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Overview

Often overlooked by visitors, the dazzling white city of Arequipa is the second-largest metropolis in Peru. It's a vibrant and fashionable burg where enjoying life always comes first. While browsing for antiques, for example, pause for afternoon tea on a shady balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas. At night, splash out on a modern restaurant and let loose at thumping nightclubs. By day, the city's colonial streets appear more refined, being full of ornate Catholic churches and convents, including the massive Santa Catalina Monastery, which was shrouded in secrecy for centuries. Archaeological treasures from around the region are displayed ...

Often overlooked by visitors, the dazzling white city of Arequipa is the second-largest metropolis in Peru. It's a vibrant and fashionable burg where enjoying life always comes first. While browsing for antiques, for example, pause for afternoon tea on a shady balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas. At night, splash out on a modern restaurant and let loose at thumping nightclubs. By day, the city's colonial streets appear more refined, being full of ornate Catholic churches and convents, including the massive Santa Catalina Monastery, which was shrouded in secrecy for centuries. Archaeological treasures from around the region are displayed at museums, including the one that houses the frozen Inca maiden, called "Juanita," whose body was sacrificed to the gods over 500 years ago. The city's suburbs are a slice of rural life, with their open-air restaurants and countryside walking paths. Arequipa is also a gateway to adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventures: trekking between remote villages in the world's deepest canyons, climbing icy volcanoes, or whitewater rafting on wild rivers.

Sara Benson
About the Expert

Sara Benson was the coordinating author for Lonely Planet's Peru and wrote the Peru chapter for South America on a Shoestring.

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Sara Benson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June through August. Also Holy Week and Easter holiday season.