Characterized by a Romanesque steeple, Recoleta Convent provides a pocket of tranquility in the midst of the Historic Center of Arequipa. As well as boasting traditional sillar (white volcanic rock) cloisters, the convent has a museum of Amazonian artifacts—which include preserved jungle animals—and a library with more than 20,000 books. The Basics
For bibliophiles, the library at Recoleta Convent (Monasterio de la Recoleta) is a top draw, with the oldest volume dating back to 1494. The library is open for supervised visits; visitors simply need to ask at the entrance on arrival. Inside the grand wood-paneled library, you’re likely to encounter brown-robed monks browsing the collection. Other points of interest in the convent include Porter Cloister, which features a brick vault, 17th-century furniture, and a spacious courtyard.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The convent museum’s three collections make it a must-visit for history and culture buffs.
- Local guides offer tours of the library and convent throughout the day. Although tours are technically free, a tip is expected.
- There is a small admission fee to enter to convent.
- Most travelers find that one hour gives ample time to explore the convent and its cultural artifacts.
From the Plaza de Armas, it's an easy 10-minute walk across the river over pleasant Puente Bolognesi on the way to Yanahuara. Guided tours tend to offer air-conditioned transport between the convent and other Arequipa attractions, allowing you to beat the daytime heat. When to Get There
Recoleta Convent is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 12pm and 3pm to 5pm.
Highlights of the Recoleta Convent Museum
The museum at the convent hosts a wealth of wonders that date as far back as pre-Inca civilizations. Highlights of the collection include ancient mummies, items collected by missionaries in the Amazon basin, and funereal masks and totems from pre-Inca civilizations.