Known as the 'White City', Arequipa is home to many beautiful colonial buildings, which were made from locally mined, light-coloured volcanic stone. Culture lovers will note that the destination's elegant historic centre has some of Peru's finest colonial churches and mansions. Many of them have been turned into museums and galleries.
Most of the action takes place in the Plaza de Armas, where visitors will find gorgeous gardens, impressive colonial arcades and architecture, and the huge cathedral's elegant white façade. One of the city's highlights is the remarkable Santa Catalina Convent. The complex encloses a complete city within a city, and is among Peru's most fascinating colonial religious buildings.
Arequipa's countryside holds many attractions, too, including the relatively easy climb up the El Misti Volcano. The Colca Valley's superb landscape features villages, ornate churches, agricultural terraces and snow-covered mountains. Nature enthusiasts should also visit the dizzying Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and is an excellent place to see giant condors.