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Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa

(5,000+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site Architectural Building
A visit to Santa Catalina Monastery allows you to get a feel for what life was like in the 16th century. Founded in 1580, the convent was open to girls from wealthy families, who were required to pay a hefty dowry for admission into its ranks. The enchanting monastery, which at its height hosted as many as 450 residents, now houses just 20 nuns. You can visit all save a few private parts of the monastery, appreciating the simple but touching architecture, washed in soft pastel colors. Consider hiring one of the English-speaking guides stationed at the monastery entrance to get the most out of your tour. Make Santa Catalina Monastery a centerpiece of your Arequipa vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Arequipa trip itinerary builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We enjoyed our self-guided tour of this interesting historical place. The streets and walkways meandering through the property are so picturesque and the buildings themselves so fascinating. It's a un...  more »
  • You need some time to visit this monastery, but it's entirely worth it! After a while you are a little bit bored of all the small chambers were the nuns were sleeping, but around the corner there's so...  more »
  • The Monasterio is a must-see in Arequipa, and it is well worth paying for a tour guide. You will experience what it was like to be a cloistered nun, living a full life in the monastery. The buildings ...  more »
Google
  • What an incredible place to explore! So much history and beautiful architecture. We enjoyed the small garden the most, which was filled with amazing flowers and terrific landscaping. Also, we did a self guided tour, as there are signs in many of the rooms in multiple languages, which provided information. It was fun poking in and out of rooms as we felt appropriate, however, there are guides for a small fee (10 soles) who seemed very knowledgeable, so not a bad alternative I suppose. Overall, great place and a must see!
  • Such beauty and history. I recommend getting a tour guide to fullly understand everything. Then afterwards you can stay and go back through on your own. Nice restrooms there as well with toilet seats...a rare find in Peru!
  • The colors, the light, the sunset, the plants, the works of art, peace, silence. They are a testimony of a peaceful life, if you observe in detail the kitchen utensils, their beds, their chairs, you can perceive the past, it is as if you step back in time. Regardless of the religion you profess, you certainly perceive an incomparable peace, it is a beautiful place, built to spend a lifetime. I definitely recommend it.
  • Monastery which is said to only accept women from well off Spanish families. These nuns apparently grew infamous for their luxurious lifestyles, each one having her own servant, splurging on fine foods and luxurious products plus enjoying going to parties all the time.
  • I loved the walk, I did it during the night it's a little be more misterious :) I think you should pay a tour guide to get better understanding of everything.