Main Square, city of Arequipa
Bordered by various arched walkways and the Cathedral, the Main Square possesses a beautiful bronze fountain of three plates crowned by the figure of a sixteenth century soldier. Of this person, who is called “Tuturutu”, the story says he was in charge of warning of any new event. Around the square, you see three granite portals with brick and lime bases: Portal del Cabildo (Portal de la Municipalidad), Portal de las Delicias (Portal de San Agustín), and Portal del Regocijo (Portal de Flores).
Cathedral, city of Arequipa
It is considered one of the first seventeenth century religious monuments of the city. It is built of sillar (white volcanic stone) with a brick base. Destroyed by fire in 1844, it was rebuilt in 1868 by the Arequipa architect Lucas Poblete. He employed a Neoclassical style and placed the entrances to the church on the flanking naves. In 2001, the building was struck hard by an earthquake, which seriously damaged its towers.
Iglesia de La Compañía and complex (The Church of the Company of Jesus Christ)
Intersection of Calle General Morán and Calle Álvarez Thomas, Main Square, city of Arequipa.
Visiting hours: Mon.
This complex, made up of buildings constructed by the Jesuits for religious and living purposes, is a representative monument of seventeenth century religious architecture (1660). The church itself rises from the center of the buildings. It was designed in 1573 by Gaspar Baez and in 1584 destroyed by an earthquake. The current structure dates from 1650. Inside are found sixty-six canvases from the Cusco School from such artists as Bernardo Bitti and Diego de la Puente.
Iglesia de San Francisco and complex (Church of Saint Francis)
First block of Calle Zela.
The complex contains the Saint Francis church, the convent, and a smaller church known as La Tercera Orden (the Third Franciscan Order). What catches the attention inside the church is the bas-relief decorated Baroque pulpit and the silver front of the main altar. Besides these, a short passageway, named Manguillo de San Francisco, has been added to the complex to separate the church from what was the first girls’ school and later a women’s jail. Today, it has become a commercial art center known as “Fundo El Fierro” (Iron Ranch).
Monasterio de Santa Catalina (Saint Kathleen Monastery)
Calle Santa Catalina 301.
Constructed to shelter the daughters of the wealthiest families of the city with a religious vocation, the monastery was inaugurated on October 2, 1580, under the name of Santa Catalina of Siena to be an absolutely cloistered religious center, and it remained that way until August 15, 1970.
It occupies an approximate area of 20.000 m2 (215 285 feet2), and its placement is similar to the first neighborhoods of Arequipa.
The building exhibits rooms of very different architectural design. One of the areas has been established as a gallery for exhibiting the canvasses of the Cusco, Quito, and Arequipa Schools. There are other rooms, or sectors, to visit as well like el Claustro de la Portería (the Gate Cloister), el Museo Precolombino (the pre-Colombian Museum), el Claustro de San Francisco (the Cloister of Saint Francis), etc.
Convento de La Recoleta (La Recoleta Convent)
Jiron Recoleta 117.
A Franciscan convent founded in 1848, it was opened to the public in 1978. It features various styles that include Romantic and Neo-gothic due to its different remodeling campaigns (the last was in 1940). It has four cloisters and eleven sectors, as well as two pre-Colombian art rooms, two others dedicated to the Amazon Rain Forest, and another to religious art. It likewise has a gallery exhibiting canvasses from the Cusco and Arequipa Schools and a valuable library that protects more than 20,000 volumes and ancient books.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo and Convent (Holy Sunday Church)
Intersection of Calle Santo Domingo and Calle Rivero.
Architecturally, the church is characterized by a bell tower, its entrance with a corner pedestal, and its impeccable arch under the choir loft. Inside, one can appreciate paintings and other pieces of sacred art. Equally, it is known for its side entrance as being the oldest in Arequipa. The upper cloister of the convent was constructed around 1734.
Casa del Moral (The Blackberry Tree House)
Calle Moral 318, downtown Arequipa.
An eighteenth century house, it constitutes one of the oldest and most important architectural monuments from the Arequipa Baroque period. The house owes its name to an ancient blackberry tree that grows in its main patio. Inside, furniture from Peru’s Colonial and Republican epochs is on display. The main entrance of white sillar stone is a work of art in which it is possible to admire carefully carved figures. For example, there is a crown suspended above a coat of arms that is held up by two angels with the coat of arms being composed of tinier carvings of a castle, a bird, a puma, and two crossed keys. In the same way, the room of sixteenth century “antique” maps of America also stands out.
Barrio de San Lázaro (Saint Lazarus neighborhood)
Five blocks from the Main Square, Arequipa.
This neighborhood of alleys, narrow passageways, small plazas, and large homes is the most representative of old Arequipa. This place was established by Dominican priests in 1538, who built a sanctuary to evangelize the natives of the area and to prepare the land to found a new Spanish city. The small bridge that joins the Church of San Lázaro and its small plaza with the rest of the quarter is a must see.
Casa Goyeneche (Goyeneche House)
Calle La Merced 201.
This sixteenth century house of white sillar stone is completely designed in the Colonial style. There, prints from the Cusco and Arequipa Schools are preserved and so are sculptures from the Granada School of the seventeenth century. The name comes from Mr. Juan de Goyeneche y Aguerreverre, who bought it in 1782. Presently, it is headquarters to the Central Reserve Bank of Peru in Arequipa.
Iglesia San Agustín (Saint Augustine Church)
Intersection of Calle San Agustín and Calle Bolívar.
Built in 1575, the church displays a façade that dates from the first half of the eighteenth century and is considered one of the best of its time. In architectural terms, it belongs to the mixed-origin Baroque and the main construction material was white sillar stone. Inside, the church’s main highlights are the dome, its Neoclassical altars, especially the major one for the precise carvings and gold leaf.
Iglesia La Merced (Mercy Church)
Intersection of Calle La Merced and Calle Tristán.
Its construction began in 1551 and finished in 1607. It has an attractive side entrance, which features the image of the Virgin of the Mercies accompanied by two saints of mercy. Important works of art like the “Aparición de la Virgen a San Pedro Nolasco” (Saint Peter Nolasco Recovering the Image of the Virgin) are preserved in its sacristy as well as a series of paintings related to the Virgin de la Merced in the main hall. The church and the convent, the latter constructed in the city, were built using the white sillar stone from Arequipa. The cloister maintains a library that dates back to the Vice royal period.
Casa Tristán del Pozo (Tristán del Pozo house)
Calle San Francisco 108.
This traditional, colonial house has a façade that is carved in mixed-origin Baroque. In addition, it was made with wide, unique patios inside. It was built in 1738 for General Domingo Tristán del Pozo. Today, it is the property of Banco Continental.
Museo Arqueológico de la Universidad de San Agustín (University of San Agustín Archeological Museum)
Intersection of Calle Álvarez Thomas and Calle Palacio Viejo.
A varied collection is exhibited here including stone items, bones from human sacrifices, ceramic pieces from the Nasca, Tiahuanaco, Huari, and Inca, and objects of gold and silver from the Colonial and Incan epochs.
Museo de Arqueología de la Universidad Católica de Santa María de Arequipa (University of Santa María de Arequipa Archeological Museum)
Calle Cruz Verde 303.
The museum has around 1,000 pieces (ceramics, textiles, mummies, stone, wood, and metal) from the different cultural groups that inhabited the Department of Arequipa beginning in the year 12,000 B.C. up to the time of the colony: Nasca, Tiahuanaco, Wari, Churajón, Acarí, Aruni, and Inca as well as transitional and colonial materials.
Museo Santuarios Andinos de la Universidad Católica de Santa María (Saint Mary’s Catholic University Museum of Andean Sanctuaries)
Calle La Merced 110, downtown Arequipa.
Here, they exhibit la Dama de Ampato (the Lady of Ampato), an Incan mummy of a twelve to fourteen year old girl found at the top of the Ampato volcano by the climber Miguel Zárate, the archeologist José Chávez, and the anthropologist Johan Reinhard on September 8, 1995. According to the specialists, it is very likely that the girl, whose remains were found frozen, died from blow to the temple from a five pointed granite mace. It seems that she was an offering to the Ampato Apu (protector god) and probably died 500 years ago.
Urbanización Selva Alegre (Selva Alegre suburb)
Considered the “garden of the city” for its large parks and huge trees that live in harmony with the modern houses of the area, Selva Alegre was constructed as a monument to Juan Pablo Vizcardo y Guzmán, predecessor to Peruvian independence. The Molino de Santa Catalina (Mill of Saint Kathleen) is a featured site, completely restored and located on the mall of this zone.
2 km (1.25 miles) from downtown Arequipa (8 minutes by car)
It was built in the nineteenth century and is composed of a series of sillar stone arches where the words of famous Arequipa citizens have been engraved. This spot has a wonderful view of the city and Mount Misti volcano.
City of Sabandia
8 km.( 5 miles) from Arequipa (20 minutes by car)
Wide terraces and three volcanoes, the Misti, the Chachani, and the Pichu Pichu, provide the scenery around this traditional town. Some of the houses still preserve characteristic styles of the Viceroyalty or of nineteenth century Republicanism. A recreational area with two swimming pools that use the cold river waters of the surrounding region has been built.
Molino de Sabandía (Sabandía Mill)
Located in Sabandía
Constructed in 1785, it represents the typical architecture of the region where the use of sillar stone predominates. It is characterized by solid supports and rustic balconies. Stone grinding wheel techniques for processing wheat can be viewed here as well.
Mansión del Fundador (Founder’s Mansion)
9 km.( 5.6 miles) from Arequipa (15 minutes by car)
Built with sillar stone at the edge of a cliff, it is one of the most important and traditional mansions or houses in the region. According to the story, Garcí Manuel de Carbajal, founder of Arequipa, had it built for his son. Later, in 1785, Mr. Juan Crisóstomo de Goyeneche y Aguerreverre was its proprietor and remodeled it, giving it the distinguished characteristics that are seen today. The main entrance is composed of a foyer with an arched ceiling, followed by a wide principal patio over which the windows and doors of the bedrooms open.
District of Cayma
3 km.( 1.9 miles) south of Arequipa (8 minutes by car)
The village of Cayma is known as the “Balcony of Arequipa” for its advantageous location that allows the entire city to be seen. Its central plaza houses the church of San Miguel Arcángel (Saint Michael the Archangel), built in 1730 and considered an architectonic jewel because of its mixed façade. In the rectory annex, the “Comedor de Bolívar” (Bolivar’s dining room) is preserved where, according to legend, the Liberators lunched during their say in the town.
The foothills of the volcano are 20 km. northeast of Arequipa (1 hour by 4×4 vehicle)
The Misti volcano, 5 825 m.a.s.l., / 19111 f.a.s.l. is the guardian of the city. From the summit, it is possible to see the city of Arequipa, the Chili River valley, and the Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
Yura Hot Springs
27 km./ 16.8 miles north of Arequipa (45 minutes by bus)
These are wells of thermal waters in the foothills of the Chachani volcano, 2575 m.a.s.l / 8448 f.a.s.l.. The therapeutic properties of the waters, whose temperature fluctuates between 23ºC/ 73.40ºF and 28ºC / 82.40ºF , are celebrated. Between 1810 and 1831, Mr. José Nogal y Noguerol built the wells that are still maintained today.
Sumbay Caves – Rock Art
97 km / 60.3 miles north of Arequipa by the Caylloma highway (1 hour and 45 minutes by bus)
Located within the boundaries of the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, this area boasts over 500 rock art figures. These representations, possibly made by the first inhabitants of the area, are approximately 6,000 to 8,000 years old.
The base camp is 55 km / 34 miles north of Arequipa (2 hours by 4×4 vehicle). From there, an approximate 6 hour hike will take you to the summit.
This snow covered peak, towering over 6 075 m.a.s.l./ 19931 f.a.s.l. is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in Peru. It is also an inactive volcano, but lava is still visible, and there are depressions and moraines. It takes two days and one night to ascend.
District of Yarabamba
21 km / 13 miles south of the city of Arequipa (35 minutes by car)
The name of the district comes from two Quechua vowels: “yaro” or “yara”, a native bush of the area, and “bamba” which means pampas. Visiting the mansion of Arenas y Pinto and the colonial house of Rivera y Echevarría are excursions in the town.
District of Quequeña
25 km / 15.5 miles southeast of Arequipa (40 minutes by car)
This area has been inhabited by the Lupacas, Aymaras, Quechuas, Collaguas, Puquinas, and, at the middle of the fifteenth century, the Incas. The name of the town probably comes from the Puquina word, “quequeña”, which means “rocky and solid place”. The main places of interest are la Alameda de los Sauces (Willows Walk), la Alameda de los Muertos (Path of the Dead), and Guanaqueros Gorge. There is also a recently restored church to see.
District of Chiguata
30 km./ 18.6 miles east of Arequipa (45 minutes by car) in the foothills of the Pichu-Pichu volcano
Chiguata was founded on January 22, 1540, by the steward, Diego Hernández. The name of the city is a combination of two Quechua words, “chiri” (cold) and “guata” (year), and means “cold all year long”. Among the main attractions, one can visit the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit) and the archeological centers of Tambo de León and Infiernillos.
District of Tiabaya
10 km / 6.2 miles from Arequipa (15 minutes by car)
The valley is completely agricultural and is believed to have been inhabited by the ethnic groups of the Kuntis from Cabana, the Yanahuaras, and the Chumbivilcas. On November 8, 1870, it was given the title of “city” and is famous for its rustic restaurants.
District of Characato
10 km / 6.2 miles from Arequipa (15 minutes by car)
This locale has plenty of vegetation and abundant water, so it is ideal for farming. Very close to the town is a spring of water called “Ojo de Milagro” (Miraculous Spring). There is also a beautiful colonial church. Historically, the inhabitants of this area went to work at the southern salt licks, now territory of Chile. When the people of this place were asked where they were from, they would say “from Characato, sir”; from that comes the nickname for the people of Arequipa – “characatos”.
Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve
Approx. 35 km / 21.7 miles northeast of Arequipa (1 hour and 30 minutes by bus)
Its area is almost 367,000 hectares, including territory from the Provinces of Arequipa, Caylloma (Arequipa Region), and General Sánchez Cerro (Moqueqa Region). It was created for the purpose of preserving important associations of flora and fauna, protecting the natural environment that was deteriorating and in the process of being destroyed, as well as caring for the vicuña through a repopulation program. The reserve is located between 2800 and 6050 m.a.s.l. (9186 and 19849 f.a.s.l.) and the Misti (5825 m.a.s.l. / 19111 f.a.s.l.), Chachani (6075 m.a.s.l./ 19931 f.a.s.l.), and Pichu-Pichu (5664 m.a.s.l./ 18583 f.a.s.l.) volcanoes are found there. Among the Reserve’s most representative species are the vizcacha, the fox, the condor, and the Andean flamingo or parihuana. Scientists have determined the existence of 169 animal species, 23 of which are mammals (including two forms of domesticated South American camelids), 138 species of birds (the blue billed ducks, eagles, and kestrels are the trophies), 3 reptilian, 4 amphibious, and 3 fish species. Salinas Lake is considered a special spot to observe flamingos during their migration period.
Province of Caylloma
151 km / 93.8 miles north of Arequipa (3 hours by car)
The extreme northeastern section of the Arequipa Region is localized here. The highest point is the inactive volcano Mount Ampato (6,288 m.a.s.l.), and the lowest in the confluence of the rivers Colca and Andamayo (970 m.a.s.l.). The Colca valley is100 km in length and occupies only a part of the Colca river basin, comprising the districts of Callalli and Huambo. There are sixteen villages in this zone made up of descendents of the Collaguas and Cabanas tribes, inheritors of rich cultural traditions. The towns of Chivay and Cabanaconde are the most visited by tourists. In the latter, it is possible to watch condors soar from the Cruz de Condor (Condor Crossing) Lookout. The Colca valley forms part of the South American tectonic plate and contains the active volcano, Sabancaya, located on the volcanic mountain Hualca Hualca. This valley possesses a great diversity of flora and fauna. Among the most representative species are the condor, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon, and the Andean tinamou.
42 km / 26 miles west of the town of Chivay (1 hour by car)
This is one of the deepest places on the planet, reaching a depth of 3,400 meters / 11155 feet at the lowest point in the location of Canco. On the right side, it is flanked by the Chila Cordillera (Bomboya, Serpregrina, Mismi, Queshihua) and on the other by Mount Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya, and Ampato. You can see in the distance Mount Ubinas and beautiful Mount Coropuna.
Imata Stone Forest
150 km / 93.2 miles northeast of Arequipa by the Puno highway (2 hours by car)
It is a complex of stone structures that have the appearance of a mysterious petrified forest. Erosion has shaped the stone, giving them a peculiar aspect. The place is easily accessible since it is located near the Arequipa – Juliaca highway.
173 km / 107.5 miles north of Arequipa (5 hours by 4×4 vehicle)
At 6,288 m.a.s.l./ 20630 f.a.s.l., it is temporarily inactive and exhibits a perpetual snowcap at the height of 5,000 meters / 16404 feet. The foothills have scarce vegetation and these are limited to bunch grass and hawthorn. At the top, from which you can see the Colca Canyon, explorers found the “Dama de Ampato”, the mummified remains of a girl from the time of the Incas.
Province of Islay
Lagunas de Mejia National Sanctuary
146 km / 90.7 miles southwest of Arequipa (2 hours and 10 minutes by car); 11 km / 6.8 miles south from the Mejia baths and 5 km /3.1 miles south of Mollendo It possesses an area of 690.6 hectares and includes different habitats comprised of swamps, salt marshes, tortora reeds, hills, riverside estuaries, fields of salt grass, and sandy beaches. It is ideal for bird-watching, and there have been 195 species registered: 75 are resident species (it is possible to find them there all year long), 6 are ocean residing species, and 80 are migratory ones that travel from places so diverse and far away as the Peruvian jungle and the Antarctic.
Province of Castilla
Toro Muerto Petroglyphs
164 km / 101.9 miles northwest of Arequipa (2 hours and 30 minutes)
Leaving the Colca valley and passing through the Sihuas pampas is one way to get there. To arrive there directly from Arequipa, take the road to Lima and turn off at Corire (District of Uraca) and drive for 6 km/ 3.7 miles.The site consists of a group of carvings spread out over 5 km2 / 1.9 miles2.The majority of them are representations of human beings, animals, and plants, as well as geometric designs that seem to have been carved with sharpened stones. The techniques used varied from striking, scratching, chipping, to hammering, and their age could begin from 1100 A.D.
Andagua, Valley of the Volcanoes
323 km/ 200.7 miles northeast from Arequipa (9 hours by car)
The Valley of the Volcanoes was the center of strenuous convulsions in the volcanic mountain chain 200,000 years ago. We can still see today an extensive layer of lava over which around eighty-six smaller inactive volcanoes have emerged. It reaches an altitude of 3,546 m.a.s.l / 2203 f.a.s.l.
Province of La Union
Cotahuasi Valley and Canyon (Scenic Reserve of the Cotahuasi Sub-basin)
375 km / 233 miles northwest of Arequipa (9 hours by car / 12 hours by public bus)
Different altitudinal tiers have created the conditions for a large biological diversity with high indices of endemism in both the flora and fauna. The Cotahuasi Canyon includes twelve life zones and three ecological regions. It is considered the deepest in Peru (3,535 m / 11598 feet)
Province of Caravelí
Waca Gorge or Puerto Inca Archeological Site
417 km / 1368 miles northwest of Arequipa (6 hours and 30 minutes by car);
Archeological complex that is known for its long period of human occupation since the remnants there date from the pre-ceramic era to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, indicating an Incan presence. Some archeologists and historians think that from this site, one of the most important Inca trails started that crossed into the territory of Ayacucho and later arrived in Cusco.
Province of Camaná
173 km / 567.6 miles southwest of Arequipa (2 hours and 30 minutes by car)
Here, the central territory of Arequipa is located. During the pre-Hispanic era, cultures like the Nasca, Paracas, Waris, Collaguas, Chuquibambas, and Incas lived in this pleasant valley. In 1539, the city of Camaná was founded under the name of “Villa Hermosa de Camaná” (Beautiful Villa of Camaná).
It is located 10-40 km. from the city of Camaná (5 to 20 minutes by car)
The beautiful beaches stretching to the Pacific Ocean are the best part of this area. These include la Punta, Cerrillos, el Chorro, las Cuevas, Quilca, la Miel, Arantas, Honoratos, La Playuela, etc. Some of these beaches are often visited by adventure sports and fishing aficionados.
José María Quimper Archeological Museum – El Cardo
Located in the District of El Cardo, 20 km. from Camaná (20 minutes by car)
There, you can see 10,000 years of history through the uncountable objects among which appear vestiges of the Nasca, Paracas, Wari, Chuquibamba, Collagua, and Incan cultures.
Enjoy a variety of wild bird species: ducks, antshrikes, moorehens, geese, flamingos, and others.
33 km / 20.5 miles from the city of Camaná (30 minutes by car)
The first southern Peruvian port, it is known for being the place where the hero of the War of the Pacific, Admiral Miguel Grau, defied the Chilean fleet commanded by Monitor Huáscar. It is ideal for underwater hunting and ecotourism.
Roads used in pre-Hispanic times. Today, bicyclists, walkers, and equestrians use them.
Located on the right bank of the Camaná River at kilometer marker 826 of the Pan-American Highway South, you can enjoy nature and watch the waters flow into the Pacific Ocean.