Museo de Arte Virreinal de Santa Teresa


This gorgeous 17th-century Carmelite convent is open to the public as a living museum. The colonial-era buildings are justifiably famed for their decorative painted walls and restored rooms filled with priceless votive objets d’art, murals, precious metalwork, paintings and other historical artifacts. It is all explained by student tour guides who speak Spanish, English, French, German and Portuguese; tips are appreciated. A charming shop at the front of the complex sells baked goods and rose-scented soaps made by the nuns.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Arequipa attractions

1. Iglesia de San Francisco

0.24 MILES

Originally built in the 16th century, this church has been badly damaged by several earthquakes. It still stands in its sillar (white volcanic rock)-brick…

2. Museo Histórico Municipal

0.29 MILES

The historical trajectory of both Arequipa and Peru is showcased in this educational, if unexciting, museum, split into different rooms dedicated to…

3. Casa Ricketts

0.31 MILES

The ornate Casa Ricketts has served as a seminary, archbishop’s palace, school and home to well-to-do families since it was built in 1738. Today it is the…

4. Iglesia de Santo Domingo

0.34 MILES

A colonial sillar (white volcanic rock) church and convento (monastery) complex that, despite extensive destruction from earthquakes, still retains…

5. Monasterio de Santa Catalina

0.34 MILES

This convent shouldn’t be missed, even if you’ve overdosed on colonial edifices. Occupying a whole block and guarded by imposing high walls, it is one of…

6. La Catedral

0.36 MILES

This beautiful building on the Plaza de Armas stands out for its stark white sillar (volcanic rock) and massive size – it's the only cathedral in Peru…

7. Plaza de Armas

0.39 MILES

Arequipa’s main plaza, unblemished by modern interference, is a museum of the city’s sillar (volcanic rock) architecture – white, muscular and…

8. Iglesia de La Compañía


If Arequipa’s cathedral seems too big, an interesting antidote is this diminutive Jesuit church on the southeast corner of the Plaza de Armas. Proving…