Top Things to Do: Arequipa, Peru

Transportation in Arequipa

  • Before we get to the fun stuff, here are some tips on getting around Arequipa.
  • There are two bus stations in Arequipa: Terminal Terrestre and Terrapuerto. Luckily they’re right next to each other!
  • The bathrooms are pretty clean as far as terminal restrooms go. s./0.50 for bathroom + a little toilet paper
  • The terminals themselves have LOTS of snack options, breads, candies and chocolates
  • When you’re leaving the terminals, grab a taxi on the main road and avoid those parked in the parking lots—those ones will overcharge you. The cost of a taxi from each terminal to near the Plaza Mayor is s./7

Getting to Monasterio Santa Catalina in Arequipa

  • Note: The opening times on the monastery’s website are INCORRECT. Here are the times listed on the building itself as of mid-April, 2015:
    • Tues and Thurs nights 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Jan. – April
    • Mon, Weds, Fri, Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Jan. – April
  • The cost is s./40 pp (which is CRAZY expensive), and they take Visa, AmEx, MasterCard
  • If you can avoid it, don’t bring your backpack because they’ll make you check it, and that’s never safe.
  • We didn’t end up going in because the opening times on their website were incorrect (*sigh, oh Peru), but we’ve heard a guided tour is best rather than exploring yourself.

Toro Muerto, Arequipa

Getting to Toro Muerto From Arequipa

  • Go to the bus station (either one) and book a ticket with Transporte Del Carpio to the town Corires s./12.
  • The trip takes a little more than three hours because of stops along the way. Make sure to buy return ticket as soon as you arrive in Corire because posted times are unreliable and, in our case, the bus was almost full for the ride home! You don’t want to get stuck in this town.
  • If Transporte Del Carpio is full, there’s another company across the street and half a block to the right of the Del Carpio office, which is off the main square. The proprietor of that company was on her phone for the whole time we waited (at least 5 mins), so we left. Because CUSTOMER SERVICE, JEEZE.
  • Bathroom Break: The polleria off the main square let us use their bathroom for free (bring your own TP). If you’re standing in front of the giant lobster in the square it’s at your 9 o’clock.
  • OK, so once you’ve had your bathroom break, you can head off to Toro Muerto. We got lucky and ran into Felix Pichuilla Condori. He’s lived in the area his whole life and has two kids, an 18-year-old daughter and much younger son ~10. He drove us to the site and offered to take us on a mini tour, leading us to the best hieroglyphs. Without his help (and unlimited patience!), it would’ve taken us forever to get around the whole park, and we would’ve missed a lot. Give him a call beforehand at 957864424 and have him pick you up from the main square. He charged us s./50 for the whole trip. Highly recommend getting in touch!
  • Getting into Toro Muerto costs s./5 pp. Photograph the map on the wall for reference. There are three routes:  30 mins, 1 hr, 2 hrs
  • We’d recommend wandering through. Sticking to the path won’t take you by the most interesting hieroglyphs. Plan to spend a maximum of 2 hours at Toro Muerto.
  • When to go, Toro Muerto: If you can, go to Toro Muerto around sunrise for the best photos and most comfortable hike. It gets hot quickly ~9 a.m. because of dry desert conditions so make sure to have more than enough water and sun protection. Lonely Planet says to bring mosquito repellent, but there wasn’t enough water to breed mosquitos (again, desert) when we were there in mid-April.

Jurassic Park in Querulpa Chico

  • If you have some extra time after visiting Toro Muerto, catch a combi directly in front of lobster (yup, lobster) in Corire plaza and ask them to let you off at “los dinosaurios”.
  • The trip only takes ~15 mins and s./1.20 soles.
  • The town is tiny, and the opening to the “park” is well marked. You’ll see a ginormous dinosaur from the road. The walk up the trail to the park’s viewpoint is about 45~ depending on your pace.
  • There’s brontosaurus and T-Rex model as well as a “museum” (I’m using this word very loosely!) with ~6 nondescript fossils.
  • Bathroom break: Bathrooms are available at museum. Bring your own TP.

Brilliant Views of Arequipa

  • Climb to the top of Iglesia de San Miguel for a panoramic view of Arequipa. Then grab dinner in Cayma, a neighborhood with brilliant views of the valley.