Next to Cusco I spent the most time in Arequipa, Peru. I had read about Spanish School online and signed up the week before via email. Arequipa is the second biggest city in Peru after Lima. Although most of the tourist things to do center around the historical Plaza de Armas making the city seem small, the city extends much farther.
I arrived in Arequipa by bus from Puno (40 soles + 1.50 sole embarkment tax). From the bus station I took a taxi to my hotel (10 soles).
There is also a local airport in Arequipa which I flew out of on my way to Lima. I arranged a taxi to the airport through my hotel (25 soles).
Most everything in Arequipa is walkable from the main Plaza de Armas. Taxis are everywhere and very cheap if you don’t feel like walking to some of the farther sights. Make sure you ask the driver the price before you accept the cab.
Peruvian nuevo soles are accepted everywhere ($1 USD = approx 3.32 neuvo soles). Credit cards are also pretty widely accepted and USD can be used at some hotels.
Because I signed up for Spanish School classes at Casa de Avila I was able to receive a discounted room rate. They have a great courtyard to relax in when you need some downtime and the staff is extremely helpful and friendly.
I wouldn’t recommend eating on the Plaza de Armas. The restaurants are tempting with their views over the plaza but the prices and food quality are very poor.
La Lucha: Self proclaimed the best fries in Peru. Burgers and fresh juices.
Carpaccio’s: They’re famous for their desserts.
El Buda Profano: Vegan sushi!
Pollo Al Colorado: If you’re looking for something cheap and filling this is a good place to stop. You can get a soup, salad, 1/4 of a chicken, fries and a soda for only 14 soles (about $4.25 USD).
Plaza de Armas: The historical main square in Arequipa.
Catedral de Arequipa: The main Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas.
Iglesia de la Compañia: On the corner of the Plaza de Armas.
Casa de Moral: Another pretty church.
Plaza San Francisco: If you’re looking for a quiet place to city a little bit away from the Plaza de Armas. There are some souvenir shops off of it as well.
Calle Mercaderes: A pedestrian only street filled with shops/restaurants.
Pje de la Catedral: Another smaller pedestrian only street with souvenir shops and a few outdoor restaurants.
Santa Catalina Monastery: My favorite thing and a must do! (40 soles entrance)
Recoleta Monastery: A smaller monastery on the other side of the river across the Puente Grau (10 soles entrance)
Puente Grau: To get to the Recoleta Monastery you have to walk (or taxi) across this bridge. On the other side there’s a little park with a pair of alpacas!
Take Spanish Lessons: If you’re traveling for awhile I highly recommend Casa de Avila! Understanding more Spanish has made a world of difference traveling.
Take a Cooking Class: Casa de Avila has cooking classes and there are several other spots around the Plaza de Armas. Inquire with your hotel.
Mercado San Camilo: The local market in town.
Yanahuara Lookout: This was the one thing I didn’t have time to visit. It’s a taxi ride across the river and looks out over the Yanahuara neighborhood.
Overnight to Colca Canyon: If you have time this is the most popular trek out of Arequipa. You can sign up for a tour in town with the many agencies.