Watched Over by Massive Volcanoes and Snow-capped Peaks

Arequipa is most commonly known as "The White City” for its beautiful White Sillar baroque architecture. It’s historic city centre spans 332 hectares which includes one of Peru's most picturesque plazas and the 400 year old Santa Catalina Monastery. The city’s history, architecture, museums and natural scenery make Arequipa a national and international tourist destination. It is the third most visited city in Peru, after Lima and Cuzco and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2000.

The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

The Basilica Cathedral

The Basilica de Arequipa is a stunning testament to the city’s architecture. This imposing cathedral houses intricate baroque statues, cedar altars, and purportedly the largest pipe organ in South America.

The Santa Catalina Convent

Santa Catalina Convent

A city unto itself, visitors get a peek into what life was like in this historic monastery. Built in 1580 and eventually expanded to include cloisters, plazas and streets, this walled citadel once housed nearly 400 nuns.

San Francisco Plaza, Church and Monastery

San Francisco Monastery

San Francisco was originally built in 1569. Today it includes a square, two churches and a convent, with a library and a museum of colonial art. The main church has a beautiful baroque pulpit and altar of wrought silver.

What to do in the surrounding area, Colca and Cotahuasi

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An Impressive Landscape of Smouldering Volcanoes, Deep Canyons & Vast Salt Flats

There are plenty of exciting outdoor activities available in and around Arequipa, making it an ideal starting point for adventure travellers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. In addition to hiking and trekking Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons, there are accessible options for mountaineering, white water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing and Indoor climbing. There are also several near by parks and protected areas, including the Cotahuasi reserve, Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, Lagoons de Mejía National Sanctuary and Sumbay Cave paintings.

The main attraction is the picturesque Colca Canyon, one of the worlds deepest canyons Colca was formed by an enormous geological fault between two massive volcanoes, Coropuna at 6,425 metres and Ampato at 6,288 metres. Colca is an incredibly beautiful and rugged canyon land, best known for days of dry land trekking and Cruz del Condor, one of the best places in the Andes to see the majestic Andean condor.

If you’re looking for a bit more adventure or an incredible view of southern Peru, there are several high altitude climbs near Arequipa. Some remote and seldom climbed, others easily accessible. Two of the easiest and most accessible are El Misti at 5,830 metres and Chachani at 6,057 metres. Neither are technical climbs and can be accomplished by well-acclimated, non climbers in one to three days.

Arequipa also has great day trips. Try white water rafting the Chili River, downhill volcano biking on Chachani or an afternoon of indoor climbing. If you’re looking for something more serene and picturesque, try one of the nearby reserves or protected areas. Salinas and Aguada Blanca or Lagoons de Mejía National Sanctuary or the Sumbay cave paintings.

Trekking Colca Canyon's North side just under Cosñinhua.

Trekking & Hiking

Arequipa is a great year around base for trekking and hiking. Including Colca, the Cotahuasi reserve, Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, Lagoons de Mejía National Sanctuary and Sumbay Cave paintings.

Rafting the Rio Chili through Reserva Ecologica de Chilina.

White Water Rafting

The scenic Rio Chili is a white water experience spanning seven kilometres of waves, drops and swift, clear currents. It’s an action packed trip for anyone interested in a wet and wild, adrenalin pumped, rafting adventure.

Climbing Volcán Chachani on the Eastern, “La Azufrera” route.

Volcano Climbing

There is something magical about volcanoes, they embody an awe-inspiring power. Climbing one of Peru’s volcanos holds a special satisfaction, you’re not only in awe of the 360˚ view, but at a chilling look inside the mountain.

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