airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
A look at El Misit from Arequipa
A look at El Misit from Arequipa | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip
Save to wishlist

21 Photos That Prove Arequipa Is Peru's Most Beautiful City

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 10 January 2018
Forget Cusco and Lima, Arequipa is our pick for the most attractive city in Peru. Chock-full of leafy plazas, pretty archways, vibrant colors and stunning neoclassical churches, the sheer beauty of this grandiose colonial city captures the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Don’t believe us? Here’s some photographic evidence to peruse.

The cathedral

Arequipa’s grand cathedral is a giant compared to some of Peru’s other religious buildings. It anchors an entire side of the plaza and even takes up an entire block! It towers over the rest of the plaza and, with volcanoes looming in the distance, makes for one of the best views in the country.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00021
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00007
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00004
Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

The plaza

After seeing the plaza and spending some time in it you won’t want to go anywhere else – and Arequipa has a lot to offer. During the day it’s bustling with families, tourists and vendors and then, when night falls, it transforms into a scene straight out of a Disney fairytale. The cathedral, the beautiful white buildings and the backdrop of El Misti the volcano – La plaza de Armas in Arequipa is a highlight of anyone’s trip to Peru.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00002
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00008
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00010
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00016
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip

Monastery Santa Catalina

If the plaza didn’t inspire you then a trip to this famed monastery certainly will. It’s a city within a city, replete with streets, different apartments, high walls, a church, courtyards and a town bakery – you’ll even find a cafe. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore all the hidden rooms and vibrant streets. You can also visit the monastery by night, wandering through the corridors by candlelight like nuns would have done centuries ago.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00015
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00019
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00011
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00009
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00012
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip

The architecture

Awash in white, the plaza de armas and some surrounding buildings match the snowcapped mountains visible in the distance. The buildings are made out of volcanic sillar, which is what gives them their white color and architectural uniqueness. While the city has been devastated by earthquakes, it has been impressively rebuilt with the same spirit and style.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00027
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00028
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00025
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip

The landscape

The volcanoes and mountains that guard the city from a distance aren’t the only natural beauties visible from the city. The river El Chili runs through Arequipa and offers adventurers some of the best white-water rafting in Peru – and you don’t even have to leave the city for it. Surrounded by volcanoes, mountains, rivers and canyons, Arequipa is a thrill-seeker’s dream destination.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00029
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00024
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00030
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip

The culture

As the second-largest city in Peru, Arequipa has that big city feel, but with Andean roots and tradition – a perfect mixture of Lima, the country’s capital, and Cusco. It has city nightlife and constant traffic, but is also surrounded by natural wonders like Colca Canyon, the second-deepest canyon in the world, and El Misti, the towering volcano. In a way, Arequipa is the perfect symbol of Peru: urban metropolis steeped in cultural history and surrounded by unbelievable natural beauty.

SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00033
Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00017
Mia Spingola / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0090-Spingola-Arequipa00001
Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip