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Arequipa has the perfect combination of beautiful architecture and natural beauty, the confluence of man and nature, with the mountains and volcanoes making for the most picturesque backdrop of a city in all of Peru. When the sun starts to descend and shades of pink and purple begin to streak across the White City and the mountains and volcanoes behind, you’ll want to find a vantage point watch all this from. Here is our list of the best palaces to see Peru’s most beautiful sunset descend over Arequipa.
Perched high above the Plaza de Armas on a third-story terrace—the highest building in the plaza—is the Terraza Arequipa Suits Plaza Hotel. When facing the cathedral in the plaza, it is in the very right hand corner, nearest the cathedral. You’ll see a sign and some waiters drawing in passers-by into the bar-restaurant. Head straight to the top where you can enjoy some food, cocktails, and the highest seat in all of the Plaza. The birds eye view of the plaza below and of the sunset are worth the slightly expensive price of a beer.
About a 20-minute walk from the plaza you’ll find Yanahuara park. The park isn’t large but has its charm and offers a sunset beyond an uninterrupted view of El Misti. When the sun begins to descend, the food vendors come out and so do the crowds. You’ll find plenty of photos being taken on selfie-sticks and some of the most delicious picarones in Arequipa. Enjoy the view of the volcano as the sunset turns the sky a light-pink and purple—once you see that, the selfie-sticks make more sense.
Really, anywhere along the terraces in the plaza are perfect spots to catch a sunset. Most of the second story in the plaza are restaurant-bars, but make sure that you ask if they have a happy hour before you sit down. Some do and some don’t and it’s always better to enjoy a cocktail at a discounted price, especially when every restaurant offers the exact same menu.
Colca Canyon is one of the most magical natural sights to behold in all of Peru—and that’s saying a lot! If you hike into the canyon you’ll most likely spend the night at one of the hostels in the little oasis, where you’ll see some of the most dreamy sunsets in all of Peru, as the last rays of sun disappear from the canyon and the sky above. If you don’t want to hike in, catching the sunset from the top of the canyon, while giving you a different perspective, is just as magical.
A sunset seen from the top of a volcano? Umm yeah, that’s is nearly impossible to beat. If you decide to do one of the trekking options to the top of El Misti you’ll be spending the night atop the magnificent and towering volcano, which means that you’ll be getting a sunset. From the top you’ll get an unrivaled view of Arequipa and the entire city below—that is worth the trip in itself.
About a 40-minute drive outside of Arequipa is the beautiful countryside of Characato. You won’t find the sunset-blocking high rises or hotels here—nope, just uninterrupted views of the Arequipa landscape, which includes mountains and volcanoes as the sun slowly descends.
Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is hard to beat when you’re trying to catch a sunset—it is just a magical place to be. This time, instead of watching the sunset from a restaurant terrace, spend your time on the ground below. It’ll give you a different perspective and you’ll feel more connected to the people and the life of the square.