Arequipa Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
The World Heritage city of Arequipa has a long and strong colonial past, although in recent years has become something of a centre for outdoor activities and similar tourist attractions. Some of the most popular recreational attractions around Arequipa include hiking and trekking, mountaineering, river running (white-water rafting), and mountain biking.
One of the best ways to travel around this part of south Peru
, and explore its many varied tourist attractions, is to join a guided tour, onboard a fully air-conditioned, double-decker open-top bus. Regular bus tours of Arequipa and beyond depart from the Plaza de Armas and are very cheap, with a choice of either two-hour or four-hour bus tours available.
Guided Bus Tours
Address: Arequipa, Peru, PE
Bus tours of Arequipa are recommended and English-speaking guides will point out the main sights as you travel, provide commentary along the way and offer an insight into the history of the 'White City' and its surrounding valleys. Buses make several stops, allowing you to explore a colonial mansion, a tropical fruit farm, and even a historical 18th-century mill, which still remains in full working order today.
Open hours: daily - seasonal variations
Admission: charge, discounts available
Recreational Outdoor Activities
Address: Arequipa, Peru, PE
Those who are looking for something a little different on their trip to Peru may well like to consider some of the exciting outdoor activities and recreational attractions on offer within Arequipa. All kinds of adventure tours are available around the city, although do check that guides are officially registered and avoid touts. Since the most popular guides are in great demand, when it comes to booking, plan well ahead and book up as soon as practicably possible. The choice of activities is extensive around southern Peru and includes:
- Trekking / Hiking - with a multitude of hiking options around the canyons of Arequipa, best during the dry season (May to November). Notable treks include the Canon del Colca, the Canon del Cotahuasi, and various trails between villages
- Mountaineering - a number of superb mountains surround the city, although do be sure to allow time to acclimatise to high altitudes. Whilst some climbs are not actually technically difficult, they can be tiring and also cold at the highest of camps. Mountaineering trips include the Chicani, the El Misti volcano, the Hualca Hualca, the Nevado Ampato, the Nevado Coropuna, the Nevado Mismi, the Sabancaya and the Ubinas
- River Running / White-Water Rafting - Arequipa is one of the best spots in Peru to enjoy an afternoon of river running, although some trips are not offered between December and March (the rainy season). White-water rafting is available on rivers such as the Rio Chili, the Rio Colca, the Rio Cotahuasi and the Rio Majes
- Mountain Biking - there are endless mountain biking opportunities close to the city, with organised tours to various attractions, including Chachani, El Misti, and the Laguna de Salinas (salt plains). Transportation is always included in the price
- Horseback Riding - a large stable of horses can be found alongside the Sabandia Mill, suiting all levels of rider. Tuition is on offer if required, and horse rides tend to head out around the Chilina Valley and the Parcuapata slopes
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge for some activities
Molino de Sabandia (Sabandia Mill)
Address: Huasacache, Sabandia Valley, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Holiday makers always enjoy paying a visit to the Sabandia Mill, which is referred to locally as the Molino de Sabandia and located around 8 km / 5 miles from the centre of Arequipa, within the scenic valley. The Sabandia Mill was built almost 400 years ago and after being renovated in the 1970s, this well-preserved stone mill has become something of a major tourist attraction. Offering a chance to see how the Peruvians once ground their grains, the Sabandia Mill is powered by a neighbouring waterfall and is worth seeing for its architecture alone. However, the surrounding landscape boasts views of several volcanoes, including the Chachani and El Misti, and both alpacas and vicunas can be seen freely wandering around the countryside.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children
Address: Barrio de Yanahuara, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 21 0121
The Sachaca is an interesting stone hill and can be found standing close to Tingo, around 4 km / 2.5 miles from the city centre. There is a selection of historical attractions situated around the Sachaca, including a church dating from the early 1870s, which features a stylish Roman-inspired interior and dominates the area. Of course, due to its elevated nature, you can expect some good views as well.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:30 to 17:00
Address: Yanahuara, Arequipa, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 054 21 0121
Yanahuara is a north-eastern suburb of the city and famous for its wonderful white 'sillar' buildings and traditional Spanish Colonial architecture. This area is especially family friendly and it is very easy to while away an entire day, simply walking around and exploring the parks, churches, shops and similar attractions. In particular, the 18th-century Iglesia San Juan Bautista features a very elaborately carved exterior and adds a certain character to the Yanahuara neighbourhood, as do the excellent views of El Misti.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours