, which are the amazing Arequipa tourist attractions.
Arequipa is known as “La Ciudad Blanca” (The White City) for the sophisticated stonework carved from sillar (white volcanic stone), which graces its historic centre and makes Arequipa so distinctive, as well as its colonial churches, mansions and convents.
The beautiful city of Arequipa is the second largest in Peru, which, in recent years, has become the land of the most popular outdoor activities, such as trekking, mountaineering and water rafting.
* Arequipa is also known as the city of eternal spring.
The colonial city offers you many places to visit and things to do in Arequipa.
Plaza de Armas
Arequipa’s main square, the Plaza de Armas, is considered one of the most beautiful plazas of South America. It is surrounded by palm trees, balconies and beautiful colonial-era churches and buildings which guaranteed to impress anybody. It is also surrounded by many bars, restaurants and cafes.
This impressive and magnificent 17th-century Cathedral, which towers over the Plaza de Armas, is the most important church of The White City.
This enormous and unique sillar Cathedral, which borders one side of the main square, is very popular among locals and tourists who are attracted by its gorgeous beauty, shimmering white-stone walls and impressive towers.
Catedral is must-see in your tour in Arequipa.
Iglesia La Compañia
On the southeast corner of the Plaza de Armas, sits the modest but interesting Iglesia La Compañia which is built out of white dazzling sillar volcano stone as well. Its main attraction is its facade, a beautiful carved masterpiece of the Churrigueresque style (baroque style) full of stupendous details and motifs.
Santa Catalina Monastery
Often described as a citadel within the city, due to the imposing high walls that clutter the complex. The Santa Catalina Monastery is one of the most important, fascinating and prestigious religious building in Peru.
Its colonial-era architecture full of colour and beautiful flowers is particularly remarkable and special to the Arequipa tourist attractions.
*It was founded by a rich Spanish widow in 1580 and sheltered a convent which hosted hundred secluded nuns and servants.
A lovely and tranquil neighbourhood to walk around. It houses a mix of brilliantly white and elegant buildings, colonial churches and green plazas. Yanahuara viewpoint provides you with amazing and unbeatable views of Arequipa and the majestic volcano, El Misti, which encircle the city.
Another popular one of the Arequipa tourist attractions is the Colca Canyon; one of the world’s deepest canyons, which stands at 3270 meters.
Colca Canyon tour passes through breathtaking sceneries – where magnificent condors fly overhead – and traditional towns, such as Maca and Yanque where you will see colonial-era churches and women wearing traditional dresses.
Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca
A beautiful natural place that surrounds the city is the Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca. Here, you will enjoy wandering along lagoons, plains, wetlands, magnificent mountains and impressive volcanoes, such the El Misti that towers over its surroundings.
The reserve is the place where the endangered wild cousins of llamas live, I mean, vicuñas. It is also a beautiful and splendid scenery for birds and other animals which can be spotted here and there.
The Arequipa highlights are not only colonial buildings built from sillar volcano stone (most of them were constructed from El Misti’s sillar) or colonial houses around the Plaza de Armas but also the majestic conical snow-capped volcano which dominates the skyline of Arequipa. It stands at 5,821 meters. Adventurous trekkers from across the world are seduced by its imposing beauty. They feel compelled to climb it in an intense but rewarding two-day ascent.
In addition to that, there were found several Inca mummies near the volcano.
*El Misti is a Quechua name that means “the gentleman”
Mirador Cruz del Condor
The most visited point in Arequipa is the “Mirador Cruz del Condor”, here you will be able to see the depth of the Colca Canyon and the flight of the condors. Many travellers from around the world flock to Mirador Cruz del Condor to admire the majestic condors in full flight, like if they are floating on the wind. Totally sublime.
Mirador Cruz del Condor is definitely the best place to see condors in Peru.
Here is a list of Arequipa tourist attractions for adventure lovers:
The White City offers you some of the best hikes in Peru which count with a unique and impressive natural beauty. There are several hiking options around Arequipa, from the deepest canyon to climbing a majestic volcano, especially during the dry season, from May to November.
Arequipa counts with a multitude of superb mountains which are, without a doubt, one of the best places for mountaineering in Peru. The most popular climb in The White City is El Misti, but there are many other spectacular peaks to climb such as Hualca Hualca and Ampato, both in the direction of the Colca Canyon.
*Make sure to acclimatize to high altitudes.
River Running (white-water rafting)
Arequipa tourist attractions offer a great selection of rivers such as Rio Chili, Rio Colca, Rio Cotahuasi and Rio Majes, which have spectacular beauty and challenging white water. They are the best spots to enjoy a day of river running.
A very popular activity around Arequipa. There are some biking spots close to the city which give you the opportunity to delight with the beautiful Andean views. Mountain biking is available in places such as Chachani, El Misti, Colca Canyon and Laguna de Salinas.
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