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Santa Catalina Monastery | © Ivan Mlinaric/Flickr
Santa Catalina Monastery | © Ivan Mlinaric/Flickr

How to Spend 48 Hours in Arequipa, Peru

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 12 January 2018

If you’re only planning on visiting Arequipa, Peru, for two days, you’re going have a jam-packed schedule. But don’t worry! We have the perfect guide that will let you enjoy all the nature and city activities that Arequipa has to offer.

Day 1

Morning

Your first day in Arequipa is going to have a very early start—as in waking up at 2 am early. Viewing the Colca Canyon is a must for anyone coming to Arequipa (and Peru for that matter). It is the second deepest canyon in the world and full of captivating sights and history, so no Arequipa trip is complete without it. You’ll be picked up from a centrally-located hotel in the city at 3 am for the one-day tour, then ride all the way to Colca Canyon where you’ll begin your descent.

Afternoon

Most of your first day will be spent hiking to see all that you can in the canyon. You’ll be taken to lookout points where you can catch glimpses of the rare and spectacularly large Andean condor. Make sure to bring a camera as there will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way that you won’t want to miss.

Evening

The bus ride to and from the canyon takes about four hours each way, so be prepared to spend eights hours of your day in a bus. After an early start to your day and a lot of hiking, you’ll be very tired and will most likely sleep on the bus ride back. You’ll arrive in Arequipa at around 6 pm, exhausted and wanting to shower. Listen to your body. After you clean up and rest a bit, you should go out to enjoy Arequipa’s renowned restaurants where you can relax and recharge for the next day.

Day 2

Morning

Take it easy and make sure you get some sleep (maybe even sleep in a little). After resting up, go to Arequipa’s Mercado Central, which is one of the best food markets in Peru, grab a bite to eat and then head to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, a 16th century monastery that is still in operation today.

Afternoon

Spend most of your day exploring the beautiful monastery and its vibrant streets full of interesting history. It is truly one of the most beautiful sites in all of Peru, a city within a city with high walls protecting it from the outside and hours of exploring to offer. If you get hungry, enjoy a coffee and some food at the monastery’s café.

Santa Catalina Monastery, Santa Catalina 301, Arequipa, Peru, +51 54 608282

Evening

This is your time to enjoy Peru’s most beautiful Plaza de Armas and the spot where you’ll want to catch a sunset. Hang out in the plaza, enjoy the sites, and as the sun begins to descend, head to Terraza Arequipa Suits Plaza Hotel, the best place to see a sunset in Arequipa. It is perched above the Plaza de Armas so you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the city and a perfectly unobstructed view of El Misti, Arequipa’s towering volcano.

Terraza Arequipa Suits Plaza Hotel, Portal de las Flores 104, Arequipa, Peru