Arequipa Peru main plaza

The Peruvian city of Arequipa is one of those cities that might get overlooked in favor of Machu Picchu or Lima, but this city of nearly one million has its own unique draws. Breathtaking architecture and views of the three volcanoes

Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa

Casa Andina Private Collection

that surround it might not be enough for your tastes, but this city is also part of the Peruvian food boom that is taking Latin America by storm, so if grandiose landscapes don’t impress you, come for the food.

For luxury stays in Arequipa, there are really only two options, each for a different set of tastes. Arequipa’s Casa Andina Private Collection is located in the heart of the city’s historic center, making it easy for visitors to take in this incredible UNESCO heritage site without a car or taxi. The rooms may be a bit standard in terms of decor and arrangement, but there are amenities that make up for them like free wi-fi, quality toiletries and fresh tea. The public areas of the hotel are more splendid and hotel’s service is personable, efficient and English-proficient. This hotel is for travelers who want a luxury stay but aren’t planning on hanging out at their hotel the whole time.

The Libertador Arequipa Hotel is more of a sprawling hacienda, set in a residential neighborhood outside of the hustle and bustle. They have few more in-house amenities like a small gym, a spa and a swimming pool (Casa Andina has the bigger business center if you are traveling for business). Oh and there is a giant tortoise that roams the grounds. In 2013 the hotel was infused with some cash and updated to include more technology (ipod docks and wifi) and some additional decor touches. (See our review of the updated Libertador Arequipa Hotel here.)

Libertador Arequipa room

In both hotels the upgrade to a larger suite is worth your money in terms of space and extras if you can swing it. Casa Andina’s suites have larger bathrooms, sitting areas, and in one, a whirlpool tub. In suites in the Libertador Arequipa Hotel — the Libertador, Arequipa, and Misti — all have lots of extra room and one includes a jacuzzi. The Hotel Liberator’s restaurant, Los Robles, has a bit more of a reputation for its fine dining, meaning that if food is your thing you might want to consider Libertador over Casa Andina. Either way you are going to eat well, Arequipa has lots to offer in terms of gastronomy.

Quinoa in Arequipa, Peru

Quinoa / flckr © Lou Stejskal

While you might be tempted to pass over a stop in the Peru’s southern city Arequipa, we think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you will find there in terms of architecture, food, and culture. Now all you have to do is choose your hotel.