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Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa in Peru, a so-called White city, is perhaps one of the most underrated places to visit in Peru. Located in the south-west region of the country, it’s usually out of the way of those travelers who follow the typical LimaCuscoMachu PicchuAmazon Rain Forest route.

Planning to do solo travel Peru? As a solo traveler and digital nomad, I wasn’t constrained by any time limits. Therefore I decided to visit Arequipa for a few days and see what this city has to offer.

Spoiler alert: What a hidden gem! Peru solo travel definitely didn’t disappoint. Let’s begin your solo travel to Peru here!

Arequipa, Peru is a solo traveler's dream destination with its magnificent church and stunning backdrop of a volcano.

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

Top Things To Do in Arequipa Peru

  1. Visit the Plaza de Armas
  2. Explore Santa Catalina Monastery
  3. Hike Colca Canyon
  4. Visit San Camilo local market
  5. Spend the afternoon at
  6. Check out city views from
  7. Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
  8. Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
  9. Trek El Misti volcano
  10. Wander around the city centre

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Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa, Peru

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Arequipa ToursClick here to check out the top Arequipa tours
Best Arequipa Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Arequipa
Best Arequipa Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Arequipa

Top 10 Things to do In Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa Peru Guide

1. The Main Square (Plaza de Armas)

UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 is one of the most spectacular historic centers you will find in South America. There is a lively atmosphere with locals, who are wandering around while tourists are busy taking photos next to the Basilica Cathedral. It’s always quite a busy place!

This is one of the things to do in Arequipa Peru. If you are lucky to visit Arequipa on one of their national holidays, you will spot marches and festivals happening right there.

2. Santa Catalina Monastery (Monasterio de Santa Catalina)

This solo travel Peru guide won’t be complete without this! Located just 5-minute walk from Plaza de Armas, Santa Catalina Monastery is one of the most popular sites. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you are welcome to visit the monastery, which dates back to the 16th century.

The most important colonial building in the city, it’s full of bright colors and drawings. You can walk around to visit the kitchen and rooms, which were used by nuns. The entrance fee is 40 soles / 12 USD.

3. Hike Colca Canyon

Your solo travel to Peru should include Colca Canyon.

As you walk around the city, you will be offered Colca Canyon tours. This is one of the main reasons people decide to come to Arequipa – to check if Colca Canyon really resembles the Grand Canyon and challenge themselves to hike it. It’s not an easy hike, and you will need to acclimatize before attempting it.

Also, Colca Canyon is the place to spot Condors taking off and landing right before your eyes, making it one of the best things to do in Arequipa peru.

4. Visit San Camilo local market

If your Peru solo travel doesn’t include visiting a single local market, what’s the point? This is where real life happens! Cheap, delicious meals for less than 2 USD, fresh produce and A LOT of potatoes.

You know what to do Arequipa as in any other places. Be careful to keep your belongings out of reach (don’t flash your new camera or iPhone) as there are known cases of pickpocketing.

5. Alpaca World (Mundo Alpaca)

Your solo travel Peru isn’t complete without visiting Alpaca world. Can you ever get enough of cute alpacas? Even after 3 weeks in Peru, when you get used to seeing them everywhere and know why Peruvian people randomly walk with them on the streets, I still recommend visiting Mundo Alpaca.

Considered one of the unique arequipa things to do, It has a large wool store, where you can learn how they produce textiles from Alpaca wool. Can be quite touristy but there is a bonus: you can pet a real Alpaca for free!

6. Check out city views from Yanahuara Viewpoint

One of the best Arequipa things to do is walk up to Viewpoint to have your breath taken away by the stunning view of the city and the mountains surrounding it.

The Sillar brick archway is a truly romantic place for some IG-worthy photos as there are poems of famous Arequipeño poets unscripted on it, which could be perfect for your solo travel to Peru.

7. Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

This is the building you see in everyone’s photos from Arequipa, which makes visiting it one of the famous things to do in Arequipa Peru. Located right at the Main Square, this is the largest Catholic Church you can find in White City.

Unfortunately, the original 16th-century building was destroyed by numerous earthquakes and fires. It was rebuilt and renovated twice, which still doesn’t lessen the beauty of the place. The entrance fee costs only 10 soles / 3 USD.

8. Museum of Andean Sanctuaries (Museo de Santuarios Andinos)

Arequipa is a city with a significant cultural and historical heritage, which could be your favorite Arequipa things to do. And the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries is the place to discover some of the best anthropological findings in the area.

Do you know the mummies can be found not in Egypt only? Actually, you can see one in this museum. The mummy of a 12-year-old Inca girl, who was sacrificed in the 1450s, is kept here and shocks you with how preserved it is. Entrance fee 25 soles (7 USD).

Isn’t it a unique experience for your Peru solo travel?

9. Trek El Misti volcano

As you arrive in Arequipa, you will see how “flat” the city’s architecture is and in contrast can appreciate the grandness of El Misti volcano. Trekking up this volcano isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Arequipa Peru altitude is at 2335 meters (7660 feet). If you are arriving in Arequipa from low-altitude places, I highly recommend to acclimatise first, take pills to prevent altitude sickness. I learnt my lesson!

10. Wander around the city centre

You have two options in this solo travel Peru guide: either a free walking tour or DIY-let’s-get-lost tour. I decided on the latter option and didn’t regret it a bit! It’s not the biggest city, and you can explore it on foot.

Leave behind numerous shops selling souvenirs, coffee shops and cafés in the city centre and take yourself out there for a walk around local neighbourhoods. But I turned on my GPS in case I wandered off too far to find my way back without it. I did it solo in the daytime and felt safe!

What to pack for Peru female travelers if you’re planning to wander around? Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses!

A plate of food on a table next to a laptop in Arequipa, Peru.

Food In Arequipa, Peru

This Peru solo travel will definitely include food! If you are tired of eating quinoa with every meal (that’s a staple food of many Peruvians just like what rice is for Asians), then Arequipa is a city which offers a twist on traditional Peruvian cuisine. 

Every local restaurant will be happy and proud to offer you Arequipeño food, only found in their beloved city. Picanterias are the local eateries, immensely popular with local families. Peru isn’t a particularly vegetarian-friendly destination as most of the meals are cooked with either meat, fish or chicken.

Places worth checking out: La Nueva Palomino for lunch, not far away from the Viewpoint. For vegan lunch, head to Prana. Hands down the best vegan lunch I had in Peru!

Must-try Arequipeño food: The Rocoto Relleno (meat-stuffed pepper), Pastel de Papa (layered potatoes with cheese), Chupe de Camarones (seafood soup).

I tried all of the above in the restaurant next to Prana, on the second floor. It’s a relatively new place and not even located on the map, but they serve very delicious meals. Super-friendly servers will use Google Translate to help you choose your next dish if you do not comprendo Español. It’s slightly pricey than other places (I paid about 60 soles / 17 USD for a special meal with a drink for Arequipa National Day) but totally worth it.

What to do Arequipa when you’re on a budget? To save money on food, you can take advantage of Menú del Dia. Almost every local restaurant offers a set, which consists of a drink, soup, main dish and sometimes even a dessert! For instance, the one in Prana was only 10 soles, and it was so good that I went there twice.

Arequipa Money Saving Tips

There are a few ways you can keep costs down on your visit to Arequipa during your Peru solo travel. Here are some top tips:

Eat the menu del dia

At lunchtime in Peru, you will find most local restaurants serving a menu del Dia, which is basically a set menu of the day. You can oftern get a great meal for 9 Sol ($3 USD). It’s cheap and will keep you full all-day.

Us the Colectivos

A collective is a common term used in Latin America for a minivan that runs along a set route transporting local people around. they are always cheap and often there is a door opposition (audante). The cost is always very cheap, normally around 1-2 Sol ($0.30-0.60 USD) per ride. 

Look Out For Accommodation With Kitchens

If you want to save money by cooking for yourself during your solo travel to Peru then I would strongly suggest checking before booking that the accommodation has a kitchen. 

Save money on accommodation using Worldpackers 

This is how I was able to stay in Guatemala for almost a year rent-free! There are lots of opportunities in Peru and it’s not expensive to join and if you join through my link and use the discount code in this blog post you get some money off… you’re welcome!

Don’t buy Bottled Water

Although the water isn’t safe to drink directly from the tap, almost all businesses including hostels have clean drinking water and they will almost always provide it for free. Although some hostels may ask for a small fee if you want to fill up large water bottles. So be sure to bring a good water bottle with you.

Take Some Spanish Classes 

If you want to save money then one sure-fire way to do so is to take some Spanish classes. It’s amazing how things magically become cheaper when you speak to the person selling those things in their language. From getting the right fare from the taxi driver to haggling at the market, think of the money spent on learning Spanish as an investment. Read these posts to learn more about my experience of learning Spanish in Medellin and Cali.

I also took this course ran by my friends at Heart of Travel.

Arequipa Packing Advice

What to pack for Peru female solo travelers?

Overall, casual clothes are beautiful to explore Arequipa. Comfortable shoes are must-have for a nice walk around the city. If you plan to trek either or El Misti, or perhaps both of them, pack hiking boots, fleece jackets and leggings.

Where to Stay in Arequipa, Peru

Now that you get an idea of things to do in Arequipa peru, let’s talk accommodation!

The best option for accommodation in Arequipa would be booking something closer to the historic city centre, and luckily that’s where most hotels and hostels are.

Low budget and party vibes: Wild Rover, famous party hostel chain in Peru. Although, Arequipa one is slightly quieter than other locations. Mostly young-ish backpacker crowd looking to socialise, drink beer and mingle.

Mid budget and cosy vibes: Selina is a trendy accommodation/coworking chain in South and Central America, famous for designer touch to each of their hostels.

I stayed at Selina in Arequipa and can’t recommend it enough! They offer plenty of cosy indoor and outdoor space. The treehouse in the garden and swings are the most loved places to chill. And they even have got a swimming pool!

If you’re having your solo travel Peru and still working, they also have co-working space for those who need to get work done.

High budget and design vibes: Katari Hotel is located right at the Plaza de Armas. The mix of colonial elegance and Andean heritage makes you fall in love with this hotel. Great location, high-class service and friendly staff make your stay in Arequipa unforgettable.

Arequipa Peru Guide

Getting Around in Arequipa, Peru

As a solo female traveller having my solo travel to Peru, who sometimes would arrive or leave to new cities in ridiculous hours (5 am or 10 pm), I always used Uber to get to my accommodation property. It’s really affordable and saves you a hassle to bargain with local taxi drivers.

If you arrive in Arequipa from Lima, Puno or Huacachina, I recommend taking Cruz Del Sur bus company. It’s slightly more expensive than another famous bus company – Peru Hop. Still, they offer such a high-quality service on all their bus rides, including wi-fi, snacks, water, blankets and even have in-built entertainment displays.

Peru has a well-developed extensive bus network, which allows you to travel from one city to another on a budget. You can take regular class tickets or splurge on VIP ones.

As you list your things to do in Arequipa peru, Just make sure to plan your itinerary considering time and distance between destination A to destination B as Peru isn’t just big, it’s MASSIVE. I’ve taken a few overnight buses as a solo traveller, including being the only foreigner on some of them. It felt safe as every bus company checks your passport or another form of ID before letting you on the bus and have their lists of passengers printed at all times.

During your Peru solo travel, remember that every bus company in Peru has its own terminal either at the central city bus station. But they also can be located on the other side of the city (talk about the confusion!). Always double-check which bus terminal you need.

At some locations, you will need to pay transportation tax to get your ticket stamped. Usually, it’s only 2 soles or even less.

Arequipa Safety Advice

As a solo female traveler in my solo travel to Peru, I always double-check the safety in my next destination. I felt very safe in this White City. Moreover, I wasn’t catcalled or sexually harassed even once when I was walking alone in Arequipa! But keep your guards up as there are always pit pockets, who are looking to steal wallets or phones from inattentive tourists.

Especially in crowded places, like markets. I once forgot my laptop charger in a café at the Main Square, and when I realised that I didn’t have it on me, it’d been a couple hours already. I went back to the same place before they closed, and lovely owners hid my charger behind the counter. General safety tips would be: Always have your GPS on, especially if you love walking around without a specific destination in mind. offers offline maps, and you can also download offline Arequipa city map on Google Maps.

Don’t flash your expensive belongings or money in public places. Peru is a developing country, and it’s safer for you to keep your wits about your phone, camera, documents and wallet. If you need to catch an early-morning or late-night bus, use Uber. It’s safe and affordable. Learn some basic Spanish, it really helps! Almost no one speaks English, which can be tricky if you need to ask for help.

I believe there are many arequipa things to do on your list, but always be cautious of your surroundings!

Arequipa Travel Guide planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Peru?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Peru?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

The Best Time To Visit Arequipa, Peru

I visited Peru in August when it was winter in the southern hemisphere. However, Peru is a large country with many different climate zones. While Cusco and Lima were cold with low temperatures, Arequipa was surprisingly sunny and warm.

The best time to visit Arequipa is from early April to early December when it’s the dry season in Peru. You would need a light jacket or long-sleeve shirt to keep your warm at night. But bring your swimsuit too in case if your lodging has a swimming pool, you won’t resist taking a dip!

Author Bio

A woman in a denim jacket sitting at a table in Arequipa, Peru.
I’m Bernara, a founder of In Her Stories – a travel blog for curious nomads. I started travelling solo in 2016 and since then have visited over 40 different countries. I tried all kinds of different travelling styles (backpacking, flashpacking and luxury tours) before finding my balance. I still work remotely and discover the world one country at a time-sharing best travel tips with those curious minds, who want to explore the world. You can follow my adventures on Instagram @inherstories. Instagram: Facebook:

What to Read in Peru

If you want a guide to Machu Picchu written by a very adventurous adventure writer Turn Right at Machu Picchu is it. It’s a New York Times best selling travel memoir, and a pretty funny account of Mark Adams’s attempt to recreate the original expedition to Machu Picchu. The biggest problem though is his lack of experience. Although he called himself an adventure travel writer, he has spent more time writing about adventure, than actually having it. In fact, he had never even slept a night in a tent! 

Conversation in The Cathedral takes place in 1950s Peru during the dictatorship of Manuel A. Odría and it’s the perfect companion if you want to gain a deeper understanding of Peru’s history. 

The book is a work of fiction that weaves a complicated web of secrets and historical references.  Llosa analyzes both the mental and moral mechanisms that govern power and the people behind it. Conversation in The Cathedral tackles the subject of identity and how a lack of personal freedom can forever scar a people and a nation.

In this book, José María Arguedas beautifully describes the magic of the Peruvian landscape, as well as the grimness of the social conditions in the Andes. The story follows Ernesto, a young man whose internal identity conflict reflects the larger struggle between native and Spanish cultures in Peru.

The book explores the serious and deep-rooted social issues still prevalent in Peru today while capturing the beauty of the landscapes. It’s a great read for anyone wanting to delve a little deeper.

Check out My travel books

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The Solo Girls Guide to Traveling Without Fear

arequipa,solo travel peru,arequipa peru

The solo girls guide to becoming a digital nomad

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