Santa Catalina Monastery Tickets

If there is one essential thing to do in Arequipa, it would be to visit the Santa Catalina Monastery. We left totally in love with its colonial architecture, its narrow streets (some named after Spanish cities) and its colors.

Located just 5 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of the Bolanca City, it is very close to all the tourist attractions and restaurants where to eat in Arequipa. Thus, you will have no problem to enjoy it during your trip to Peru.

Are you coming to visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena, in Arequipa?

Arches, domes, colors, alleys, works of art, super vivid walls in white, blue or orange… The monastery of Santa Caterina di Siena is a real beauty! It is also enormous, with more than 20,000 square meters, occupying an entire block (or block).

It was built, of course, with the typical Arequipa white ashlar from the Chachani volcano, as we were told. It also has details in red ashlar, which come from the Misti. A winning combination!

Although we are sure you already have it high on your list, we want to tell you (almost) everything about the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa. Let’s get started!

What to see in the Santa Catalina Monastery of Arequipa

As we mentioned at the beginning, the Monastery of Santa Catalina de Arequipa is huge! In addition, its narrow streets (some of them named after Spanish cities: Toledo, Burgos, Seville, Cordoba, Granada or Malaga) are quite intricate. We believe this is part of its charm and finding your way around is not difficult.

Be that as it may, it cannot be missing in your list of places to see in Arequipa, and we assure you that you will love it.

The first thing you will see is the Portada, or entrance. Of ashlar of grayish color, only an image of the saint of the same name stands out. It doesn’t give you any foreshadowing of what awaits you inside?

Although it is beautiful in its entirety, the most liked places in the Monastery of Santa Catalina are:

  • The Church and the Bell Tower

    With an exterior that is orange on the lower part and white on the upper part, it was built in the mid-17th century. Its dome is striking, large and tremendously simple.

    Its interior is totally white, with baroque and colonial touches. The confessionals, the silver altar and the organ stand out. Be especially careful here, as we saw many people praying and we travelers should not disturb…

    The bell tower of the monastery was built in the middle of the 18th century and has four bells. If you climb the tower, there are also good views of the city and the Misti volcano. Highly recommended!

  • The Cloisters

    There is no doubt that, in most convents and monasteries, their characteristic “patios”, surrounded by arcaded galleries, are the kings. In the case of Santa Catalina and its three colorful cloisters, it could not be otherwise!

    • Major Cloister. Orange in color, it is the largest and the oldest one
    • Patio del Silencio. Also orange, it is one of the most popular spots in the Monastery, thanks to the inscription of the word “silence” on one of its arches. There the nuns gathered to pray the Rosary without saying a word!
    • Cloister of the Orange Trees. It owes its name to the fact that there are several of these trees. Being completely deep blue in color, it is reminiscent of the city of Chefchaouen in Morocco. In it, by the way, the nuns represent the Passion of Christ during Holy Week.
  • Other places to see in Santa Catalina Monastery

    • Pinacoteca. White and vaulted space, in the shape of a cross, where different works of art with religious themes are exhibited. The pieces are a great exponent of Peruvian colonial art, especially of the Cusquenian School. In addition, being so different from the rest of the set, it is quite charming.
    • Laundry. It is on the outside and includes part of the canal used to transport water, as well as several clay pots where food was stored.
    • Kitchen. One of the places that caught our attention when visiting the Monastery of Santa Catalina. It has a well, an oven and different old cooking tools that have been preserved over the years. Notice the black stains on the wall, which are marks from charcoal cooking.

    According to scholars, the high ceilings of the latter could tell us that the chapel was intended to be built on that spot…

  • Tips for visiting the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa

    The first thing we recommend to visit the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa is to arrive as early as possible in the morning. This way, you will avoid peak tourist hours and large groups. We, for example, were ready to go in before they opened and, even though it was August, we were practically alone! We only came across two single girls, another couple and a group of ladies.

    Because of its size and layout, it’s not crazy to get a little disoriented… but don’t worry! With the same ticket you get a map. If you just want to “take a look around” or if you have little time to visit Arequipa, we believe that one hour is enough. Otherwise, it is best to dedicate a couple of hours or even three, to enjoy the monastery at a slow fire. It’s worth it!

    Of course, if you are traveling with a lover of photography, arm yourself with patience, because it is one of the most beautiful and photogenic places we have met while traveling. I tell you from experience… Obviously, you can’t eat inside. At the end of your visit, you can try La Trattoria del Monasterio, which is part of the same complex and is one of the best restaurants in Arequipa. Let us know!

We hope you enjoyed discovering what is, for us, the most beautiful of all the places to see in Arequipa, as well as one of the most important religious buildings to visit in Peru.

If you have any more questions, or you have already been and you want to add any curiosity or advice to visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina in Arequipa, the comments are all yours. Thank you!

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