In the deep south of Peru and just one-tenth the size of Lima, Arequipa doesn’t stand out on a map at first glance. However, this colonial town could easily claim the award for Peru’s most beautiful city; surrounded by volcanos and steeped in a rich history, it offers a wealth of experiences for travelers who give it a chance!
Arequipa was first settled by the Aymaras and later conquered by the Incas in the 15th century. The modern city was founded in 1540 by Agric Manuel de Carvajal and it finally gained independence from Spain in 1821. In 2000, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is commonly considered the second most beautiful city in Peru after Cusco.
The climate is Arequipa is comfortable and stable year round, with temperatures between 48F/8C and 73F/23C. The rainy season is between January and March with the rest of the year seeing little precipitation. We recommend visiting anytime between April and December.
Take a day trip from Arequipa to see this impressive canyon which is famed as one of the world’s deepest. It is also the natural habitat of the Andean Condor and offers fantastic birdwatching opportunities.
Arequipa is surrounded by volcanos and the most well-known is El Misti at 5,822 m (19,101 ft) above sea level (El Misti is Quechua for ‘The Gentleman’!). It’s now considered to be dormant but the most recent eruption took place in 1985. It’s possible to take a guided trek to the summit which takes two days but will reward you with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscapes.
Arequipa City Tour
While Arequipa is an excellent base to discover nearby natural wonders, make sure you spend time exploring the city and its fascinating history. As well as beautiful colonial architecture and the usual tourist landmarks, highlights include:
Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.
The overland journey from Lima is long but can be done in a 15 hour and 30-minute bus ride. The cost is between $14 – $30 USD one-way.