Arequipa is a beautiful city with fascinating history and architecture with a backdrop of dramatic volcanoes. Here is the full 1 day in Arequipa itinerary to make sure you get the most out of visiting Arequipa.
It is also the 2nd largest city in Peru. Arequipa has UNESCO world heritage status and is a must see on your trip to Peru. Nicknamed the ‘white city’ the buildings are made from a white volcanic sillar. The architecture reflects the colonial style from the Spanish conquistadors.
Why Visit Arequipa
Arequipa should definitely on your list of places to visit on your trip to Peru, even if only just for one day! It is a great balance of natural and manmade beauty. There are many opportunities to learn about the history of Peru in the city too.
Is 1 day in Arequipa Enough?
1 day in Arequipa is very short but it is enough time to see the main sights and get a feel of this beautiful city. If you are short on time during your trip to Peru, try and squeeze it in as it is really worth it!
What Altitude is Arequipa?
Arequipa is at an altitude of 2335m above sea level. This is lower than Cusco which is at 3399m and significantly lower than Puno which is 3827m. A short stay in Arequipa could give your body a chance to adjust to higher altitude before tackling a hike to Machu Picchu such as the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek.
How to Get to Arequipa
The bus from Lima to Arequipa is 17 hours so prepare for a long one. There are also buses from Arequipa to Nazca, Huacachina, Cusco and Puno.
Where to Stay in Arequipa
Here are the best spots to stay in Arequipa for every budget:
1 Day in Arequipa Itinerary
Wake up and Enjoy Some fresh Peruvian Coffee
To start off your 1 day itinerary in Arequipa, start the day with a lovely breakfast in your accommodation take the time to enjoy a fresh pot of lovely Peruvian coffee.
After breakfast, head over to Plaza De Armas to get the feel of this beautiful city. Plaza de Armas (or the ‘main square’) is home to Arequipa’s impressive cathedral. This impressive square is known to be one of the most beautiful in South America.
Head to San Camilo market
After Plaza de Armas, wander the streets of the old town of this bustling city. Make your way to San Camilo market. This market is amazing and sells everything you could need from fruits and veg, textiles and flowers. I stopped off at one of the juice stalls for a lovely refreshing fruit juice. This is a great chance to sit down and watch the world go by with a really tasty drink.
Do a Walking Tour
There are many free walking tours in Arequipa in which the guides are paid by the tips. I chose to go with Carlos from ‘walking tour for tips’. The tours start at 10.45am from San Francisco square and lasts about 3 hours. I highly recommend this walking tour. Carlos is really knowledgeable and took me to spots I would’ve never have found on my own. As well as this he gives out tips for Arequipa in general including best places to eat, free ATMs and best place to buy souvenirs.
This walking tour takes you throughout the old town and Carlos points out some of the most interesting buildings in the city and the story behind them. One of my favourites actually ended up being a square that was now home to a working bank!
Another point not to miss in the city is the Mirador Yanahuara. This viewpoint gives a view over the city as well as the backdrop of the volcanoes.
Have a break for some lunch
The best thing of all itineraries, the food stop! After the walking tour, check out one of the local restaurants the ‘picanterias’. These restaurants serve a variety of dishes local to the region and are a must visit in Arequipa. If you have done the walking tour, Carlos will have given you some of the best restaurants in town to eat at.
Walk around old town
After lunch, explore more of the old town and spend some time to appreciate some of the buildings from the inside. A very popular place to visit is the Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena.
Optional: Peruvian cooking class
I did a Peruvian cooking class in Arequipa and had a great time. We learnt the seafood menu which included learning how to cook the traditional dish Ceviche. I really enjoyed this and it gave me an insight into the way that Peruvian’s cook and their speciality dishes.
Eat cheese ice-cream
One of Arequipas most famous dishes is cheese ice-cream, yep, cheese ice cream! Helado Queso can be found all over Arequipa. One of the best places to find it is in the San Camilo market. As bizarre as it sounds, it’s really delicious! Try it and you might love it.
Enjoy Sunset on a Rooftop
No trip to Arequipa would be complete without a sunset rooftop drink. I went to Le Foyer and absolutely loved it. Of course, you need to couple the sunset with a Pisco Sour. A Pisco Sour is the Peruvian classic and is absolutely delicious.
To finish off your 1 day trip to Arequipa, head to a delicious dinner. There are many options of places to eat in Arequipa. Pack to life have done a great summary of the best places to find an evening meal here.
That’s the end of the full 1 day in Arequipa Itinerary
I hope you have found this 1 day in Arequipa itinerary and that you enjoy your time there. Please let me know in the comments about your time there!