Activities in Cusco and Arequipa, according to photographer J.R. Duran


A morning at the Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa?

Santa Catalina, 301

You can explore this monastery on your own or hire a guide. Its 65,600-foot [20,000 m] structure is surrounded by streets, houses, plazas, trees and fountains. Part of it is still home to nuns, and the rest is open to visitation: you can enter the apartments where novices used to live in the 17th century and see the furniture, silk curtains and Chinese porcelain.


Custom-made hat at Sombreros Carrasco, Arequipa

Calle Piérola, 409

This shop is one of Arequipa’s best secrets. Founded by Don Eustaquio Carrasco in 1929, it’s located nearby Plaza de Armas, in one of the cloisters of Compañía de Jesús. They sell all kinds of hats made to order.


Cusqueña Dourada with any dish at the restaurant Chicha, Cusco

Plaza Regocijo, 261

Chef Gastón Acurio has put Peruvian cuisine on the world map. From his restaurant's veranda in Cusco, you can view the towers of the city’s cathedral. The tip is to have a Cusqueña Dourada beer while savoring any dish, like the lomo saltado with mushrooms, french fries and egg.


Shopping at Librería El Lector, Arequipa

Calle San Francisco, 213

Latin American authors (Vargas Llosa, Cortázar), books on Peru (including one by photographer Martin Chambi) and travel guides await readers in a pleasant setting. The bookstore is located on Calle San Francisco in Arequipa, halfway between the church of San Francisco and Plaza de Armas.


Breakfast at Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cusco

Calle Palacio, 140

This monastery was originally built over the ruins of an Inca palace occupied by the Spanish. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1965, it was renovated into a hotel five years later. The breakfast buffet is served until 10:30 a.m. on the internal patio.

Photos: J.R. Duran, Marianna Fierro, Shutterstock, courtesy of Belmond Hotel