Arequipa Introduction Walking Tour, Arequipa

Arequipa Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Arequipa

Capital of the eponymous region of Peru, Arequipa is a colonial-era city rich in architecture built of the volcanic stone provided by three neighboring volcanoes. The historic downtown area of Arequipa is dominated by Plaza de Armas complete with a plethora of ancient churches located nearby, of which the most notable is the 17th-century Basilica Cathedral. This orientation tour will walk you through all the major historic sights of Arequipa.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Arequipa Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Arequipa Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Peru » Arequipa (See other walking tours in Arequipa)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: sabrina
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)
  • Church of the Company
  • Iglesia de La Merced (Church of La Merced)
  • Museum of Andean Sanctuaries
  • Cathedral of Arequipa
  • Iglesia de San Agustin (San Agustin Church)
  • Casa del Moral (House of the Mulberry Tree)
  • Saint Catalina Gallery
  • Guillermo Zegarra Meneses Municipal Historical Museum
  • Iglesia San Francisco (San Francisco Church)
  • Calle San Francisco (Saint Francisco Street)
Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)

1) Plaza de Armas (Arms Square) (must see)

Many Latin America cities have a central square called the Arms Square. It is a focal point for Arequipa residents' daily activities. Graceful colonnades, tall palm trees, beautiful flowers and historic buildings all add to the elegant grandeur of the city’s busiest plaza. Here you can observe the hectic hustle and bustle as students, city workers, shoppers and tourists mix.
Church of the Company

2) Church of the Company (must see)

Situated in Arequipa's historic center, Iglesia de la Compañía is another reminder of the glorious religious legacy left by colonists and Jesuit priests. It took more than one hundred years to build this church. The Baroque-style facade is considered to be a masterpiece of South American Colonial architecture. It features motifs from pre-Hispanic Native American mythology. Inside the temple there is a beautifully carved wooden altar covered with gold leaf decorations. The walls are ornamented with paintings by Bernardo Bitti, an Italian artist who came to Peru at the end of the 16th century.
Iglesia de La Merced (Church of La Merced)

3) Iglesia de La Merced (Church of La Merced) (must see)

It took more than fifty years for the La Merced complex to be constructed. Like many other buildings in Arequipa, Iglesia La Merced, also called the “House of God,” was built using ashlar stones. This volcanic stone easily transforms into beautiful carvings in the hands of a skilled artist. The Churrigueresque altar and Virgin de las Mercedes paintings are the main attractions inside the church. There is also a great colonial library located within the walls of this historic complex.
Museum of Andean Sanctuaries

4) Museum of Andean Sanctuaries (must see)

Museum of Andean Sanctuaries is one of the most popular museums in the city. The museum houses the famous Juanita mummy, whose story is full of tragedy and drama. Juanita was one of many children who were sacrificed by the Incas to please the God of the Mountains. She wasn’t just an ordinary girl but is believed to have been of royal blood. Here you can also see gold and silver pieces, traditional Peruvian textiles, intricate wood and stone carvings and other archeological artifacts found in the mountains surrounding the city.
Cathedral of Arequipa

5) Cathedral of Arequipa (must see)

The only cathedral in Peru to stretch the length of the plaza it is situated on, The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa is the most important place of worship in the city. The original structure dates back to the mid-17th century. Although there were some modifications made after the cathedral suffered from a fire and an earthquake, it still looks beautiful and tells a fascinating story about the significance of religion in the colonial era.

The interior of the cathedral is spacious and simply decorated. The high altar and twelve columns symbolizing the twelve apostles are made from Italian marble. The magnificent, large Byzantine candelabra lamp hanging above the altar was brought here from Spain. The huge organ imported from Belgium at the end of the 19th century is said to have been the largest organ ever brought to South America.

Inside the cathedral there is a museum where you can visit four rooms: two belong to The Treasures of the Cathedral - it contains crowns and religious pieces of ancient goldsmithing -, another to Ornaments and Cloths and the last, to Religious Paintings.
Iglesia de San Agustin (San Agustin Church)

6) Iglesia de San Agustin (San Agustin Church) (must see)

Located on a street bearing the same name, San Agustin Church is an impressive Baroque-style church built in 1575. Like many other Arequipa buildings, San Augustin Church suffered a lot of damage during the strong earthquake of 1868, but it underwent a series of restorations in the 19th century. During the restoration some Neoclassical ornamentation was added to the interior and the facade. Inside, notice the careful attention to decorative detail reflected in the rich ornate dome, the impressive high altar and fine golden carvings. There are also several large paintings in the central area of the church depicting religious life in the city during the colonial era.
Casa del Moral (House of the Mulberry Tree)

7) Casa del Moral (House of the Mulberry Tree) (must see)

The House of the Mulberry Tree is a large ancestral house built around 1730. Favored by tourists, it is one of the best and well-preserved samples of baroque-mestizo civil architecture in Peru.

The name of the house derives from the emblematic presence of a centennial tree of "moras" in the center of the main patio of the large house. The House of the Mulberry Tree houses a collection of paintings from the "Escuela Cusqueña", a colonial art form. Its library contains more than 3,000 volumes, primarily hispanic literature. The recent restoration of the house was with the help of the Consul of England in Arequipa; the house is currently the property of the Peruvian bank Bancosur.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Saint Catalina Gallery

8) Saint Catalina Gallery (must see)

Housed in Arequipa's important Saint Catalina Monastery, Saint Catalina Gallery is one of the largest art galleries in the city. The gallery exhibits fabulous collections of Peruvian paintings, as well as Inca, Spanish and Amerindian art. It houses Arequipa's largest collection of religious paintings and is considered one of the most important galleries in the city.
Guillermo Zegarra Meneses Municipal Historical Museum

9) Guillermo Zegarra Meneses Municipal Historical Museum (must see)

Situated opposite San Francisco Church, Municipal Historical Museum displays a variety of archeological pieces that have great historical value. The museum has several rooms with themed exhibits. These include the Pre-Hispanic Chamber that showcases objects belonging to the Wari Empire, the Vinatea Reynoso room that features satirical caricatures, and other rooms where you can view historic maps, traditional Peruvian artwork and other valuable artifacts.
Iglesia San Francisco (San Francisco Church)

10) Iglesia San Francisco (San Francisco Church) (must see)

Founded by the Franciscan Order in 1552 and finally completed in 1569 by Gaspar Báez, this old monastery tells an interesting story about Arequipa's past religious identity. After reconstruction work in the 17th century, San Francisco Church became the largest complex in the country to have been built using ashlar stone. The rich, ornate interior of the church includes a Baroque-style embossed silver altar, an intricately carved pulpit, choir chairs and wooden figurines. Inside the complex is a small square, a temple used as the head office of a craft center and a library holding over twenty thousand volumes.
Calle San Francisco (Saint Francisco Street)

11) Calle San Francisco (Saint Francisco Street)

Calle San Fransisco is a must-visit street in Ariquipa known for its dynamic and vibrant atmosphere. This busy street is full of restaurants, shops and nightclubs, most of which are located in beautiful colonial buildings.

Walking Tours in Arequipa, Peru

Create Your Own Walk in Arequipa

Create Your Own Walk in Arequipa

Creating your own self-guided walk in Arequipa is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Colonists from Spain brought to Peru and Arequipa the power of Catholicism, which is beautifully reflected today in the splendid architectural designs of Arequipa's numerous places of worship. Arequipa’s churches are among the most striking in Peru. Take this self-guided walking tour to explore the city's religious heritage.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles