One of Peru’s most visited cities, Arequipa is the largest and capital city of the Arequipa province, surrounded by three picturesque volcanoes in the country’s Southern Coastal region. The city is nicknamed the “White City” due to its many buildings made from a white stone quarried from the nearby volcanoes.
Arequipa’s popularity is contributed by its wealth of historic sites that include more than 250 structures dating back to Spanish colonial times. Among the most significant of these is the Santa Catalina Convent, which is often described as a city within a city because of its charming streets, colorful buildings and flowers. Beautiful bridges like the Puente Bolognesi also offer historic value as well as scenic views. The city’s main square, the Plaza de Armas, is a common starting point for many tourists with its shops, restaurants and old churches.
The city also has a number of art galleries and museums showcasing the history, art and culture of the area. Bustling marketplaces offer excellent souvenirs such as handicrafts made from fine Alpaca wool and colorful embroidery detailing local daily life.
Arequipa features varied cuisine ranging from international to traditional restaurants known as picanterias where some of the local specialties include alpaca steaks, river shrimp and a dish of fried pork and corn called chicharron.
The majority of the city’s nightlife is found along San Francisco Street where there is an abundance of bars, discotheques, clubs and salsa dancing venues.
Getting around Arequipa is easy by foot and buses while taxis and car rentals are available.