Ringed by volcanoes and known for its white colonial architecture, Arequipa delivers when it comes to culture, nature, and history. With only one day in the White City, you can take in its top sights, learn about its rich history, and even squeeze in a Peruvian cooking class. Here’s how.
Devote the morning to getting your bearings in the historic center of Arequipa, which is made entirely out of a white volcanic rock known as sillar. The area’s cobbled streets lend themselves well to walking tours, but other sightseeing options include hop-on-hop-off-bus tours—which allow you to customize your itinerary—and bike tours. Whatever you choose, you’ll take in such highlights as the neoclassical Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa, which reigns over the bustling Plaza de Armas main square, and the Monastery of St. Catherine (Monasterio de Santa Catalina).
Go farther afield this afternoon and explore the outskirts of Arequipa, where you’ll find several colonial landmarks and vista points that offer sweeping city views. In order to save yourself the stress of car rental and navigation, opt for a tour that comes with round-trip transfers; tours typically cover the 17th-century Founder’s Mansion (La Mansión del Fundador), the Sabandía Mill (Molino de Sabandía), and Moral House (Casa de Moral), which displays a collection of maps, religious art, and Peruvian coins that date back hundreds of years.
No visit to Peru—the culinary capital of Latin America—would be complete without delving deeper into local cuisine, and a cooking class is a great way to do it. Choose between a private or group cooking class, or—if you’d rather focus less on cooking and more on eating—opt for a tour that reveals the history and culture of Arequipa through dishes and drinks from local restaurants.