The presence of humans in the Region of Arequipa can be traced back to at least 9000 years ago. An important civilization didn't exist in Arequipa until the arrival of the Incas in the 1300s when Inca Mayta Capac arrived in the valley. Ancient Arequipa took on more importance during the Colonial Period and once the Spaniards founded the city of Arequipa in 1540. The capital of the region is an attractive city with a beautiful downtown, which was added to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 2000. Its long coast line and high Andean peaks, valleys, and volcanoes offer an ample combination of activities to all types of travelers. The Valley of Arequipa, usually sunny during the day and cold at night, must be visited by bird watchers, history and anthropology lovers, adventure seekers, and travelers looking for good food.

In the early l300s, when Inca Mayta Capac visited the Arequipa Valley and allowed his subjects to colonize it, they settled the towns Yanahuara, Cayma, and Tiabaya, among others. This area doesn't have important Inca buildings, but the ancient Andean terraces can be observed beside the Chili River. The views of the terraces along with those of the Chili River, and the Misti and Chachani Volcanoes are quite impressive. In the ColcaValley, it is possible to observe a few Inca buildings at the Uyo Uyo site near Yanque Town.

When the Spaniards arrived in what is now the City of Arequipa, it was decided that Arequipa would be an important point of connection between the coast and Cusco. Therefore, Arequipa was founded on August 15, 1540 by Don Garcí Manuel de Carbajal. The Spaniards made Arequipa the second most important city of Peru, building several Colonial-style buildings using "El Sillar," which is a volcanic stone. The majority of downtown Arequipa has been built with this whitish stone, giving the city a beautiful look and resulting in its being added to World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 2000. Several hotels offer unique experiences in downtown Arequipa.





The Region of Arequipa is located south of lca in the southwestern part of the country. Arequipa is a diverse region with an amazing combination of ecological steps. The Pacific Ocean, bordering Arequipa, has a rich ecosystem with a great variety of seafood. Several rivers originate in the high mountains of Arequipa and give life to several valleys with different species of flora and fauna. Arequipa offers a great variety of natural attractions.

More info about visiting Arequipa and getting around can be found here.





Finally, the Region of Arequipa has several climates. The coast has an arid climate with scarce precipitation throughout the year, being pretty warm and sunny during the summer and semi-warm, humid, and cloudy during the rest of the year. The Provinces of Arequipa, Caraveli, and Aplao, located between l000 and 2500 meters above sea level, are semi-dry or dry during the winter and autumn and temperate and humid during  the spring and summer, with precipitation during the summer months (January, February, and March). Above the 2500 m.a.s.l, it is dry and cold during the autumn, winter, and spring; and during the summer months it is humid with heavy rain. The city of Arequipa oscillates between 5ºC and 25ºC from April to December with June, July and August as the coldest months. (The summer months are warmer at night by 3 or 4 degrees.) In the Province of Caylloma, where the Colca Canyon is located, temperatures can be below OºC and can reach 20ºC.





Nowadays, Arequipa is still the second most important city of Peru as well as a popular tourist destination for Peruvians and foreign travelers, offering many options such as interesting historical sites, beautiful natural spots, opportunities for bird watching, white water rafting, mountain biking, breathtaking landscapes, and a delicious regional cuisine. Arequipa city and Colca Canyon are the most popular tourist destinations and several tours are available to get the best of it. Arequipa offers options for conventional travelers and adventurers. Arequipa can also offer an interesting nightlife with several bars located in Colonial sites. 


Colca Canyon, Chivay, Arequipa Attractions - My Peru Guide
Vicunas at Pampa Canahuas, Arequipa Travel & Tours - My Peru Guide
Arequipa City Travel & Tours - My Peru Guide
Monastery of Santa Catalina, Arequipa Attractions - My Peru Guide
Sumbay Caves, Arequipa Attractions - My Peru Guide
Colca Canyon, Arequipa Travel & Tours - My Peru Guide





This is an interesting archaeological site located near the small town of Sumbay at only one hour and a half from the city of Arequipa. The caves can be found in a remote area of the Andes and there are around 500 ancient paitings in their walls (8000 years old). The deviation to the Sumbay Caves is on the way to the Colca Canyon and it is important to know that from Arequipa city to the deviation the road is paved, but from this point to the Sumbay Caves parking spot is not and the road is in bad conditions.  

How to get there: From Arequipa City to the deviation you will need private transportation. From the deviation to the Sumbay Caves travelers can hike for about 4 hours or continue with private transportation (4x4 are highly recommended). Private tours are available, but it is very unlikely to find a shared tour. 




Toro Muerto is located next to a beatiful valley at 2 hours and a half from the city of Arequipa. There are about 5000 ancient petroglyphs carved in volcanic stones by the Wari and Collaguas people. The road to Toro Muerto is paved and usually a full day is needed to visit this site. A visit to Toro Muerto can be combined with a visit to the local vineyards to learn about the process of making Pisco.

How to get there: Public and private transportation can be arranged from the city of Arequipa to get to the town of Corire (2 hours and a half by car and about 3 hours and a half by bus). From there taxis can be arranged to get to the actual site in about 10 - 15 minutes. Tours are available to visit this attraction. Private and shared tours are available but it can be challenging to find daily departures for this tour.  





The National Sanctuary of Mejia Lagoons has 79 species of endemic birds and along the year there are 80 other species of migratory birds (most of them visible from December to March.) This is quite a relaxing place to enjoy nature right next to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The road is in great conditions and on the way back to Arequipa, a stop in the town of Mollendo should be scheduled to enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant.  

How to get there: Public and private transportation can be arranged from the city of Arequipa to get to the town of Mejia (2 hours and a half by car and about 3 hours and a half by bus). From there taxis can be arranged to get to the actual site in about 5 minutes or by foot in about 20 minutes. Daily departures for shared tours aren't available to visit this attraction; therefore, it is better to arrange a private tour or go own your own.  




The Colca Canyon is the most popular attraction in Arequipa and its impressive landscape is the main reason behind its popularity. The skies of this beautiful landscape is dominated by the Andean Condor (the biggest flying bird in the world.) The Colca Canyon offers several activities such as biking, rafting, mountain climbing, hiking to the San Galle Oasis and many traditional Andean towns, and relaxing natural hot springs.  

How to get there: Public and private transportation can be arranged from the city of Arequipa to get to the town of Chivay (3 hours and a half by car and about 4 hours and a half by bus). From there taxis or public transportation can be arranged to get to Yanque, Maca, Pinchollo, the Condor Cross, or Cabanaconde. Daily departures for shared tours are available to visit this attraction and these tours usually take 2 days. There is a little known route via El Pedregal. This route offers breathtaking landscapes, but a third of the journey is a dirty road and a 4x4 vehicle is needed to get safely to the canyon from Arequipa.





Downtown Arequipa is one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO due to its unique architecture made out of a withish volcanic stone known by locals as "Sillar." A walk around its colonial buildings and its famous Santa Catalina Monastery can be combined with a drink at a restaurant, around the main square, to enjoy a colorful sunset with the view of three volcanoes.

Places to visit in downtown: 

  • The Cathedral of Arequipa: The Cathedral has an interesting museum with several pieces of art. After visiting the Cathedral and the museum, travelers are allowed to access its towers to observe its ancient bells and a great view of the city.
  • "La Compañía de Jesús" Church and its cloisters: This is one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in town. The walls of the cloisters and church have been beautifully carved. 
  • Santa Catalina Monastery: This is a small citadel located in the middle of downtown Arequipa where nuns spent their lives without leaving its walls. Nowadays, travelers are able to visit this intriguing place.
  • The Andean Sanctuary Museum: This museum holds the remains of Inca mummies found in the mountains of Arequipa. Juanita is preserved in perfect conditions and it is the main attraction of the museum.
  • San Agustin University MuseumThis museum offers an interesting collection of ancient remains found in the region of Arequipa by students and professors of the San Agustin University.
  • La Casa del Moral: This site is a great example of the transition between the Colonial times and the republic. This house offers several rooms with unique antiques and pieces or art.
  • San Lazaro: This is the most traditional neighborhood in Arequipa and its houses, parks, and streets maintain the design and look of the Colonial times. This is a great place to go back in time.
  • Grau Bridge and Yanahuara: The Chili River divides Arequipa downtown from Yanahuara district, and the Grau bridge connects these two districts. The bridge can be reached in 15 minute by foot from the main square (the view of the Chilina valley and El Misti volcano is breathtaking. Yanahuara is a beutiful district with the feeling of a traditional town where traditional restau




Arequipa offers an immense variety of traditional dishes. The marketplace of San Camilo is the most important market in downtown Arequipa and it receives produce from all over Peru. After learning about endemic fruit, vegetables, grains, and others travelers can take part in a cooking class to learn how to make the most delicious local dishes.  

How to get there: San Camilo is located at only 4 blocks from the main square of Arequipa and travelers can learn about more about Peru's resources while enjoying a fruit juice. Cooking classes usually include a visit to the San Camilo marketplace.



Food in Arequipa combines ancient techniques used by native Peruvians with the ones brought by the Spaniards after the conquest of Peru. This rich heritage has given place to dozens of traditional dishes which are still prepared and cooked in traditrional restaurants known by locals as "Picanterias". Travelers visiting Arequipa should noty leave town before enjoying the environment of these restaurants along with their delicious dishes.

Picanterias in Arequipa:

  • La Lucila: Located in the district of Sachaca at street Grau 147. This picanteria has been declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the Peruvian government.
  • La Nueva Palomino: Located in the district of Yanahuara at street Leoncio Prado 122. Great service in a comfortable environment with local live music.
  • La Benita: Located in the district of Characato at the main square and at the cloisters of "La Compañía de Jesús" in downtown Arequipa. Benita started the first restaurant 50 years ago and she is still the main cook.
  • La Mundial: Located in downtown Arequipa at street Lucas Poblete 211. Traditional environment with a great cuisine.
  • La Capitana: Located in the district of Cayma at Street Los Arces 209. Popular among locals with great prices. Usually packed around lunch time.



The region of Arequipa is located in a volcanic land and the city of Arequipa is surrounded by 3 volcanoes (2 of which are extint.) The eruptions of these volcanoes created quarries of a volcanic stone known by locals as "sillar." This volcanic stone has been used by locals for centuries to build downtown Arequipa giving the city a unique look. The quarries are located in the skirts of the town and travelers are allowed to visit them during day time.  

How to get there: Public and private transportation can be arranged to visit the quaries, but it is highly recommended to hire private transportation or a tour operator to get there. The quaries are surrounded by poor villages and it is not safe to walk alone in the area. The quarries are located about 40 minutes away from downtown Arequipa at only 13.5 kilometers.



The city of Arequipa is divided by the Chili river which gives life to the Chilina valley where Andean terraces can be observed all over the place. From April to December local tour operators offer rafting tours to enjoy a fun and safe adventure with class II and III rapids.  

How to get there: Public and private transportation can be arranged to visit the Chilina valley as well as the Chili river when starting from downtown Arequipa. For rafting tours you must contact a local tour operator.



The city of Arequipa and surrounding districts offer several options to participate in a mountain biking tour. One of the most popular options is the ride from the slopes of the Chachani volcano to the bottom of the Chilina valley. This is a fun adventure which is only available with a few tour operators.  



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