Ahh Arequipa Peru, one of my favourite places in South America and maybe the prettiest city I’ve ever seen. Stepping into this city I knew I had to stay more than just a few days. In fact I ended up staying two weeks and doing some volunteer work in my hostel, Econunay. From eating amazing food to hiking the Colca Canyon here’s all the things to do in Arequipa. not so budget backpacker Scrimp v splurge guide - scrimp

1. Take a Free walking tour

As usual I started my time in Arequipa Peru with a walking tour of the city with Free Walking Tour Arequipa Peru. The 2-3 hour tour was very interesting and informative, and included chocolate tastings and pisco tastings. Winning! Amongst all of the tours I’ve done the Arequipa walking tour has to be amongst my favourite.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free + tip | TIME NEEDED: 3 hours | VERDICT: A great way to start your time and one of the top things to do in Arequipa.
2. Check out the view at Yanahuara
The Yanahuara view-point is about a 30 minute walk from the centre of town and gives you a lovely view over Arequipa. Head here just before sunset for a few gram worthy pics. Just make sure you’re down before dark as it can be a little dodgy.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: 2 hours| VERDICT: A nice way to watch the sunset

3. marvel at South Americas prettiest plaza

Arequipa’s bustling main plaza has to be the most beautiful I’ve seen in South America. Maybe even the most beautiful in the whole of Latin America! Surrounded by the Basilica, tall colonial buildings and lots of restaurants and cafes. It’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with a book or people watching. This should be one the first attractions in Arequipa you check out.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: As long as you like| VERDICT: There’s no way you won’t stumble upon it


4. Make some new friends at Alpaca World

Wanna hang out with a bunch of lamas and alpacas in the middle of the city? Then Alpaca World is the place for you! Along with a little museum and an overpriced gift shop. It’s definitely worth a pop in to learn a lil’ bit more about Peru’s favourite animal. And is definitely one of the most novel activities in Arequipa.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: 30 minutes | VERDICT: Check it out if you haven’t had enough alpaca face time. It’s one of the more novel activities in Arequipa. 
not so budget backpacker Scrimp v splurge guide - splurge

5. Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery

One of the top things to do in Arequipa Peru is the beautiful Santa Catalina Monastery which was built in the fifteen hundreds. While entry to the monastery will set you back about 40 sole ($12USD) which is more expensive than most tourist attractions in South America, it’s well worth it. You can also pay another 20 sole ($6USD) for an hour guided tour. That’s 20 sole whether you’re solo or in a group, so find some friends to go with you. Learning about the history of this place is pretty incredible, girls as young as 12 were sent here to be nuns by their families. And lived out the rest of their lives inside the walls of this mini city. On Tuesdays and Wednesday’s the monastery is open until 8pm so I’d recommend heading there at about 5pm and doing the tour just before sunset. Then once it gets dark and they light the candles and fires in the rooms do another walk around. It’s got a really spooky atmosphere by night.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $12USD+ | TIME NEEDED: 2 hours | VERDICT: Must-do

6. eat amazing food

The food in Arequipa is some of the best in South America. You can find food from your authentic Peruvian cuisine to burgers and craft beers of home. To be honest I was a little sick of the South American style of food after Bolivia so I stuck to more of the gringo haunts. My faves being the sushi at El Buda Profano, burgers from Chelawasi Public House and pizza from Las Gringas Arequipa. I actually liked the food so much I’ve written an entire article on The 8 Best Restaurants in Arequipa. Check it out!
QUICK FACTS: COST: Whatever you like | TIME NEEDED: As long as you like | VERDICT: Must-do

7. chill in cafes

While the food in Arequipa is delish the coffee is also just as good as you’d get in any Melbourne cafe. I spent many an afternoon blogging and sipping coffee at my fave cafe Huayruro and if you have time cafe hoping is a great way to chill out in Arequipa. You can check out all my favourite cafes in The 8 Best Restaurants in Arequipa.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Whatever you like | TIME NEEDED: As long as you like | VERDICT: Must-do

8. party at wild Rover

Ah the good old wild Rover. One of the major party hostels in Peru and Bolivia. I decided to avoid actually staying there in the hostel in Arequipa. But it’s definitely worth hitting up for a night on the town. The party goes until about midnight and then they always have a recommended bar or club to kick on to.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $20USD+ | TIME NEEDED: As long as you like | VERDICT: Fun if you’re in need of a night on the town

9. Hike the Colca Canyon

Hiking the Colca Canyon is one of the most fun things to do in Arequipa. The canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and can be accessed by tour. Or you can do it yourself for half the price. I spent 6 days down the canyon for less than $120USD and loved every minute. You can check out How to Hike the Colca Canyon Without a Guide for more details on how I did it.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $120 – $250USD | TIME NEEDED: 2+ days| VERDICT: Must-do if you’re a hiker.

the basics

WherE TO STAY IN AREQUIPA PERU: econunay is a Lovely hostel run by Eric and Manuel. it has a Cute little bar with activities each night. They Even take you to the market on Sunday’s and teach you how to make ceviche.
daily budget: around $20usd per day.
HOW TO GET TO AREQUIPA PERU: booking buses in Peru is really easy. Just head to the local bus station ask at a few of the desks and book the bus you want. The bus station in Arequipa is a little out of town so you can catch a cab there for about $5USD or book on redbus.com (the prices will be a little higher).

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Things To Do In Arequipa

16 Comments

  1. Fantastic post and great advice. I never heard of Arequipa before and I want to visit it now. The scenery in the first photo has got me wetting my lips 🙂

    • Emma Reply

      Thanks Danik,

      Yeah it’s such an awesome spot. Glad you like the article 🙂

      Cheers,

      Em

  2. A visit to Catalina monastery would be high in my list after the walking tour there.
    Cool place to holiday.

    • Emma Reply

      Yes such a cool place isn’t it. And while the monastery is a little more expensive than other attractions it’s definitely worth it!

  3. The Colca Canyon is something to take note of. It looks so beautiful in the photo! And the way you described Arequipa as the prettiest city you’ve ever seen makes me want to go back to South America to visit it! <3

    • Emma Reply

      It’s such a lovely place. Definitely worth adding to your bucket list!

  4. I was just in Arequipa a few months ago. It is such a cool city, and so indicative of the urban life in Peru. The volcano that towers of the city is such an impressive sight.

  5. Love the city with the mountain standing tall and proud behind, beautiful! I can understand why you got sidetracked

    • Emma Reply

      Haha totally. Sometimes you do just need to settle down in one place for a while 🙂

  6. Great tips on Arequipa. Sounds like a really fun place to explore. I think I would avoid staying at the party hostel, but I wouldn’t mind doing some partying there myself! It’s great that Econunay provides market tours and ceviche-making lessons. A nice perk for a $20/nt hostel!

    • Emma Reply

      Econunay is an awesome hostel. I’d definitely recommend if you end up in Arequipa.

  7. I love your breakdown of Scrimp + Splurge. I totally agree that if you miss our on all of the amazing things in a destination, it doesn’t make any sense to go to an epic place and just sit in a hostel because you can’t afford to actually go anywhere. Hiking Colca Canyon would be a must for me as well! Worth the splurge.

    • Emma Reply

      Thanks Paige! Yes it’s too true. You’ll probably only be there once in your life and you don’t want to have any regrets!

  8. I loved Arequipa, I only stayed a couple of days though, I’d like to go back & eat more of the food & go to Alpaca World!! Colca Canyon was awesome, although my knees will never be the same again!

    • Emma Reply

      Haha my knees were actually ok at the end of Colca. However, we did spend 2 days lying by the pool before we made the trip back up. Which I think was quite helpful!

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