The southern beautiful city of Arequipa —located between the coast and the southern Andes of Peru— was included in The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2020 list compiled by the famous Travel + Leisure magazine, Peru’s Exports and Tourism Promotion Board (PromPeru) has highlighted.
The Peruvian city is one of the five South American destinations included in this select list.
A recent publication highlights the preserved colonial architecture of the ‘White City’ —so named for its gleaming structures made from sillar, a volcanic rock— saying it earned the historic center of Arequipa UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000.
According to Travel + Leisure, although a dearth of upmarket lodgings has kept this Peruvian destination off most travelers’ radar, now, the town finally has accommodations befitting the local history.
For instance, August saw the opening of Cirqa, originally built in 1540, the year Arequipa was founded, as an inn for guests of the Church of San Agustin next door.
“The property marries preserved elements of the original parador — high vaulted ceilings, textural stone walls — with contemporary flourishes, such as black-steel-framed windows and a plunge pool,” the article reads.
In addition, Travel + Leisure suggests an experience that is further steeped in history: the cuisine at La Nueva Palomino, where a female-led staff cooks hearty stews from heirloom recipes.
The renowned international travel magazine recommends enjoying the moment while admiring the three volcanoes in the distance (Chachani, Misti, and Pichu Pichu) with a tall glass of chichi —an Andean beer made from corn.
It must be noted that, in addition to its scenic beauty, amazing architecture, rich cultural heritage, and delicious gastronomy, Arequipa offers a warm and homelike environment that encourages visitors to come back.
Arequipa is the second most populated city in Peru. It is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the country due to its impressive landscapes, imposing volcanoes, and for hosting the deepest canyon in the world.
Below is a list of its 10 must-see attractions, according to Andina news agency:
Main Square is in the heart of the city’s urban core. Located in the historic center of Arequipa, this square is famous for its architectural and symmetric harmony. The surrounding area includes Arequipa’s Cathedral and famous portals.
The Santa Catalina Monastery is the city’s most popular spot. Its architectural beauty is impressive and is the best example of the Viceroyalty era splendor. The place includes alleys and passageways —surrounded by arcades— that lead to splendorous courtyards, cloisters, gardens, small squares, and ancient facilities.
Built to accommodate distinguished religious women in the city, the monastery was opened as a place of extreme seclusion and remained as such until 1970.
Regarded as one of the city’s main religious monuments in the 17th century, the Cathedral was built with ashlar (volcanic stone) and brick vaults. It was destroyed in an 1844 fire and rebuilt in 1868 by architect Lucas Poblete.
The Yanahuara Viewpoint is located 2 km away from downtown Arequipa. It was built in the 19th century and comprises a series of ashlar arcades with carved writings of illustrious Arequipa citizens.
The lookout point offers a privileged view of the city and its three volcanoes Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu.
Misti Volcano stands at 5,825 meters above sea level and its slopes are situated 20 km from Arequipa. From the summit, you can see the White City, Chili Valley, as well as Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
It is a religious architectural jewel located at Arequipa’s Main Square. Built in 1590, its construction stands out for its white stone walls and beautiful reliefs decorating its baroque façade.
Known as the south-eastern access point to Arequipa, Sabandia is a locality situated 8 km from the city’s historic center. It is famous for its countryside landscapes and crystal clear springs.
Built in the 18th century, this baroque house is named after an ancient mulberry tree in its central courtyard. The place contains furniture dating from the colonial and republican eras.
Its main attraction is the Lady of Ampato, popularly known as Mummy Juanita. The body of this 12- or 14-year-old girl —buried in the Inca period— was found at the summit of Ampato Volcano.
It is one of the most significant and traditional large houses in the region. This mansion was once owned by Arequipa’s founder Garci Manuel de Carbajal, who ordered its construction for his son.
Later, in 1785, Juan Crisostomo de Goyeneche y Aguerreverre, its new owner, renovated it with the stately characteristics it bears today.
Travel + Leisure has a global reach of 6.7 million readers and conducts annual surveys for travelers to rate their experience in diverse destinations, hotels, airports, and cruises, among others.
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