Arequipa Peru: Our 2023 detailed guide from how to get there, where to stay, how to book the Colca Canyon and more!

Arequipa Brief Summary:

  • Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city with a population of over 800,000 people and arguably the most beautiful city in Peru.
  • Situated about 2,335 metres above sea level in the shadows of the stunning ice capped Misti Volcano (5,822 metres).
  • The perfect place for hopsters to acclimatise to altitude for tours of the Colca Valley and Machu Picchu further down the line.

Arequipa Guide Contents:

  1. How to get to Arequipa – Compare transportation options.
  2. Must do in Arequipa – A list of the most popular activities for travellers.
  3. Must see in Arequipa – The sights you cannot miss.
  4. Arequipa Safety Tips – Safety issues to be aware of.
  5. Where to stay in Arequipa – The best hotel/hostel options.
  6. Photo Gallery – A few of the best photos of Arequipa.

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How to get to Arequipa


  • Flight to Rodríguez Ballón International Airport
  • Public bus
  • Peru Hop bus

The quickest way to reach Arequipa is by plane but this means you will miss seeing everything along the way. The airport does not receive international flights so this option is only available to those already in Peru. Upon arrival, take a taxi for a 30 minute ride to Plaza de Armas where most hotels and hostels are located.

Public buses from Lima take roughly 17 hours to reach Arequipa with no stops. Although you can find some comfortable buses, usually being the most expensive ones, it is a long journey and you will miss all of the things to see along the way.

Peru Hop has buses to Arequipa, as well. Our bus passes include stops where you can choose to hop off along the way to Arequipa. Our stops from Lima to Arequipa include Paracas, Huacachina and Nazca. If you take a Peru Hop bus From Cusco to Arequipa you can choose to stop and hop off in Puno.

Must do in Arequipa

  • Tour or trek the Colca Canyon, the second deepest in the world.
  • Visit the mesmerizing Ruta del Sillar
  • Go rafting on the famous Chili River
  • Walking tour of Historical Centre, named a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Siena, a fascinating colonial building.
  • Try the local cuisine at one of the ‘Picanterias’ around Arequipa.

There is a lot of tours and sightseeing options in Arequipa. The main attraction in the Arequipa area is the picturesque Colca Valley, an area of incredible beauty. It is one of the world’s deepest canyons, reaching a depth of 4,160 meters and it is home to the famous Andean Condor birds. The valley also has a vibrant indigenous culture including many examples of Inca agricultural terraces and irrigation systems, hot springs at La Calera as well as a range of activities from adventure sports to tourist homestays. A wide range of tours, treks and excursions leave Arequipa daily and we can facilitate or recommend tours to anybody on board, just simply contact us or ask your Peru Hop guide!

For all the architecture lovers, the city is also known as “La Ciudad Blanca” or the “White City” due to the beautiful white structures seen around the city built out of “sillar”, a white rock obtained from the numerous nearby volcanoes. The historical centre of the city is home to numerous religious convents, monasteries, catholic churches and museums. For this reason, the Historical Centre has been named a Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With all of this beauty and history, Arequipa is the perfect place to enjoy a walking tour.

The local cuisine in Arequipa is argued to be the most varied in all of Peru and while in Arequipa we encourage you to check out many of the traditional “Picanterias” to try out the local dishes such as Rocoto Relleno (Can be quite hot so make sure to ask in advance), Alpaca Steaks, Ocopo, Chactoad and many more. As well as this, the nightlife in Arequipa is amongst the best in Peru with many late-night bars and discotheques.

Must see in Arequipa

  • Go see the Mummy Juanita also known as the Inca Ice Maiden, the ice preserved mummy of a small child who was killed as an offering to the Inca gods.
  • Check out the exhibitions from one of the many museums in Arequipa:
  • Art Museum
  • Archaeological Museum of the Santa Maria Catholic University
  • Archaeological Museum of the National University of San Agustín
  • Sanctuary Museum

Arequipa Safety Tips

  • Be careful using ATM machines and avoid using them at night when possible.
  • Carry small change – many taxis/small shops don’t have change, so try to use small notes/coins.
  • Be aware of pickpockets and NEVER take your passport or credit card anywhere unless 100% necessary.

Where To Stay

Flying Dog Hostel

Description: Spacious but quiet hostel with good facilities.

Facilities: Bar, pool table, lounge area.

Excellent for: Couples or people who want to relax and chill out

Peru Hop Deal: Up to 16% OFF for Peru Hop passengers

Room TypeNormal PricePeru Hop Price
Simple S/B 65 Soles PR55 Soles PR
Simple P/B 85 Soles PR75 Soles PR
Double/Twin P/B 110 Soles PR95 Soles PR
Double S/B 85 Soles PR75 Soles PR
Premium 150 Soles PR135 Soles PR
Triple P/B 150 Soles PR130 Soles PR
Quadruple P/B 180 Soles PR160 Soles PR
PR: per room S/B: shared bathroom | P/B: private bathroom

How to Book: Email [email protected] and say you are a Peru Hop passenger.

Conditions: Rooms in hostel or hotel depending on availability. Prices are only applicable if you book through us.

Casa de Avila Hostel

Description: Ample and comfortable hotel with a large, central chill-out garden and private rooms around it. Breakfast buffet included.

Facilities: Private rooms with direct access to the garden. Social & games room, cafeteria, sun loungers, terrace, and mini gym.

Additional: Early Check-in (5 am). Cooking classes. Laundry. Tour desk. Free luggage storage. Exclusive night and gastronomic tours.

Peru Hop Deal: Up to 10% OFF and 5% discount on restaurant (best available rate) for Peru Hop passengers.

Room TypeNormal PricePeru Hop Price
Single46 USD PR41 USD PR
Twin51 USD PR46 USD PR
Queen50 USD PR45 USD PR
Triple62 USD PR56 USD PR
King61 USD PR55 USD PR
PR: per room

How to Book: Through their website here.

Photo Gallery