14 highlights and things to do in Arequipa, Peru

14 highlights and things to do in Arequipa, Peru

This travel tip gives you some information about things you might like to do when visiting Arequipa in Peru.

- Downhill volcano biking is offered in several levels of difficulty. Half day adventure managed by professional guides. S/70 to 80. They provide all the required equipment. Very safe. Great countryside views.

- Volcano climbing. Two opitons, an excursion to Misti or a real climbing to Chachani. Two day tour. The first one with low difficulty level the second one with medium difficulty. Altitude is usually the worst enemy for visitors. Chachani is over 6,000 meter altitude. Book with professional operators. Price among 90 dollars/person.

- Try whitewater rafting in some of the best rivers of the world. A typical half-day tour with some 90 minutes actual rafting will cost you about 70 S/.

- The Plaza de Armas, the main square of Arequipa, surrounded by buildings made of sillar, a white volcanic stone.

- Convento de Santa Catalina is the most visited building from the spaniard era of the city. Described as a city in a city, this beautiful place with its colors, flowers and little streets, will make you feel you are back in time. Quite close to the Plaza de Armas.

- Visit San Camilo market, the oldest one located in the centre of the city. It's three blocks away from the main square.

- See Juanita Mummy in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. From May to November the main exhibit is the Dama de Ampato, also known as Juanita. Found close to the main square is the Museum of the Catholic University, with the interesting exhibition of frozen bodies of sacrificial victims found in the neighbouring volcanoes.

- One of the newest attractions is the Convento de Santa Teresa, a little off the usual tourist areas in downtown Arequipa. Not as interesting architecturally as Santa Catalina, some of the paintings and artifacts are stunning.

- Many of the almost 250 colonial buildings entitled as Human Heritage by UNESCO, are close to the main square. Some are turned to banks, stores, restaurants and departments. This practical way of preserving the city by finding a practical use to the historical buildings, provides a great experience to the visitor who feels like visiting a living museum.

- Churches are among the most beautiful buildings preserved. They are all Catholic and you can visit them but be aware to have some respect because most of the population practices the Catholic religion. La Compania, San Francisco, La Merced and the Cathedral are some of the most famous.

- Arequipa has beautiful bridges. Puente Bolognesi is the closest to the main square. Get there and visit the Tambos (ancient houses rebuilt by the city government and used as apartments). Great experience.

- Puente Fierro is an iron bridge designed by Eiffel and still in service. A technological jewell located in Vallecito (10 blocks from main square) and a must for people who loves trains and bridges. From the bridge, at golden time (4-5PM), you can get some of the best pictures from the volcanoes and the city.

- Nearby, in the old countryside, is the Molino de Sabandía (Sabandía Mill), a three centuries old water mill, set in the old Arequipa countryside.

- Because of its weather, friendliness of its people and budget prices (compared to Lima or Cusco), this is a great place to learn spanish. Several schools available, like Spanish School Arequipa, Juanjo and Claro (now called Rocio) among them. Most of them with excellent programs. Classes are usually offered in a per week basis, and with accommodation packages included.

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