Arequipa Countryside and Santa Catalina Tour
The city and surrounding countryside of Arequipa hold numerous fascinating sites, some natural, some manmade. This tour shows you a few of each, including the famous monastery in Arequipa.
up to 20 days in advance
- Duration: 5 hrs
- Available Days: Every day
- Schedule: 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM
- Hotel Transport Included
- Free cancellation up to 20 days prior
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
Yanahuara is a neighborhood to the north of Arequipa. From up here, you can get an excellent view of Arequipa’s idiosyncratic cityscape made of white stone, or sillar. On clear days, you can also see the three volcanoes in the vicinity of Arequipa.
East of Arequipa, Paucarpata’s farmland is lush with bright green terraces zigzagging up the steep hillsides. These terraces date back to before the Inca civilization. They’re both beautiful and fascinating.
Mollino Sabandía, or Mill Sabandía, stands southeast of Arequipa. Powered by the adjacent stream, the mill at one time ground grain into flour for people in the region. It was first built in 1621, but over time it fell into disrepair. A concerted effort restored the building in 1973. The mechanics of the mill were restored, too, so you can watch it in action. The mill’s architecture offers some point of reference for other buildings built in the same time period, as it is quite utilitarian compared to some of the other historic sites on this tour.
La Vía Paisajista is a scenic road connecting the mill and Palace of Goyeneche. The tour takes you along this route to continue viewing the countryside. The district of Socabaya, one of the oldest parts of the Arequipa area, is visible from this route.
The town of Huasacache is home to the Palace of Goyeneche; this building is also known as La Mansión del Fundador. First built in the 17th century as a home to a bishop, this mansion was later used by Jesuits during the Chilean occupation in the late 19th century. The mansion, next to Río Socabaya, includes a church and has been renovated to accommodate tours.
A true highlight of this tour is the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. Construction on the enormous complex began in 1580, and daughters of the elite served as nuns here. While today there are fewer nuns than before, this is still an active monastery. The nuns who live and work here sell their baked cakes and pastries at the café within the monastery. You might want a snack after traipsing around this place—the monastery is often described as a city within a city. High walls border a maze of buildings and streets that take up an entire city block. You can view a number of courtyards, living quarters, a chapel, and an art gallery. There’s also a mortuary with portraits of nuns who used to live here. As you walk the stone streets of Santa Catalina, you may appreciate why this is one of the most important religious buildings in Peru.
What to Bring
Comfortable shoes, camera, and sunscreen.
Transportation and guide.
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “More Time and Rates” for full details.
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