Peru Guide:

Best of Arequipa

Peru Guide:

Best of Arequipa

Best things to do in Arequipa

After sitting on a bus all day we were dying to find the best things to do in Arequipa. We had taken a night bus from Cusco to Puno, then done a full day tour of Lake Titicaca, then taken another bus to Arequipa. Despite being a bit tired from being on the go, we wanted to make the most of our two nights. This is one of the cities we wished we had more time to spend because we just barely scratched the surface.

Plaza de Armas

As it turns out, every city in Peru (at least all the ones we went to) had a Plaza de Armas. Although we didn't see any parades in this one, it's still the main square of the city. Apparently Arequipa is known as the 'White City', which we didn't really understand why until we came to the main square. All the buildings in Plaza de Armas are constructed of white marble and sillar, a white volcanic rock. Outside of the plaza, all the other buildings are a wide variety of colors.

While we walked around Plaza de Armas we saw a group of protesters, which we also saw in Cusco. We learned that we had just come to Peru a few weeks after their elections so there still seemed to be a bit of political discourse. I always find it interesting to learn about other country's current state of political affairs, however, we never felt in harms way during the peaceful protests we observed.

plaza de armas arequipa peru
plaza de armas arequipa
plaza de armas white city arequipa
Grab some Grub

There are tons of restaurants around Plaza de Armas. The ones in the actual plaza will be a bit more expensive than if you venture into the side streets. We actually found some extremely cheap (~$7 USD for two people) at some of the Chinese (Chino) restaurants on Calle Pte. Bolognesi.

Drink a Pisco Sour

This drink is mostly popular among tourists so be sure to ask for a brand of Pisco while ordering your Pisco Sour. If you don't specify, you're probably getting the bottom of the barrel Pisco that could have Methanol in it. Look at the menu for some brands the restaurant carries. If none are listed, some typical brands are Barsol, La Bodija, Aromatico, or Mosto Verde.

pisco sour casa de avila arequipa peru
pisco sour at casa de avila in arequipa

The owner of Casa de Avila, Armando, has great recommendations of what to do in Peru, and also Arequipa. He also offers a free hour long class on how to make Pisco Sour. Pisco is a traditional Peruvian liquor derived from distilled grapes.

Armando went over the Peruvian traditions and history behind Pisco. He was truly welcoming by showing us how to make (and even order) the traditional drink. It turns out, most Peruvians drink Pisco straight, and only have Pisco Sour on special occasions.

How to make a Pisco Sour
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3 ounces of Pisco
  • 1 ounce syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters
  • Shake thoroughly until lightly frothy at the top
Shopping Galore

There are actually a lot of small shopping malls and stores around the streets of Arequipa. Funny Story, while looking for the bathroom in a shopping mall, the escalator actually ate my flip flops. Fast forward to me walking around bare foot for quite some time in search of a new pair of sandals. The streets were surprisingly clean!

Everybody we asked was super friendly, but they always said what we needed we just around the corner. We told one of our Chilean friends about this and she said Peruvians are known for doing that. It's because they are too nice and even if they don't know they will tell you it's close because they don't want to be rude.

shopping galore in arequipa

See how this fits into our Peru Route:

How to get to Arequipa

*Pro Tip* - If you book your bus tickets online, it's possible to choose which seats you want. The 2nd floor, 1st row is where it's at if you want a gorgeous riding experience.

The ride from Puno to Arequipa took about 8 hours by bus, but was a beautiful drive. We were actually supposed to take another overnight bus from Puno to Arequipa but Molly actually got food poisoning and couldn't spend another night on the bus. Vomiting on an overnight bus with a small bathroom is not a fun experience.

Although this was kind of a bummer, it actually worked out well because we really enjoyed sitting on the bus during the day seeing the beautiful Peruvian countryside. We booked a semi-cama bus with Cruz del Sur; we rode with them a few times and had a pretty good experience with during our time in Peru. Read more about our experience with taking Buses around Peru.

*Pro Tip* - If you book your bus tickets online, it's possible to choose which seats you want. The 2nd floor, 1st row is where it's at if you want a gorgeous riding experience.

how to get to arequipa peru by bus

Where to stay in Arequipa

From our experience, we like to use Hostel World to check out potential hostels, then check other booking websites like to make our reservations. Sometimes we also message hostels directly to get a better price. We also like to use Airbnb to book accommodations if its a better deal than hostels. Clicking on either of the icons will give you a deal with either of the sites, but are affiliate links so we earn a small commission.

Bungalows: $16+ USD

Private Rooms: $10-$60 USD

Amenities: Free Water Refills, Mini Bar, Pool, Balinese/English, 15-20 minute walk from the beach, Scooter Rentals, Kitchen

After three long days of travel and tours (I know, sounds horrible right?), we were so glad to have two nights in Arequipa to rest up a bit. We splurged a bit and booked two nights at Casa de Avila we heard amazing reviews They have a beautiful courtyard and an unreal breakfast buffet that had me going back for seconds... and thirds. With free breakfast, WiFi and a gorgeous courtyard to do yoga in, what else could you ask for? Plus, we did learn how to make Pisco Sours.

Dorms: $8.00+ USD

Private Rooms: $20.00+ USD

Amenities: Free Breakfast, Free Wifi, Outdoor Terrace, 24 Hr Reception, Self Catering & Laundry Facilities

Photo Courtesy:

Dorms: $7.88+ USD

Private Rooms: $30.02+ USD

Amenities: Free Wifi, Laundry Facilities, Pool, Bar/Restaurant, Outdoor Terrace

Photo Courtesy:
Photo Courtesy:

Dorms: $7.00+ USD

Private Rooms: $20.00+ USD

Amenities: Free Wifi, Free Breakfast, Coffee/Tea, Bar, Laundry Facilities, 24 Hr Reception/Security, Travel Desk

Photo Courtesy:

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