yellow wall made of sillar stone in arequipa city

The name comes from `Ari-que pay` quechua, that means `Yes, stay`. It is located in the place where the Andean central area and the center south Andean is divided. It was founded in August 15th, 1540 by Manuel García de Carbajal.

Arequipa, or `The White City` is called like this because of sillar stone used in the constructions, a material of volcanic lava petrified between white and perla that when is brightened by the sun produces a beautiful shining. So it shows a beautiful architecture made of sillar, landscapes and great valleys.

Arequipa has become the centre of the economical complex at the south of Peru and is one of the departments that produce milk and the most important in the country.

Main Turistic Attractions

  • Santa Catalina Monastery. Are the most important and impressing religious monument in Peru. It was founded in September 1579 under Santa Catalina Advocation of Cena and was closed to the world until 1970.
  • Main Square, the Cathedral and Municipality, built with a beautiful architecture and surrounded by sillar archs.
  • Churches and Monasteries, like La Compañia Church founded by Jesuits in XVII Century, Church and Monastery of La Merced, Colonial Architectonic Complex San Francisco, built back in XVI Century. La Recoleta Franciscano Monastery, founded in 1648.
  • Colonial Houses, the most important are La Moral House, Tristan del Pozo House, Iberry House, Pastor House, Goyeneche House.
  • Yanahuara, 2 kilometers from the city. Famous for the churches built with andaluz style.
  • Cayma, 3 kilometers from the capital. Place known for its delicious restaurants and here you can find a beautiful XVII century church. From here you can observe a beautiful view of Arequipa.
  • Yura thermal baths, 30 kilometers from the city. The water comes from the inside of Chachani volcano. Almost, next to the city you can find medicinal fountains of Jesus and Socosani.
  • Sabandia, Valley with natural waters, the most transparent of the region. There exists a windmill built in XVIII century and that still works.
  • Colca Canyon, located in Cailloma province. It is 3400 meters deep and is considered one of the deepest in the whole world. To get there you will have to pass behind Misti and Chachani volcano and Pampa Cañahuas, a vicuñas reserve.
  • Majes valley, in the province of Castilla. There you can find Toro Muerto petroglifos with 5 000 huge stones that represent geometrical shapes, animals and plants.
  • Volcanoes Valley. Located 377 kilometers from Arequipa in Andahua. There you can observe a huge landscape formed by almost 80 small volcanoes, that seem to be the moon surface.
  • National Sanctuary Lagunas de Mejia. Located in the coast, 20 kilometers from Mollendo. Natural scenery with 690 acres with water with different salt degrees, totorales, marismas and gramadales. You an also find 157 bird species.
  • Sumbay caves. Located 88 kilometers from the capital. In spite of the time, it has valuable paintings from the paleolitic era. The rocky walls represent human figures, pumas, etc.
  • Imata Stone Forest. Rocky formations very original located on the way to Puno. Natural columns mad of stone that have the appearance of a mysterious haunted forest and petrified.

  Altitude and Weather

  • Altitude: Arequipa is 2539 above sea level.
  • Weather: Dry, sunny days and cool nights.
  • Temperature: From 74 to 50ºF – from 24 to 10ºC approximately.

  Typical Dishes and Drinks

Arequipa cuisine is one of the most varied in Peru. The most important are everyday soups and others like:

  • Shrimp soup: Shrimp soup with milk, eggs and oregan.
  • Stuffed rocoto: washed rocoto stuffed with ground meat, cheese, milk and potato cake.
  • Soltero: fresh cheese salad, peas, onions, olives, tomato and rocoto.
  • Adobo arequipeño: pork marinated with chicha and spices, cooked in a pot.
  • Ocopa: cooked potato, covered with fresh cheese sauce, habas, onions, olive and rocoto.
  • Escribano: potato salad, rocoto, vinegar, oil, tomato and cilantro.
  • Pebre: lamb soup, beef, lamb cecina.
  • Sango: dessert made of wheat, raisins, chancaca honey (sugar honey), milk and butter.


  • January 6. Mollendo anniversary. Kings Arrival celebration in Tiabaya. Mollendo anniversary.
  • February 2. Virgen de la Candelaria celebration in Chivay district.
  • February 3. Virgen de la Candelaria Celebration in Cayma and Characato. In Craveli is celebrated la Virgen del Buen Paso, the celebrations last 4 days and there are roster fights, bullfighting and horses parade.
  • Holy week. Religious celebrations in all the department, with procesiones and spiritual devotion. Men and women dress in black.
  • May 1. Visit to Virgen de Chapi Sanctuary, 45 kilometers from the capital. People from all over the country and part of the continent come to salute this saint.
  • August 15. Arequipa anniversary. Religious celebrations that last a week with several artistic and cultural shows, roster fighting, sports competitions, fire works and parade. Artists from other countries are shown. In Castilla is the celebration of Virgen de la Asuncion, popular celebrations, parade and competitions between districts.
  • August 30. Santa Rosa. Religious celebration in Caraveli, with masses, procesiones and churches ornamented with flowers and varied ornaments. In Castilla there are popular celebrations, competitions and sports celebrations.
  • September 8. Virgen de las Peñas in Castilla. A big folklore demonstration, specially in Aplao. The waiters serve all the visitors.
  • November 1. Todos los Santos Day. Complete families go to cementeries taking music and food to accompain dead people.
  • November 9. Camana main day. All the population go to the streets to dance, sing and have fun.
  • December 8. Inmaculada celebration in Chivay and Cayma.

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