Where to Stay in Arequipa: 6 Best & Safest Neighborhoods
Are you looking for the perfect haven in Arequipa, Peru, the enchanting southern gem often hailed as Peru’s second city? As a seasoned traveler who has explored this cultural melting pot three times over the past decade, I understand the allure of immersing yourself in the rich blend of Spanish and indigenous cultures that defines this historic destination.
Arequipa, often hailed as Peru’s second city, is a captivating mix of safety and cultural diversity. Its expansive town center, constituting a third of the city, can be a maze, but fear not—I’ve explored its nooks and crannies to guide you to the best and safest neighborhoods.
Highlights You’ll Discover:
- Vallecito’s serene charm and cultural richness
- Selva Alegre’s family-friendly attractions and safety
- Plaza de Armas as the nightlife epicenter with a laid-back vibe
- Budget-friendly options near PeruRail Station with local authenticity
- Cayma’s local experience and abundance of picanterías
- Yanahuara’s strategic location, scenic views, and entertainment options.
In this Where to Stay in Arequipa article we will explore the best and safest neighborhoods in Arequipa, uncovering the city’s history and contemporary culture through the lens of a seasoned traveler who has navigated its charming streets multiple times.
Where to Stay in Arequipa for First-Time Visitors: Vallecito
Why Stay in Vallecito?
Looking to immerse yourself in the heart of Arequipa without the bustling crowds? Vallecito, located just south of the Plaza de Armas, provides the ideal retreat for first-time visitors. This neighborhood, an integral part of the Historic Centre, charms with its serene ambiance and stunning whitewashed architecture, characteristic of Arequipa.
Vallecito enjoys a prime location, offering mesmerizing views of the majestic El Misti volcano. Beyond its scenic appeal, this area serves as the city’s cultural epicenter. Dive into the local arts scene with numerous museums, art galleries, and independent theaters dotting the streets.
What sets Vallecito apart is its authentic atmosphere, providing a glimpse into the everyday life of modern Peruvians. Unlike the touristy center, Vallecito offers a more local experience, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an authentic introduction to Arequipa.
Where to Stay in Vallecito
Best Hostel in Vallecito – Econunay
ECONUNAY is a welcoming hostel in Vallecito, Arequipa, offering a unique backpacker experience. The vibrant rooms feature inspirational quotes and cater to diverse preferences. Conveniently located, it’s a 5-minute walk from the main square with access to restaurants, bars, and attractions. The hostel boasts a large common area, a bar for Peruvian cocktails, and great rooftops with city views. Guests enjoy an excellent location near nightlife, museums, and renowned landmarks. Additional perks include free luggage storage during excursions, a kitchen, and a complimentary breakfast with coffee, juice, local bread, jam, butter, yogurt, and cereal.
Mid-Range & Family Friendly Hotel in Vallecito – Casa de Avila
Casa de Avila, just 400 meters from Arequipa’s main square, provides accommodation with a central garden. A daily complimentary buffet breakfast is served in the garden, offering fruit salad, natural juice, local bread, cheese, butter, Andean cereals, olives, and yogurt. Guests enjoy free coffee all day. The on-site restaurant showcases local flavors, and On Hands Cooking Classes allow guests to explore local cuisine. The property offers Spanish classes and guests staying for 2 or more nights receive a free city tour, adding cultural experiences to their stay.
Affordable Luxury Hotel in Vallecito – Casa Arequipa
Casa Arequipa, located just 1 km from the Main Square, provides rooms with free Wi-Fi and plasma TVs. The stylishly decorated rooms offer bright spaces with wooden furnishings, fans, heating, minibars, and private bathrooms. A daily buffet breakfast is served, and guests have access to a common kitchen for self-cooking. The rooftop bar offers evening cocktails. The commercial area is conveniently 1 km away. The accommodation includes a garden and terrace for guests to enjoy. With a blend of comfort and convenience, Casa Arequipa caters to guests seeking a pleasant stay near the city’s main attractions.
Where to Stay in Arequipa for Families: Selva Alegre
Why Stay in Selva Alegre?
Located in the northern part of the Historic Centre and extending into the outer city, Selva Alegre beckons families with its serene charm and family-friendly attractions. Named after the expansive park in the vicinity, this area provides a tranquil alternative for those desiring proximity to the city center without the bustling chaos.
Selva Alegre stands out as an ideal choice for families, boasting attractions that appeal to all. From the allure of the large park after which it’s named to the captivating local scenery, this neighborhood promises an enchanting experience for visitors of all ages.
Safety-conscious families will find solace in Selva Alegre’s stellar reputation for security, adding an extra layer of peace of mind in one of the continent’s safest cities. Moreover, the neighborhood treats its residents and guests to unparalleled views of the iconic El Misti Volcano, enhancing the overall allure of this family-friendly haven in Arequipa.
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Where to Stay in Selva Alegre
Best Hostel in Selva Alegre – Selina Arequipa
Selina, a trendy hostel in Arequipa, is part of the Selina chain, catering to digital nomads with a lively atmosphere and numerous communal spaces. The focal point is an outdoor courtyard with a garden, swimming pool, and bar, even hosting yoga classes. The property features stylish decor, offering a casual-cool vibe. Guests can enjoy a comfortable movie room, a restaurant, and choose from various homely rooms. Conveniently, it’s just a 10-minute walk from Plaza de Armas, making it one of the best hostels in Arequipa. Selina stands out as a fun and fashionable choice for those seeking a sociable and vibrant stay.
Mid-Range & Family Friendly Hotel in Selva Alegre – El Portal De San Lázaro
El Portal De San Lázaro, just 4 minutes from Arequipa’s main square, is a favorite amongst couples. Guests enjoy a complimentary daily breakfast, and rooms feature private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs; some include balconies. Bed linen and towels are provided. The property offers free on-site parking and amenities such as an on-site restaurant and bar, providing local dishes and drinks. Room service is available. Additional services from the front desk include currency exchange, luggage storage, and a safety-deposit box.
Affordable Luxury Hotel in Selva Alegre – La Hosteria Boutique Hotel
Located in the Selva Alegre district, this five-star colonial property offers sophistication and an excellent location just a five-minute walk from Plaza de Armas and the Santa Catalina Monastery. The renovated hotel features smart and modern rooms with dark wood flooring and a sophisticated color palette. The picturesque courtyard and serene spa facilities in a converted vaulted room enhance the overall experience. Guests can enjoy hand-crafted cocktails at the on-site bar and dine in the atmospheric restaurant. Combining elegance with convenience, this colonial gem is an ideal choice for those seeking a refined stay in Arequipa.
Where to Stay in Arequipa for Nightlife: Plaza de Armas
Why Stay in Plaza de Armas?
For the ultimate nightlife experience in Arequipa, Plaza de Armas takes center stage. Situated in the heart of the city center, this vibrant square stands as the tourism nucleus and the go-to destination for those seeking a lively evening.
Arequipa’s nightlife, though more laid back compared to other Latin American cities, thrives in Plaza de Armas. The bars and nightclubs here exude an easy-going coolness, creating an atmosphere perfect for unwinding and enjoying the city’s unique nocturnal charm.
Beyond the nighttime festivities, Plaza de Armas shares the same stunning architecture as its southern neighbor. However, what sets it apart is the perpetual vibrancy that permeates throughout the day. The square is a hub of activity with lively cafes, restaurants, and stores, each contributing to the infectious charm that will make you reluctant to leave.
Where to Stay in Plaza de Armas
Best Hostel in Plaza de Armas – Le Foyer Arequipa
In a charming colonial-style building, Le Foyer is ideally located 200 meters from Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas. Warmly decorated rooms feature large wooden windows opening onto an interior courtyard. Breakfast offers natural fruit juices, bread, and eggs. The on-site bar is perfect for evening drinks, and the patio allows barbecuing. Conveniently, it’s a short taxi ride from the airport and three kilometers from the city’s train station. Le Foyer provides a welcoming atmosphere, blending comfort and convenience, making it a delightful choice for those seeking a well-located and cozy stay in the heart of Arequipa.
Mid-Range & Family Friendly Hotel in Plaza de Armas – Los Andes Bed & Breakfast
Located in the historic center of Arequipa, Los Andes Bed & Breakfast offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a mere 30 meters from the main square. The B&B provides a cozy atmosphere with practical rooms featuring parquet floors and ample natural light. Accommodation includes both shared and private bathrooms, with some rooms offering cable TV and showers. Guests can enjoy an American breakfast buffet each day, and communal kitchen facilities are available. Additionally, visitors can unwind with a book from the library or enjoy a drink on the sun terrace. Los Andes Bed & Breakfast combines comfort and convenience for a pleasant stay in picturesque Arequipa.
Affordable Luxury Hotel in Plaza de Armas – Hotel Los Tambos Boutique
Hotel Los Tambos Boutique, situated in Arequipa, known for its white volcanic rock architecture, offers elegance and adventure. The hotel features a rooftop terrace with Misti Volcano views and organizes excursions like a 2-day mountain bike tour or rafting on Chili River. Guests can explore the Andean Sanctuaries Museum or unwind by the cozy fireplace with coca tea. Rooms boast brown tiled floors, floodlit windows, LCD cable TV, and free Wi-Fi; some include king-size beds. A daily American breakfast with fruit salad, bread rolls, and eggs is served. Just a block from Plaza de Armas, the hotel provides a central location near lively restaurants.
Where to Stay in Arequipa on a Budget: PeruRail Station
Why Stay near PeruRail Station?
In the southern reaches of the Historic Centre, PeruRail Station and its surrounding neighborhoods offer an ideal haven for budget-conscious travelers. Less touristy than other central areas, these local pockets provide a genuine immersion into Arequipa’s authentic culture.
For those on a tight budget, this region becomes a treasure trove. The absence of typical tourist attractions is part of its allure, allowing visitors to uncover the charm of locally-owned restaurants, quaint shops, and dive bars that become attractions in their own right.
While lacking the conventional landmarks, the area compensates with a unique experience. Staying near PeruRail Station isn’t just a cost-effective choice; it’s an invitation to explore the true essence of Arequipa. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, savoring the authenticity of the surroundings, and discover the hidden gems that make this budget-friendly district a distinctive and memorable part of your Arequipa journey.
Where to Stay near PeruRail Station
Budget & Family Friendly Hotel near PeruRail Station – La Casa de Chamo
La Casa de Chamo in Arequipa offers free WiFi, a sun terrace, and an on-site bar, with complimentary private parking. Some rooms include a terrace or balcony, and all come with a flat-screen TV. The inn provides shuttle services, and guests have access to a fully-equipped kitchen. Bike hire is available, and the area is popular for hiking. The accommodation caters to those seeking a comfortable stay with modern amenities, including a communal kitchen for added convenience. With a focus on both relaxation and exploration, La Casa de Chamo is an inviting option for visitors to Arequipa.
Mid-Range Hotel near PeruRail Station – Mint Hotel
Mint Hotel, a boutique gem in Arequipa, graces a tranquil residential street, merely two kilometers from Plaza de Armas. This modern haven is adorned with contemporary artwork and captivating furnishings, creating bright, airy spaces throughout. The well-appointed rooms exude sophistication, offering a snug haven for unwinding, with select rooms featuring private outdoor seating. Mint Hotel goes beyond with amenities, presenting massage services, a fitness room, and an inviting restaurant and bar. A delightful extra is the hotel’s dining room, providing not just sustenance but a feast for the eyes with stunning volcano views—a distinctive touch to enhance your Arequipa experience.
Where to Stay in Arequipa for a Local Experience: Cayma
Why Stay in Cayma?
For an authentic local experience in Arequipa, Cayma stands out as one of the city’s largest districts, offering a rich tapestry of neighborhoods and urbanizaciones. Mere minutes from the city center and extending to the northern part, Cayma provides a unique blend of convenience and local charm.
The district’s strategic positioning, encompassing the Aeropuerto Internacional Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón, ensures accessibility while presenting diverse accommodation options. Opt for hotels near the airport or choose the southern part for proximity to Arequipa’s bustling center.
Cayma’s distinction lies in its abundance of neighborhoods, fostering a vibrant local scene. Venture into the myriad picanterías, local eateries that serve delectable dishes at a fraction of the cost compared to touristy or affluent areas. Immerse yourself in the genuine flavors of Arequipa without breaking the bank.
Beyond transient stays, Cayma proves ideal for extended explorations. If you’re planning a month-long or more extensive Peruvian adventure, consider this district for affordable apartments or houses for rent. Cayma beckons with its authentic allure, making it the perfect choice for those seeking a genuine, budget-friendly, and locally immersive stay in Arequipa.
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Where to Stay in Cayma
Budget Accommodation in Cayma – The Office Bed & Breakfast
Located in Cayma, The Office is a sustainable bed and breakfast, offering a garden and city views. Guests enjoy free private parking, WiFi, and access to a terrace. The outdoor fireplace, picnic area, and mountain and garden views enhance the experience. Accommodations feature flat-screen TVs with streaming, ovens, coffee machines, walk-in showers, and bathrobes. Some rooms include fully equipped kitchens. In-room amenities range from coffee and kettle to wine/champagne and treats. The B&B provides a coffee shop and packed lunches, while outdoor play equipment caters to active guests. Bike hire is available, making it a haven for cycling enthusiasts.
Mid-Range & Family Friendly Hotel in Cayma – Hotel Casa Campo – Arequipa
Located in the charming Cayma neighborhood, Hotel Casa Campo boasts elegant salmon pink and white exteriors, set amidst landscaped gardens. The picturesque hotel offers free WiFi and parking. The bright rooms feature polished wooden floors, cream walls, a safety-deposit box, minibar, and LCD cable TV, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere with ample natural light. Guests can start their day with a delightful breakfast buffet, showcasing fresh fruits, natural juices, and pastries. Hotel Casa Campo combines aesthetic appeal with modern amenities, providing a serene retreat for visitors in Arequipa.
Where to Stay in Arequipa for Business Travelers: Yanahuara
Why Stay in Yanahuara?
Positioned between the historic center and the Cayma district, Yanahuara offers a strategic location for business travelers in Arequipa. With a brisk thirty-minute walk to Plaza de Armas from any point in Yanahuara, accessibility to the city’s core is balanced with the district’s unique attractions.
Yanahuara boasts its own gems, such as the Mirador de Yanahuara near the district’s plaza. This scenic overlook, framed by grand sillar arches, provides a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding volcanoes, adding a touch of beauty to your business stay.
Amidst the district’s parks adorned with trees, benches, and food vendors, finding a quiet spot to unwind is effortless. Yanahuara caters to those seeking both tranquility and vibrant entertainment. The eastern and northern parts, especially towards the historic center, host a plethora of cafes and picanterías, ensuring business travelers have ample dining and entertainment options within reach. Whether you’re in town for work or looking to unwind, Yanahuara strikes the perfect balance between convenience and leisure in Arequipa.
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Where to Stay in Yanahuara
Mid-Range & Family Friendly Hotel in Yanahuara – La Maison d’Elise
For budget-conscious travelers seeking style in Arequipa, La Maison d’Elise is the perfect choice. Set in a striking ochre building with classic Spanish colonial-style architecture, the hotel offers a unique charm. Rooms are spread across different buildings surrounding a central courtyard, complete with a lawn and outdoor swimming pool. The rooms themselves exude a calm and minimalist ambiance, featuring spacious layouts, hardwood flooring, and contemporary bathrooms. Many rooms also offer their own outdoor seating areas. Guests can enjoy a daily breakfast in the dining room, and the restaurant and bar serve lunch and dinner. Its proximity to Yanahuara Church and the famed viewpoint of El Misti enhances the overall experience.
Affordable Luxury Hotel in Yanahuara – Costana 702 Hotel Boutique
In Arequipa, Costana 702 Hotel Boutique offers a delightful stay within 300 meters of Yanahuara Church. The hotel boasts allergy-free rooms, a garden, free WiFi, and a terrace. Conveniently located near attractions like Santa Catalina de Siena Convent, Moral House, and Arequipa’s Historical Museum, the hotel provides a central base for exploration. Rooms feature a desk, flat-screen TV, private bathroom, and amenities like bed linen and towels. Some rooms include a safety deposit box, while others offer a patio or city views. With a focus on comfort and convenience, Costana 702 Hotel Boutique ensures a pleasant experience in Arequipa.
So… Is Arequipa Worth Visiting?
Absolutely, you should! It’s this beautiful city in Peru that adds a unique touch to your travel list. Imagine charming whitewashed buildings, a touch of history, and views that’ll steal your breath – all away from the rush of Lima and Cusco. Vallecito, in particular, is our top pick, oozing calm vibes and a cultural kick.
But hey, each spot we talked about in this guide has its own thing going on – whether you’re after tranquility or feeling a bit adventurous. We hope this helps you sort out your Arequipa plan. And hey, did we miss something? Got more questions? Drop them in the comments!