History of Arequipa
The name Arequipa comes from the quechua word “ari-que-pay”, that refers to a legend about the inca Mayta Cápac; in the legend his subjects, impressed by the beauty of the place, asked him to stay and the inca answered: “yes, stay” (ari-que-pay).
In the inca period the incas left the Arequipa territory in search of new places to conquer. The official foundation of the city took place in 1540, by the Spanish who arrived there to take advantage of the mines of the area in the colonial period.
The city prospered quickly due to its advisable location in the mining transit path, becoming the most important commercial city, and standing out for its loyalty to the Spanish crown.
During the republic, Arequipa was the place where concentrated most of the uprisings and social and political conflicts, what (later on time) would deserve its title of “Hero city of the free people of Arequipa”. Nowadays the city of Arequipa is one of the metropolis of higher economic, cultural and touristic importance inside the country.
-The minimum altitude is 9 meters high (Punta de Bombón)
-The maximum altitude is 4910 meters (Los Volcanes viewpoint - Caylloma)
-The distance between Lima and Arequipa is 623 mi (1003 km)
-The region’s climate is semi-arid and temperate, with a rainy season from January to March
-The maximum temperature is 71 °F (22 °C) and the minimum is 41 °F (5 °C).
How to get around Arequipa
At night we recommend to get around by taxi. During the day you can do it by foot, because the distances are short. Like that you will enjoy much more the experience of getting to know the architecture and beauty of the Arequipa streets.
Risks and cautions of Arequipa
As in every big city, the most common danger is the theft. To avoid a bad moment, we recommend you not to take unknown taxis or taxis of a non reliable company at night. Try to book the authorized services and take care of your highly-valued objects. During the day the risks are fewer, but anyway stay cautious.
What will you find in Arequipa?
Arequipa is also known as the “White City”, because most of its historic monuments are made of block of stone (a white stone of volcanic origin). In this beautiful city you will get to know the lovely Plaza de Armas (main square), a historical Cathedral and streets and mansions of colonial architectural style. Don’t you miss one of the most important religious constructions in Peru, the Santa Catalina Monastery. In the outskirts of the city you will appreciate the magnificent volcano Misti and if you’re adventure spirit is high, take a tour to the Colca canyon, considered one of the deepest in the world.
In the city of Arequipa
Santa Catalina Monastery
Location: 301, Santa Catalina
Hours: 9.00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Prices: from 10 to 40 soles (the prices vary depending on if you are Peruvian, foreigner, student or old man)
The Monastery of Santa Catalina was founded in 1579, thanks to the donation of María de Guzmán, Diego Hernández de Mendoza’s widow, who after being widowed when she was 30, decided to devote herself to the religous life, putting aside all her fortune for building the monastery. Over the years, the place changed its configuration, giving to the visitors an impressive sample of the architecture made of block of stone that you can see inside the little city that constitutes the monastery.
Cathedral of Arequipa
Location: to the North of the Plaza de Armas
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Price: 10 soles the entrance to the Cathedral’s museum
The cathedral is mostly built in block of stone and it was opened in 1656 on the basis of other churches that were destroyed by natural phenomenons. Its architectural style comes from the Renaissance with some variations of gothic style. It’s one of the most ancient constructions you can find in the city.
Location: 117, Jr. Recoleta
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Price: 10 soles adults, 5 soles students
The convent La Recoleta was founded in 1648 by the father Pedro de Mendoza. From 1978 there is a pre-Columbian museum where you can appreciate pottery of the moche, chimú and inca cultures, and other interesting remains as mummies and tools. Ther is as well a library which has more than 20000 historical books.
Location: at 60 mi (97km) to the North of Arequipa
Hours: any time of day
The Sumbay caves are located on the limits of the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca, at the back of the Misti. They harbor more than 500 figures of cave paintings, representations which come 6000 to 8000 years ago aproximately and possibly the first settlers of the area made them.
Location: at 1 mi (2 km) from the center of Arequipa city
Hours: any time of day
The Yanahuara viewpoint was built on the 19th century and it’s formed by block of stone archs which have engraving words of distinguished celebrities of Arequipa.
Location: At 102.5 mi (165 km) from the city
Hours: any time of day
The Colca Valley is a canyon produced by the natural erosion, considered the second in depth of the world. Several kinds of llamas and condors can be appreciated through the route to the valley center, where you can also discover one of the most splendid sunrises of the planet.
Location: at 11 mi (17.5 km) from Arequipa city
Hours: any time of the day
The Misti volcano is the Arequipa symbol and is one of the main tourist attractions for the climbing lovers. It’s considered active, although the eruption risk is minimum. The people who wish to scale it must do a tour of 2 days, and during that time the traveller can acclimatize himself to its height.
Due to the region’s climate, the ascent is not so difficult, but you should be fit to enjoy as much as possible the experience.
Paragliding and delta wing at the Colca valley
This experience allows you to overfly on the Andean sky, sharing the air possession with the majestic condor. The ascent is from the takeoff area, located at 4350 meters above the sea level. From there you can overfly the whole valley, till you get to the landing area, which can be located inside the valley or in areas close to the city. This activity is also made taking off from the heights of Misti and from Cotahuasi and Andagua.
Fishing in Camaná and some other places of Arequipa
This activity practice is very varied, considering that in Arequipa there are small coves to fish, rivers and lagoons where the experienced or beginner fisherman can enjoy it in a wonderful environment to fishing.
At the Camaná, Islay and Caravelí beaches you can camp near the places to fish where there are plentiful of soles, croakers and other kind of fishes very appreciated by local fishermen.
At the lagoons of the Salinas reserve and Aguada Blanca you can fish trout, but it’s only allowed seasonally.
Cavalcades in Colca and rural routes
One of the favourite activities for adults and children is the cavalcade, horse trips through the main routes of Arequipa’s region. The tour varies depending on the company that propose the tour. Some of them follow the riverbed of the Chili river and others go destination the Colca valley or the Cotahuasi canyon.
Cycling at the Lomas de Atiquipa
This adventurous destination is located at 258 mi (415 km) from the city and has an altitude of 345 meters above the sea level. This route is one of the most demanded by the adrenalin and extreme sports lovers, besides being a tour rich in nature and archaeological areas.
Rafting at the Chili river
The rafting is practiced in the challenging waters of the Chili river, although there are also adveture tours in the Colca and Cotahuasi rivers.
The white city has beautiful beaches on its littoral of white sand, turquoise water and excellent weather. The best thing of those beaches is that you can camp on them, living full the twilights and amazing sunrises in front of the Arequipa’s sea. The best beaches of Arequipa are the ones that can be found in the Islay, Camaná and Caravelí districts.
It’s a plate which contains salad of fresh cheese, field beans, onion, olives, tomato and large pepper, spicy and delicius!
It’s a soup with lamb meat, cow, dried mutton or mutton cured meat. It’s eaten warm, as to survive the cold winter nights.
Chupe de Camarones
It’s a shrimp soup with milk, eggs and “huacatay” (a green Peruvian spice), all of it seasoned with the marine touch of the Arequipa coastal area, just succulent!
It’s made of marinade pig meat with “chicha de jora” (a Peruvian maize drink) and spices, all cooked in a mud pot.
Queso helado (frozen cheese)
It’s an ice-cream that despite its name doesn’t include cheese in its making. It’s unknown the name’s origin, but you don’t care about that when tasting it. It’s made of milk, cinnamon, coconut and spices, an emblematic delight of the Arequipa desserts!
As the name tells, the plate is a large pepper which its spice part has been removed; it’s stuffed of ground meat, seasoned with spice pepper (“ají panca”), cheese, milk and other spices. It’s dressed with potato puree. It’s a national plate you can’t miss.
It’s a dish of boiled potatoes bathed with huacatay sauce (a peruvian spice), seasoned with fresh cheese, field beans, onions, olives and large pepper. It comes with egg slices.
Antojitos de Arequipa
Location: 125 A, General Morán
Hours: 24 hours per day
Price: 8 soles
Menu for lunch in a coffee shop of nice environment. They have a menu with salads, sandwiches and other more expensive plates.
Location: Plaza de Armas
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Price: 10-25 soles
Restaurant characterised by its traditional chimney, where you will taste specialties of the local cook in abundant portions.
Location: 211, San Francisco street
Hours: everyday from 12:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Price: around 20 soles
It’s a little but smart restaurant of new Andean cook, high variety and delicious flavor. Something curious: they served it in different plates, they are never the same ones.
La Nueva Palomino
Location: 122, Pasaje Leoncio Prado, Yanahuara
Hours: 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: an average of 30 soles
It’s well- known for being one of the most ancient cheap restaurants. They offer traditional plates to the demanding consumer since more than 100 years ago. The main plates are prepared in a traditional way, cooked on firewood and with rustic methods. Their specialty is the “rocoto relleno”, so if you want to taste it, just try!
Location: 109, Avenida Dolores JLB y Rivero
Price: 40 soles and up
This restaurant of home country atmosphere is one of the recognised restaurants of typical food, nor only for its unique flavor and menu’s variety, but also for its attention, very nice and attentive. Here you can eat with a great pisco or other typical Peruvian drink.
Location: 227, San Francisco street
Price: 50 soles and up
Paladar 1900 is an exlusive restaurant located in a beautiful restored mansion, with a front with details sculpted in block of stone, a white stone typical of Arequipa. You will find the best fusion food that combines tradition and Peruvian flavors with modern food tendences without forgetting the original Arequipa touch. The specialties of the house are: “Seco de cordero” (lamb) and “rocoto relleno”.
Location: 210, Santa Catalina
Hours: 12.00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Price: 24 to 67 soles
A renovated experience of high cooking is the Chicha’s proposal, a restaurant of the Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio. At the menu, you won’t only find the best of the traditional Arequipa’s food, but also the most popular dishes of the Peruvian and international cooking, with varieties and unique combinations, prepared with Arequipa’s ingredients of high quality. The restaurant also has a bar where you can taste the best Peruvian and international drinks, as the pisco sour or the finest wines. Don’t you miss the cuy pekinés (guinea pig), “chupe de camarón” (shrimp soup) and the “pescado en salsa de cauche” (fish in a sauce).
Hospedaje el Caminante Class
Location: 207, Av. Santa Catalina / elcaminanteclass.com
Price: 15 soles and up
Dormitory bedrooms from 15 soles per person, located next to the main square. It’s a special feature that you will enjoy appetizing breakfasts on their patio home style. As their slogan says: “You will feel at home, even if you are far from your house”.
Location: 204, Calle Alvarez Thomas / firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: 15 soles and up
Dormitory-style bedrooms with 6-9 beds, family atmosphere, and wifi. What else would you demand?
Location: 123, La Merced / losandesarequipa.com
Price: 38 soles and up
Double rooms, with breakfast included. Offers wifi and internet. There is an open kitchen, laundry, library, rooms for reading, TV.
Casa de Avila
Location: 116, Av. San Martín Vallecito / casadeavila.com
Price: 80 soles and up
The rooms have an access to the central garden of the hotel, which has chairs to sunbathe under the Arequipa’s sun and beach umbrellas to rest on the afternoon. The service includes double beds with breakfast included and wi-fi. Spanish classes are offered.
Location: 129, Puente Bolognesi / lostambos.com.pe
Double rooms with breakfast included. The hotel has wifi and free taxi service to the airport, and is located 160 feet (50 meters) from the Plaza de Armas.
La Posada del Puente
Location: 101, Av. Bolognesi esq. puente Grau / posadadelpuente.com
Nestled on the side of the river, this inn has water-front bungalows with cable TV and a mini bar. You´ll be able to enjoy the pool and tennis courts for no extra charge.
Carnival in Camaná
(February - March)
It’s one of the most popular and cheerful carnivals of the Peruvian central south; the locals go through the streets singing “huachanacos”, which are challenge folk songs, that test the creativity and slyness of the participatings at the moment of improvising the verses.
Virgen de Chapi
(May the 1st to the 10th)
This date the Purificación Virgin or Chapi Virgin is adored going through the Arequipa dessert in procession.
(May the 4th)
It’s one of the most important festivals of the province, where there are bullfights, dance competitions, and the locals organize visits to different tourist places of the region.
Anniversary of Arequipa city
During this month there are several celebrations that commemorate the Anniversary of Arequipa. We stand out the festival of the International Fair of Arequipa (located in the Cerro Juli) and the International Competition of the Misti Ascent. There are as well handicraft exhibitions in the Fundo El Fierro and the Festival de Danzas Festidanza. The main day is August the 15th, celebrated with a plunder who traverses the whole city.
Fiesta de Santa Úrsula
(October the 21st)
This popular and traditional festival is celebrated with the entrance of capos, burning of the “yareta” (a plant), pyrotechnic spectacles, masses and processions. There are also bullfights with Spanish novice bullfighter and cockfightings.
(December from the 7th to the 10th)
It’s a peculiar festival where, after December the 8th, men are dressed up with female costumes to dance with women in a unusual dance. You can use this festival to get to know the 16 churches of Baroque style of the Colca valley, enjoy the thermal waters of La Calera, immerge yourself on the beautiful farming floors of the second deepest canyon of the world and contemplate on the sky the always majestic and enigmatic Andean condor.
Having a drink in Arequipa
Location: 300, Calle Ugarte
It's one of the most visited bars in Arequipa by locals and foreigners, due to its large variety of drinks; in addition, they serve good food. The atention is one of the best, you won't feel as a stranger and you will get to know new people, that look for amusement.
Location: 107, Pasaje Central
It's an Irish Pub where you can see sports on TV, broadcasted in live. You will enjoy in an atmosphere of pop and rock, while you decide through the menu which drink will help you to start a cheerful night.
Bar Montreal Le Café Art
Ubicación: 210, Calle Ugarte
It’s a little but welcoming bar, perfect for the people who look for nights with friends, chatting or just having fun without being a party night. There are live bands, large variety of cocktails and foods of international flavor.
Going out in Arequipa
Ubicación: San Francisco 319 - B/ (054) 221904
You will discover a large variety of musical genres besides an atmosphere more than nice to know people who look for party. Have fun in one of the most visited discos of the white city.
Ubicación: Centro Comercial Real Plaza. Local 400/ Av. Ejercito y Arequipa
In Aura the LED screens and psychedelic lights with 4 bars will made a different night, besides have several rooms and a dance floor that will be your downfall.
Several are the cities of origin from where you can travel to Arequipa by bus: Chincha, Juliaca, Camaná, Desaguadero, Paracas, Cusco, Lima, Nazca, Puno e Ica.
The travel from Lima to Arequipa is 631 mi (1015 km) that takes about 16 hours to go through. The terrestrial transportation companies which cover the route are Oltursa, Excluciva, Tepsa, Movil Tours, Romeliza, Wari Palomino and Civa. The tickets cost from 50 to 150 soles, depending on the service chosen and the company. The buses leave from 7:30 a.m. to 9.45 p.m.