Things to do in Arequipa

Things to do in Arequipa
Best Colonial Towns in Latin America
Arequipa, located south of Peru near the border with Bolivia, is along Trujillo Peru and Chiclayo Peru, one of the most popular holiday destinations in Peru.

If you are traveling to Arequipa for the first time, the city is within driving distance of the Colca Valley, where you can enjoy water rafting and explore the Colca Canyon, which is twice the size of the Arizona Grand Canyon in the United States Of America.

Things to do in Arequipa: Outdoor Activities

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca is one of the best places near Arequipa where you can explore Peru’s natural scenery and enjoy fun outdoor activities.

Hiking & Climbing

If you love hiking, the Salinas Reserve is home to the active volcano El Misti, which stands at over 2000 meters.

The El Misti (located 8 miles north east of Arequipa) features slopes that are quite steep so if you area an inexperienced hiker, you may want to hike along the base of the volcano. Otherwise, you can hike up the El Misti slopes to get marvelous views of the area around.

If you are an experienced climber, the El Misti's summit can be climbed in a day, although most people do camp along the way and make it a two day affair.

Animal Spotting

If you love flora and bird spotting, Salinas Reserve is home to the Salinas Lake, which features a variety of vegetation and wildlife such as Llamas, Flamingos and more.

The Salinas Reserve is also home to the beautiful plains of Pampa Canahuas where you can observe the Vicugna (type of camelid similar to llama).

Water Rafting

If you are traveling to Arequipa between spring and Christmas time, you can enjoy a river rafting trip in the Colca Valley, along the Colca River.

One of the best ways to do a water rafting trip, it’s with an organized tour, as it’ll include the rafting gear, itinerary and transportation.

However, if you have your own kayaks and prefer to venture out in the Colca Valley for a water rafting trip, the town of Huambo is where you need to head.

The drive from Arequipa to Huambo is a few hours (4 to 5 hours), and once you get to the town, you can hire out donkeys to travel the remainder of the trip, which would take a 5 hour hike to the Colca Valley

Also, if you are expert rafter, the Colca Canyon sections have rapid grades between 3 and 5 suitable for experienced rafters..

Colca Valley Trekking Tour

If you are traveling to Arequipa with the intention of exploring the majestic Colca Canyon, I would suggest an booking an organized trekking tour. In Arequipa, you can book a Colca Canyon trek with one of the many tour companies there.

A typical Colca Valley trekking tour can last between two and five days and can include a trek to the Colca Canyon, as well as a trek of the entire Colca Valley.

Beach Activities

If you are looking to enjoy some time at the beach, the beach town of Mollendo is only a couple of hours drive along the Carretera Interoceanica (highway 30).

Also, while in Mollendo you can visit the National Sanctuary of Mejía Lagoons, which is just a short drive from Mollendo beach town.

The Mejia Sanctuary is home to over 100 different species of birds that include local and migratory birds.

Things to do in Arequipa: Places of Interest

Monastery of Saint Catalina

If you are into architecture, the Monastery of Saint Catalina, located in the Historic Center district on Zela Street, is a great example of early 16th century colonial architecture.

You can tour the monastery for around $10 and see the many alleys and rooms such as a restored period kitchen.

Monastery of La Recoleta

The Monastery of La Recoleta, adjacent the Ministry of Education, is another monastery open for public viewing.

Along with the Monastery of Santa Catalina, La Recoleta offers you a glimpse into the missionary activities of nuns and monks during colonial times.

You can walk inside the rooms and explore the items there. In particular, the famed La Recoleta library is an attraction of its own as it features thousands of old books.

Arequipa Cathedral & Plaza De Armas

Visits to both Arequipa Cathedral & Plaza De Armas are two of the most popular things to do in Arequipa.

Plaza De Armas (Main Square) is actually surrounded by the cathedral of Arequipa and three beautiful granite portals.

The Main Square feature lovely tropical trees as well as a beautiful bronze fountain crowned by the statue of a soldier.

The Cathedral is free to explore, and once inside you can see an amazingly imposing altar with a beautifully carved pulpit as well as a Belgian organ.

Complex of San Francisco

The Complex of San Francisco, located nearby the Santa Catalina Monastery, features a small park, a 16th century church, a convent and the Cimientos de Fierro building, which houses a museum and a small market.

Andinos Sanctuary Museum

The Andinos Sanctuary Museum (Museo Santuarios Andinos), adjacent the Plaza De Armas (Main Square), is another popular cultural attraction in the city.

The museum features Inca mummified human remains found in Peru’s volcanoes such as the ones found in El Misti volcano.

Things to do in Arequipa: Shopping

Just as popular Panama Hats are in Cuenca Ecuador, Alpaca and Vicuña woolen and leather goods are the most popular items to shop for during a vacation to Arequipa Peru.

Shopping is, indeed, one of the top things to do in Arequipa and the Historic Center district is where you can find many of the high scale boutiques such as Patio del Ekeko‎, which one of the best places where you can find high quality Alpaca goods.

If you are looking to enjoy a nit of retail shopping, along Ejercito Avenue you can find Saga Falabella Shopping Mall, Real Plaza Arequipa and Cayma Shopping Center. All three offering plenty of department stores and food courts.

For local produce shopping, on San Camillo Street you can find Central Market (Mercado Central), where you can purchase fruits, vegetables and that kind of thing.

Another popular market, it’s Antiquilla Market located on Antiquilla Street.

Things to do in Arequipa: Nightlife & Entertainment

Since Arequipa is a University town, the nightlife in the city has a lively atmosphere
with plenty of nightclubs and live music venues.

The Historic Center district, and the area around Plaza De Armas, it’s where you can find the bulk of bars, restaurants and discos.

The Main Theater (Teatro Minicipal), adjacent Topy Top, is one of the most popular places to hang out for a pleasant night of entertainment.

The theater features nightly entertainment where you can catch local folkloric groups performing traditional Peruvian dancing.

Things to do in Arequipa: Events & Festivals

Arequipa International Guitar Festival

The Arequipa International Guitar Festival, held in August, is a popular event that brings together the best guitarist in Peru.

Great Parade of Arequipa

The Great Parade of Arequipa, held in August, is one of the most important and most popular events in Arequipa.

During this time, the city features hundreds of floats and many beautiful parades, which are reminiscent of the carnival in Sao Paulo Brazil.

See: Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Argentina 
Must do things in Peru
Things People do on a Vacation in Nicaragua 
Museums in Cuenca Ecuador
Popular Tourist Destinations in Brazil
South America top sights
Places to visit in Yucatan Mexico
Top places to visit in Belize
Places to visit in Quintana Roo
Interesting places to visit in Ecuador
Interesting places to visit in Paraguay
Places to visit in Rio de Janeiro state