Towering over the Historic Center of Arequipa and backed by the imposing Mt. Misti volcano, the Basilica Cathedral is a photographer’s dream. The colonial structure, which dates back to the 14th century, has survived natural disasters including fires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions and is the most important Catholic church in the city.
A stop at the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa is a staple of Arequipa sightseeing tours. Ideal for visitors exploring the Historic Center of Arequipa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the first time, walking tours provide historical context and allow you to skip the hassle of navigating the area’s mazelike streets. Some tours also go inside the Monastery of St. Catherine (Monasterio de Santa Catalina).
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa is a must-see for first-time visitors to Arequipa.
- The basilica is the only cathedral in Peru that stretches the length of a plaza.
- There is a small entrance fee to visit the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa.
- The cathedral houses a small museum, which offers guided tours.
How to Get There
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa stands on the edge of Plaza de Armas, a bustling square in the middle of the Historic Center of Arequipa. The vast majority of accommodation options are located in and around the Old Town, so it’s likely that the cathedral will be within walking distance of your hotel.
When to Get There
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa is open Monday to Saturday in the early morning and early evening, and midday Sunday. If you visit before 7am, the admission fee is waived. The cathedral’s museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and offers guided tours throughout the day.
European Contributions to the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
As one of only 100 cathedrals around the world to display the Vatican flag, the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa has a distinctly European flair. Its 12 columns made from Italian marble symbolize the 12 apostles; a wooden pulpit was intricately carved in France; and the Byzantine-style lamp hanging before the altar is Spanish.