Travel Guide: Arequipa
Arequipa is a beautiful colonial-era city. Framed by three volcanoes, it’s filled with baroque buildings built by the Spanish and constructed from sillar (white volcanic stone). The historic center has an elegant appearance and is anchored by the Plaza de Armas (the most beautiful square in Peru) and a 17th century cathedral. We had an amazing weekend exploring the historic center and even squeezed in white water rafting on Rio Chili River. The historic center is seriously charming and unique with many of the restaurants, bars and shops residing within this iconic baroque buildings. Our favourite restaurants that you can’t miss are Mumis and Monjas 13.
Food & Drink
1 MUMIS • We got a hot tip from a Cusco local that Mumis was the best restaurant in town. Located in one of the beautiful UNESCO listed "white houses", the restaurant is an ode to the owners family. The restaurant walls are covered with pictures of the owner's family. Freshly made pastas cooked with traditional family recipes that have been passed down for generations. The drink list is also extensive, and we tried cocktails and wine that paired perfectly with our meals. The restaurant and ambiance was so good we had dinner here twice!
2 13 MONJAS • This was another standout restaurant that was buzzing at all hours of the day. As with most of the restaurants in Arequipa, 13 MONJAS is located in one of the "white houses" in the old town. The space has an artistic and modern vibe, opening up to a nice courtyard in the back. All the pizza dough and pasta is made in house and fresh to order. We tried two pizzas and a pasta, and it could rival Italy it was so delicious!
3 Zig Zag • "Between the Alps and Andes" is how Zig Zag describes the food at it's restaurant. Tucked away in a "white house", the space is cozy and rustic, like a cottage on a ski mountain. The menu is a mix of traditional Peruvian dishes and Alps classic. The Fondue Alpandina, a mixture of Alpine and Andean cheeses, is a must!
1 The Cardinal's Bar at MUMIS • Located within the MUMIS space, The Cardinal's Bar is serving up quality cocktails. The extensive cocktail list is the perfect balance between classic and contemporary. Many of the cocktails are made with local ingredients such as herbs, spices and fruits. We tried the Captain, Mai-Tai and The Friar which were also delicious!
2 Nowhere • Nowhere is a new(ish) local craft brewery in Arequipa. The beer selection is great with a lot of variety between sours, stouts, lager and IPA's. We would also recommend trying their house-made kombucha and ginger ale! The interior design on main floor is beautiful, but rooftop seating upstairs is even better. The vibe and the view are amazing on a sunny day!
3 Museo de Pisco • Located on one of favourite streets in Arequipa, Museo de Pisco is right on the corner with a spiral staircase, long bar and upscale design.
1 Fundo El Fierro • Fundo El Fierro market is located in a the square of a beautiful 19th century building, which was a former school for students and a former prison. The market sells handicrafts such as textiles, embroidery, leather work, ceramics, silverware, seeds, and carpets among others great finds!
2 Mercado San Camilo • San Camilo Market is the most popular market in the city because of its proximity to the Plaza De Armas. One of the most authentic markets in Arequipa, you’ll find underground food courts, butchers, local spices, and fruit stalls, as well as seafood.
3 Mercado Senor de Los Milagros • The name of this market, the Mercado Senor De Los Milagros, means “Lord of Miracles Market.” Although it’s quite far outside the centre of the city, if you’d like to visit somewhere very authentic then this is the market for you!
Other Food & Drink
Other Food • Dimas Restaurante, La Trattoria del Monasterio, El Fuego De San Antonio, Espacio Lagom, Victoria - Picantería democrática,
Other Drink • Pataccala Bar, Sunset Rooftop Bar, Chelawasi Public House, El Infusionista
Coffee Shops • Oso café, República Café, Masamama Café, Lautrec Cafe, Ristretto, Puku Puku, Kafi Wasi Coffee House
Activities & Attractions
1 Colca Canyon Trek • Based 130+ miles outside of the beautiful city of Arequipa, the Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest canyon, and twice as deep as America’s Grand Canyon. The canyon is home to some of Peru’s most captivating scenery and one of the best viewing points for South America’s most famous bird - the condor. Trekking tours can range from two days to four or five days, depending on how adventurous you are!
2 Rafting Río Chili • This was a three hour experience with approximately an hour of rafting. The Rio Chili River is located just outside of the city centre and has class one to class four rapids, making for a fun experience on the water! This was also the perfect activity to mix into our day exploring the city.
3 Monasterio de Santa Catalina • Considered a masterpiece of colonial architecture, this monastery is a large complex of rooms, picturesque plazas, ornate fountains and a maze of narrow, cobblestone streets.
Other Attractions (Sites, Parks, etc.)
Sites • Historic Centre of Arequipa (UNESCO-listed), Basilica Cathedral
Day trips • Hike up El Misti, Salinas Salt Lagoon in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, a trip to Campiña (countryside), Toro Muerto
Galleries/Museums • Museo Santuarios Andinos, Museo de la Catedral de Arequipa, Museo De Arte Virreinal, Museo La Recoleta
Parks • Plaza de Armas Arequipa
Historic Centre of Arequipa or the "White City" (UNESCO-listed)
Airbnb & Hotels
H Vita Hoteles Arequipa • Vita Hoteles is in a very central location in the heart of the Historic district. With clean rooms, a rooftop terrace and amazing breakfasts (in their ground floor restaurant), this is a good hotel for a weekend getaway!
H Majestad Hotel Boutique • Set in a charming colonial-style building with Spanish galleries, Majestad Boutique Hotel is a great hotel choice within walking distance to the main square. The hotel features courtyards with stone fountains, small passageways, and and antique floor tiles.
H Casa Andina Premium Arequipa • Casa Andina Premium Arequipa is located in the centre of the White City, in a unique1 8th-century colonial mansion made of volcanic stone. The rooms are traditionally decorated and guests can enjoy views of Arequipa Cathedral and El Misti Volcano on the fourth floor sun terrace.