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Santa Catalina Monastery

Santa Catalina Monastery: Our most recommended tours and activities

Arequipa: City tour with panoramic bus

1. Arequipa: City tour with panoramic bus

We will meet you up at the meeting point located in the historic center of the city of Arequipa. The panoramic city tour of Arequipa starts at the traditional district of Yanahuara, located 2 kilometers from the Historic Center, at the right side of River Chili. Admire the beautiful narrow streets with Spanish style, lovely houses and interesting tourist attractions such as the Mirador of Yanahuara. This place has amazing views of the volcanoes Misti, Pichu Pichu and Chachani. This wonderful viewpoint was built in the eighteenth century and it is located next to the Church San Juan Bautista, in front of a nice small square. These are arches made of ashlar with phrases of important characters of the city. The Arequipa city tour continues toward the Valley of Chilin to visit another incredible viewpoint known as Mirador de Carmen Alto. Here, you will admire beautiful landscapes of green fields and impressive volcanoes around. This place was used as an Astronomical Observatory, between 1899 and 1927. You will have privilege views to pre Inca and Inca’s platforms that are still being used for farming. Admire fruit trees and orchards. The next stop will be at Incalpaca outlet and zoo, a store with high quality clothes made of Alpaca, with excellent prices. The Alpaca’s fiber is soft, light and very resistant. Incalpaca exports their products to more than 50 countries worldwide, working hard with sustainability. Also, you can visit the small zoo with South American camelids such as alpacas, vicuñas, llamas and guanacos. We are going to pass through the district of Sachaca. Enjoy a panoramic view to a 18th century colonial mansion known as Goyeneche Palace. Also, you will see the aquatic park of Tingo, the summer place with pools for locals. Then, we are going to visit the Founder’s Mansion located 12 miles from the historic center. This house was the home of the city’s founder Don Garcí Manuel de Carbajal in 1540. The city tour will take you to explore the Molino de Sabandia, a beautiful mill built in 1621 and it still working. Going back to the city you will see the platforms of Paucarpata. The panoramic tour continues to Plaza de Armas and to Santa Catalina Monastery. Return to the hotel in the historic center of Arequipa.

Arequipa: City Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

2. Arequipa: City Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

Start with pickup from your hotel and be transferred to the Carmen Alto viewpoint. Admire the views of the countryside of Arequipa, the Chili river, and the Misti and Chachani volcanoes in the background. Head next to the Yanahuara viewpoint with a fantastic view of the city. After that, visit the Basilica of the Company of Jesus, built in a neo-Renaissance style, built with white stone, known as ashlar. You will then explore a bit of the main square of the city. Finally, discover the famous Convent of Santa Catalina, a prestigious institution of the XVI century, comprised of plazas, cloisters, and streets, that used to be inhabited by the daughters of prestigious families, who were kept by the convent’s nuns.

Arequipa: Walking Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

3. Arequipa: Walking Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

After picking you up from the hotel located in the historic center of Arequipa, you will start the walking tour in the neighborhood of San Lazaro, located just 5 blocks from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa. This colonial hood has small streets and houses made of sillar, a volcanic stone used for constructions. San Lazaro is an old district and you will admire its beauty through its lovely streets, small squares and white walls. This are had been occupied by pre Inca and Inca cultures and, during the Spanish conquer and city’s foundation, the first houses were built here. This district belongs to the Historic Center of Arequipa, so it is considered as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The tour continues to Barrio del Solar situated near the River Chili where you will walk along beautiful streets with traditional and colonial buildings. You are going to explore different areas known as Tambos, lodging centers where merchants came to rest during the colonial era. The first Tambo to visit will be Tambo El Matadero, a building from the seventeenth century that was used to sacrifice animals. Currently, there are about 30 families living in this place. The walking tour in Arequipa continues to Tambo La Cabezona, a colonial group of houses with a communal entrance dated from the sixteenth century and the place where one of the first mills in the city worked. Enjoy a panoramic tour to Plaza de Armas, the main meeting point of locals and where the Cathedral of Arequipa is located. This beautiful square is surrounded by lovely portals and there is a bronze fountain in the middle. After a short walk we are going to reach the Santa Catalina Monastery. This place was founded in 1579 and it has 20 thousand square meters distributed in cloisters, patios, squares, streets, bell tower and church. During the viceroyalty, Doña Maria de Guzman was a rich woman and she decided to donate all her properties and start a live as a cloister nun. Most of the women came from wealthy families and, currently, there still are cloister nuns living at Santa Catalina Convent. This is a beautiful place with a lot of history and you will have time to take nice photos. Walk around the streets made of ashlar and some parts with natural colored red walls. You will visit many areas such as the Patio del Silencio, a place where the nuns met to pray and read the Bible in silence. Get impressed with this jewel of the city of Arequipa, a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site. Later, we are going to drop you off at your hotel.

Arequipa: Private City Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

4. Arequipa: Private City Tour and Santa Catalina Monastery

The route begins in Arequipa´s Main Square, one of the most beautiful squares in Peru. Facing this square is the imposing Cathedral, built in the 17th century. From there, continue to the Monastery of Santa Catalina, a cloister and small religious citadel built in 1579, still in use to this date. Then, visit the Church of the Compañia de Jesus (1590). Considered a classic example of local baroque architecture, it houses an exceptional collection of paintings and murals. Lastly, visit the districts of Yanahuara and Carmen Alto for a panoramic view of the Arequipa countryside. At the end, take a transfer back to the hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Catalina Monastery

Want to discover all there is to do in Santa Catalina Monastery? Click here for a full list.