You are travelling in Peru, but you have only 1 day to visit Arequipa? No worries, it’s possible to discover part of the Ciudad Blanca (White City) in a short time.
Arequipa is the second biggest city in Peru. Its beauty and mild climate all year round (it’s located in a valley 2.344 metres above the sea level) are simply unmissable.
Here is our list of what to do and see in Arequipa in one day.
1. Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral
Arequipa is called Ciudad Blanca for its Silar-made buildings, a volcanic rock. Its fine Neo-Renaissance architecture finds its maximum expression in the beautiful Plaza de Armas, the main square.
The Misti volcano, guardian of the city together with the Cachani and Pichu Picchu mountains, is visible from here. In Plaza de Armas is also located the Cathedral, one of the most ancient religious buildings in Arequipa. The Cathedral was rebuilt in the 19th century following a devastating fire and earthquake.
2. Santuarios Andinos Museum – Juanita mummy
Whether or not you are into museums, during your stay in Arequipa you absolutely need to visit the Santuarios Andinos Museum and take a close look at the Juanita mummy. The museum is rich of information on the expeditions to the surrounding volcanos and glaciers. Juanita was sacrificed over 500 years ago on the Ampato mountain and her body is now in one of the Museum’s rooms.
In case of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or floods, the Incas used to offer the Apus (the spirits of the mountains) food, precious metals, ceramics as well as children. The chosen ones were given chicha – the sacred Inca corn beer – and hallucinogen plants. The children were then sacrificed during a complex ritual called Capac Cocha.
The entrance to the museum costs 20 soles and it’s open from Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 18:00 and on Sunday 9:00 – 15:00.
3. Barrio San Lazaro
The Barrio San Lazaro is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods in Arequipa. It’s worthy to get lost among its small alleys and squares to admire the beauty of the ancient wooden doors and balconies. And why not stopping at one of its small bars for a nice mate or coffee?
4. Mirador Yanahuara
As every viewpoint, the Mirador Yanahuara is in the upper part of the city, about 2 Km from the centre. Walking there can be a bit tiring but it’s totally worthy! From here you’ll have a wonderful view of the Misti volcano and, if open, you can visit the Church of San Juan de Yanahuara. The baroque facade of this small church, where elements of the Christian and native art are mixed together, is one of the most beautiful in Peru.
5. Ocopa Arequipeña
Arequipa is famous for its cuisine, you can’t visit it without trying one of its delicious dishes. We recommend the Ocopa, a simple but tasty dish. This recipe is all about the spicy sauce made with pepper, peanuts, huacatay (a local plant), milk, oil and salt. It’s usually served with boiled potatoes.
Arequipa is also the closest city to the Colca Canyon, one of the most beautiful hikes in Peru. Read our ultimate guide to the Colca Canyon trek.
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