Arequipa Things to Do

  • Santa Catalina Monastery
    Santa Catalina Monastery
    by kiwigal_1
  • Arequipa market
    Arequipa market
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  • Iglesia Santa Marta, Arequipa
    Iglesia Santa Marta, Arequipa
    by kiwigal_1

Most Recent Things to Do in Arequipa

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    Free Walking Tour

    by hawkhead Updated Feb 26, 2014

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    This is the same outfit that run tours in Cusco and Miraflores. A complete waste of time. The tour was conducted at break neck speed, nothing we passed was explained. I ended the 3 hours knowing absolutely nothing more about Arequipa than I had when I arrived. The guide let us know right at the beginning that while the tour was free, tips were expected. At the end, she again let us know that not only was a tip expected but a generous one at that - she was disappointed with our contribution I have no doubt! We did an awful lot of walking, learning nothing relevant, visited Alpaca Mundo, three restaurants for 'tasters' which was really advertising, plus a similar visit to a chocolate place. I expected from the tour to learn about Arequipa and its history. Instead we received a fast paced jog between points, one of which was to cross the Grau Bridge to learn that from this point we could catch a bus to the nearest cinema. What a disappointing encounter and waste of time.

    Outline itinerary was: meet at Plaza San Francisco (not a word about the church or adjacent buildings), a quick zip to San Lazarus (again no info except re stones used for building), then on to a San lazarus Square (no name, no info) for a view of volcano which was shrouded in mist, then a gallop to Alpaca World (walking alongside a ring road with very heavy traffic), again the ring road path to San lazarus church (zilch info), more ring to place where all the buses meet, over the bridge (I found out later it is Grau bridge - no info about river, statue or visible church), stood at other side while told the combi spot we had just past was place to catch bus to cinemas, back across the bridge, long trudge to chocolate place, then fairly long and uninformative trudges to three restaurants. Imagine a green-coated leader, zipping along, trailing behind a group of people with virtually no contact between leader and group. Did not wait for the slower people to catch up either. Be warned! Costs nothing, delivers nothing - you get what you pay for!

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    Colca Canyon Tour

    by Orchid Written Jun 18, 2013
    Stone cairns at the high point
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    Called the 2nd deepest canyon in the world, the Colca Canyon, a trip from Arequipa to this 'valley of Wonders' is not to be missed if you have time whilst in Peru.

    The valley is located about 160 km from Arequipa, on generally good sealed roads (at least as far as Chivay and Yanque), with dusty unsealed roads of a fair standard connecting these towns to the others in the valley.

    We chose a two day/one night tour, with Giardino Tours (there are many other companies offering trips). The journey allows a look at the wildlife on the altiplano between Arequipa and Chivay (vicuna, alpaca and llamas and even a chance of spotting the elusive vizcacha), as the high pass at nearly 5000m is crossed. This presents a good opportunity for acclimatization to the altitude, if you are later continuing to Cusco.

    Below the central town of Chivay the land is intensively cultivated in pre-inca terraces, whilst at higher altitudes, livestock are grazed.

    Key attractions for tourists are the local food and culture of the Quechua speaking natives, hikes and gentler rambles through the countryside, a soak in one of the hot springs dotted through the valley (La Calera, near Chivay is the one we visited) and of course the chance to see condors wheeling above the canyon at Cruz del Condor viewpoint,

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    • Photography

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    Monastery of Sta Theresa

    by Orchid Updated Jun 16, 2013

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    Convent Cloister gardens
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    The Carmelite Convent of Santa Theresa provides a fascinating contrast to the much better known Santa Catalina convent. This convent has only been open to the public in recent years (the opening in response to the lack of funds for restoration following damage incurred during the earthquake of June 2001), and includes a well set out museum devoted to the decorative arts used by the cloistered sisters in the process of creating their home over the past 400 years.

    The now public areas of the convent contain a rich array of artifacts - many religious relics and opulent hosts for the sacrament, all purchased with the dowry presented by the family of the postulant a a condition of her entry to the convent. The quarters of the sisters were rather less grand.

    The tour requires that one in accompanied by a guide, an annoyance in this instance ameliorated by the good explanation of the lives of women who entered the closed orders. Exceptionally, these convents still have some 21 residents who remain isolated in the convent, with little or no contact with the exterior world.

    Entry was 10 sols in 2008. I tip is appreciated by the guides.

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    Drop in on a Ice Maiden

    by Orchid Written Jun 13, 2013
    Entrance to Museum
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    Momia Juanita* (aka the Inca Ice Maiden* or the Lady of Ampato*) is the body of an Inca girl, sacrificed to the gods some 550 years ago.

    Since her discovery by anthropologist John Reinhardt and his climbing partner Miguel Zárate, high on Ampato in 1995, many other near perfectly preserved frozen sacrifices have been discovered in the mountains of Peru.

    'Juanita' is now on display at the Catholic University's Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa since her discovery (when she is not on tour), along with many artifacts and offerings found with her at the burial site. Also displayed are 3 other sacrifices found later on the same mountain.

    The tour (and you must be accompanied by a guide) lasts about an hour, costs 15 sols (plus your choice of gratuity to the guide). There are no photographs allowed. Opening hours are 9am to 6pm each day (3pm on Sundays)

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  • Orchid's Profile Photo

    Get thee to a nunnery! (Santa Catalina Monastery)

    by Orchid Written Jun 13, 2013

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    Red walls and an azure sky
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    If one had to choose a place to withdraw from the world to contemplate your imaginary friend Jehovah, you could hardly pick a better place the the Santa Catalina Monastery.

    This monastery was a nunnery for the 2nd and 3rd daughters of upper class Spanish families when established over 500 years ago. It was traditional at the time that each family would provide a son or daughter to the service of the church. These particular daughters it appears, were entering anything but a life of poverty, for their families contributed generous dowries, estimated to be valued at over $100,000 in today's currency. Along with the dowry, the nuns also brought servants and fine furniture and artifacts. They were able to enjoy a quiet life among the vibrantly painted alleyways and cloisters of the complex, lounging under the orange trees and eating in the huge refectories, on meals provided by their servants before returning to their spacious and elegantly furnished cells for a spot of prayer before bedtime.

    When the monastery was reformed in the 19th century, this particular lurk came to an end, when the authorities of Rome decided that they were the rightful owners of the loot provided by the dowries and duly stole the lot back to the Vatican. The monastery fell on harder times, and after being severely damaged in earthquakes during the 1960s, come into public hands for restoration and appreciation.

    Most of the huge complex is open to the public, although about 20 nuns still reside in the northern corner, near the small garden area.

    It is open from 9am to 5pm, with longer hours in some seasons. The admission is about $10 (35 sols)

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    Museo Santuarios Andinos

    by richiecdisc Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Juanita

    This museum was a lot more interesting than I imagined. Though most put this ahead of even the Convent, I would have to say it lived up to all its hype. You have to do a guided tour but it's well done with guides of many languages available. The story they weave is a fascinating one of the rituals of the Incas, especially of their sacrifices to the volcanoes. Of course, the finale is "Juanita," a near perfectly preserved mummy of a young girl that was "chosen" to save her people by being given to the gods.

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  • Try the Papaya Arequipena Juice

    by eternalvoyageur Written Jan 26, 2011

    This Papaya tastes nothing like typical Papayas do. It's more sour and fresh. It tastes delicious as a juice or smoothie. Its a speciality in Arequipa Available at most restaurants !
    Don't try eating the fruit though, it doesn't taste good that way !

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    • Food and Dining

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  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    Cayma

    by kiwigal_1 Written Mar 18, 2009

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    Cayma Iglesia, Arequipa
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    After visiting Yanahuara we decided to keep walking and see if we could find the plaza and church at Cayma. We found them eventually with the help of a friendly local and the lonely planet instructions.

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    Yanahuara

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 18, 2009

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    Yanahuara Lookout
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    After walking all around the center of town we decided to venture a little further afield to the area called Yanahuara which is across the river (cross Puente Grau to get there) and to the right about 2 kms.

    When you get there you will see a plaza with Yanahuara church on it and at the end of the plaza is the distinctive volcanic rock arches of the Yanahuara Lookout with stunning views back across to Arequipa with the Misti Volcano behind it.

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    Casa del Moral

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 18, 2009

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    Inside Casa del Moral, Arequipa
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    Moral House is another spectacular 18th Century mansion made of the typical Arequipan volcanic stone, "sillar". The front entrance has an amazing stone carving over the doorway. Inside there are displays of furniture of Peru's colonial period. A visit to Moral house is worth it to just see the interior patio and gardens which are just beautiful. The house gets its name from an ancient blackberry tree (called a Moral in Spanish) that grows in the main courtyard.

    In 2000 the Casa del Moral was named a UNESCO world heritage site.

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  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    San Francisco Iglesia and Convent

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 18, 2009

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    San Francisco Church and Convent, Arequipa
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    While walking around central Arequipa we visited another church called the San Francisco Iglesia and Convent which is situated on Zela Street.

    It is a complex that contains the San Francisco Church, the convent and also another smaller church known as La Tercera Orden.

    You can visit the church Monday to Saturday 7- 9 am and 5 - 8 pm or Sundays 7am - 12 pm and 5 - 8 pm.

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    Mercado San Camilo

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 18, 2009

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    Rhianon at the Arequipa market
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    One thing I like to do in towns in South America is visit their central market. They are usually colourful, bustling places and the market in Arequipa didn't disappoint. We saw fruit stalls, veges, meat (including something called "criadosas" which I think are bulls testicles!

    While I was here I had a fresh mango juice inside the market that they prepared for me with purified water.

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  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    Casona de Santa Catalina

    by kiwigal_1 Written Mar 17, 2009

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    Fiona in the courtyard of the Casona

    Arequipa is dotted with the "Casona's" or mansions. Inside high walls and arched entrance ways open up to courtyards with rooms off them.

    The Casona de Santa Catalina is located in front of the Santa Catalina Monastery and is now home to the gift shop, cafe, money changing service and information centre.

    The Casona was built in the 18th Century in the Arequipan volcanic stone called Sillar.

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  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    Plaza de Armas

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 17, 2009

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    Rhianon in Arequipa's Plaza de Armas
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    Any walk around Arequipa will take you eventually to the Plaza de Armas, or main plaza. It is a very attractive plaza with the main cathedral on it and bordered on the other sides by arched walkways. The shops around the plaza are quite touristy with almost every shop being either a tour company, airline office, restaurant or souvenir shop. The restaurants on the plaza annoyingly (in my opinion) hire people to shove menus in your face as you walk past in the hope that you will go up to the terrace and eat. Consequently I boycotted these restaurants...

    The plaza has palm trees and pigeons too. Watch out as you cross the street and try to dodge the hundreds on little Daewoo yellow taxis that are ubiquitous in Arequipa. The steps of the cathedral is a popular place for young people to meet up and hang out. Near the plaza there are endless "telephone stalls" or people with cell phones attached on chains on the street selling phone calls both domestically and internationally.

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  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    "Juanita" at Museo Santuarios Andinos

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Mar 17, 2009

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    Museo Santuario Andino
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    One of Arequipa's more unusual attractions is "Juanita" the so-called Ice Princess. "Juanita" is kept inside the Museo Santuarios Andinos (UCSM).

    "Juanita" was discovered in 1995 by anthropologist Dr Johan Reinhard on the slopes of the Amapato volcano. It is said that she was sacrificed on the mountain in an ancient Incan ritual to appease the gods. She was "put to sleep" with a blow to her right eyebrow causing her death.

    "Juanita's" remains have been preserved and are being studied by scientists in the laboratories of the Catholic University.

    Admission to the museum is 20 Soles for foreign tourists and we also had to have a compulsory guided tour whom we tipped a further 5 soles. There are cheaper rates for foreign students and Peruvians). The museum is open Monday - Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday 9:00am to 3:00pm.

    We were shown a 20 minute National Geographic clip about the Amapato mummies (there were several found). During the tour of archeological artefacts I was beginning to wonder if we were going to actually see the mummy and then finally at the end of the tour, there she was. She was surprisingly small and was enclosed inside a cool temperature controlled glass box. She was in the fetal position and was still wrapped up although her face was visible.

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    • Archeology

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