Arequipa – Peru’s Beautiful White City

Following our lovely day at Lake Titicaca, the next destination on our tour was Peru’s second city, Arequipa.

Arequipa, Peru

We travelled by coach from Puno.  The scenic journey took just over six hours.  You can search for and buy tickets at redBus.  Inka Express also run a service between Puno and Arequipa, with a guide and stops en route, which is definitely worth checking out.

Road between Puno and Arequipa, Peru

Reservoir passed on the road from Puno to Arequipa


Arequipa is beautiful.  Much of the city is built using white volcanic sillar stone, and the colonial architecture is all ornate arches and cloisters.

Arequipa, Peru

Centre of Arequipa


Arequipa cloisters, Peru

Beautiful cloisters built with the local white sillar stone

Arequipa architecture

Then there are secluded courtyards and glimpses of the mystical Misti volcano, which add to the city’s charm.

Arequipa courtyard, Peru

Typical courtyard

Arequipa, Peru

Misti volcano just visible over the buildings

We stayed in the excellent Casa Arequipa guesthouse which was elegant and characterful, and had a lovely breakfast room and courtyard.

Casa Araquipa guesthouse

Breakfast room


The guesthouse is a very short taxi ride from the city centre, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Monasterio de Santa Catalina

If you are in Arequipa you have to visit the beautiful Monasterio de Santa Catalina. This convent is a huge and serene complex of cloisters, rooms, decorated walls and courtyards, which is still occupied by a small number of nuns today.  With its painted arches and colourful passageways, it is fascinating to explore.

Cloisters in the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Cloisters in the Monasterio de Santa Catalina

Monastry Arequipa

Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Painted detail

There is colour everywhere, and the whole complex exudes calm and tranquility.

Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Colourful walls and potted plants

Monastry Arequipa 2

Outside there is a great view over the city towards the brooding Misti volcano.

View from Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Great, if somewhat hazy, view of the nearby Misti volcano

A number of tours can be taken from Arequipa – see Viator for a range of options.  We had an enjoyable bus tour of the surrounding countryside, which was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

If you visit Peru, do try to include a visit to Arequipa in your itinerary – it is just such a nice place to be!

For more information and resources about travelling to and within Peru please see the Practicalities page.

Please remember that this post is based purely on our own experiences – therefore kindly note the Disclaimer.

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