Arequipa, often known as La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City") by the locals, is Peru's second-largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Arequipa, located in the country's southern area, attracts visitors with its unique mix of colonial architecture, spectacular landscapes, and rich history. Here's what visitors to Arequipa should know:

An Overview of Arequipa

  • Location: Located in southern Peru, between the Andes and the coast.
  • The elevation is approximately 2,335 meters (7,661 feet). 
  • Language: Although many in the tourism business know English, Spanish is the major language spoken here.
  • The currency in use is the Peruvian Sol (PEN).

Historical & Cultural Significance

Arequipa's history and cultural significance are emphasized by its exquisite colonial-era churches, houses, and monasteries built mostly of Sillar (white volcanic rock), earning it the nickname "The White City."

Things to Do

  • Santa Catalina Monastery: A vast convent that functions as a "city within a city" with colorfully painted walls and an intriguing history. }
  • The Plaza de Armas in Arequipa is said to be one of the most beautiful in Peru, including colonial monuments such as Arequipa Cathedral.
  • Colca Canyon: Located just outside of town, one of the world's deepest canyons allows tourists to get up close and personal with Andean Condors.
  • Museo Santuarios Andinos: The preserved body of "Juanita," an Inca ice maiden sacrificed centuries ago, was discovered on the nearby Ampato volcano.
  • San Camilo Market: This colorful neighborhood market sells fresh vegetables, cheeses, local foods, and much more.
  • Discover the alpaca wool production process and engage with these friendly creatures at Mundo Alpaca.

Culinary Highlights

  • Rocoto Relleno: A spicy red pepper filled with ground meat or pig, cheese, and other ingredients.
  • Chupe de Camarones: A hearty shrimp soup made with milk, eggs, and spices.
  • Queso Helado: Despite its name, which translates as "ice cheese," this delightful classic ice cream dish can be found all across Arequipa. 


Arequipa has an ideal semi-arid and moderate climate; days are sunny and warm, but evenings can bring colder temperatures.


  • Rodriguez Ballon International Airport: This airport serves internal flights as well as a few international connections. Buses connect Arequipa to major cities and tourism destinations throughout Peru.
  • Taxis and municipal buses are the main modes of transportation in Arequipa, being the city's primary routes of transportation. 

When renting a cab, always validate its authenticity with authorities before deciding on a fare.


Arequipa is typically safe, however, it's always a good idea to take precautions for your personal safety. In crowded areas and when walking alone after dark, be mindful of your surroundings.

Destinations Nearby

  • Valley of the Volcanoes: For a different destination with distinctive volcanic formations and small craters, go to Valley of the Volcanoes.
  • El Misti: Trekking chances abound on this landmark volcano above Arequipa. Travel Advice from me:

Travel Tips

Because of its altitude, some visitors may encounter moderate altitude-related symptoms upon arrival. Stay hydrated and take it easy when you arrive; also, sunscreen should always be used when outdoors because UV radiation is intense at higher elevations.

When planning hikes or trips to Colca Canyon, consult with local guides or tours to ensure a great and enriching experience.

From its colonial charm, natural beauty, and dynamic local culture, to its ancient streets, culinary pleasures, and exploring its spectacular natural surroundings, Arequipa provides guests with an unforgettable experience.