Off the Beaten Path: Arequipa’s Neighborhoods and Suburbs

Things to Do — By Lauren Quinn on June 15, 2010 at 7:15 am

Getting off the beaten path in Arequipa doesn’t just mean delving into the vast wilderness that surrounds the city. With dozens of outdoors outfitters, you’re likely to see just as many tourists on remote mountain tops as you are at the Plaza de Armas!

Beating the crowds and going deeper into the White City means exploring the over-looked and often forgotten. Arequipa’s quaint neighborhoods and tranquil suburbs are tucked between the colonial city sights and the attractions of the outdoors—meaning that most travelers skip right over them. But they’re some of the best places to experience authentic Arequipa life.

These three offbeat Arequipa areas bring you closer to the local flavor and what life is all about in Arequipa. Take a long stroll, or grab a quick taxi or minibus.


Narrow cobbled streets and old houses engulfed with typical ashlar orchards help to lend Yanahuara its old-world ambiance. The peaceful neighborhood is rich in architectural heritage. Its prominent church San Juan Bautista, built in 1750, showcases mestizo regional art. The veranda in its main plaza is a perfect place to while away a lovely afternoon—and take in the panoramic view of Arequipa and its surrounding three volcanoes.

If you’re not inclined to grab one of frequent minibuses that run to Yanahuara, the round-trip walk from the city center takes around two hours.


Just beyond Yanahuara, Cayma is worth the trek if for nothing else than the stunning views. Nicknamed El Balcón for its superb panoramics, Cayma offers an ever more tranquil and traditional slice of Arequipa life. Should you want to extend your stay, El Balcón Hostal offers great value.

A walking trip to Cayma from the Plaza de Armas takes only about 15 minutes.


Only about 8km from city center, this rural suburb feels like a real escape. The area has been inhabited since the time of the Incas, whose old agricultural terraces can still be seen in the countryside. Today, the suburb is home to an attractive colonial church and tree-lined plaza, as well as many good local restaurants, called picanterías.

A longer walk, a taxi from city center costs about $2.

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