Cafés, Bakeries, and Ice Cream
Arequipeños take their desserts very seriously, as is evident by the colorful window displays along the first block of Mercaderes or on Portal de Flores on the Plaza de Armas.
The lineup on this street starts with Manolo (Mercaderes 107, tel. 054/21-9009, 7 a.m.–1 a.m. daily, US$5), a relaxed diner where locals come to indulge in inexpensive Peruvian meals and decadent desserts.
Cappricio (Mercaderes 121, tel. 054/39-1000, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., US$4) is the best, serving espresso, Italian food, and great pastries desserts in a diner-like atmosphere.
Cafés on the Plaza de Armas are similar but with tourist prices. The exception La Covacha (Portal de Flores 130, tel. 054/20-4991, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–8 p.m. Sun., US$1), serving espresso and desserts including tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and cheesecake.
Next door to Librería el Lector is the charming Colibri (San Francisco 225, tel. 054/21-1120, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 5–11 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun., US$1), with vaulted sillar ceilings, wood floors, and great espresso. It serves crepes, pies, salads, and brochettes.
On Jerusalén you can find delicious empanadas at the tiny El Pan Nuestro (Jerusalén 515, tel. 054/28-1990, 6 a.m.–10 p.m. daily).
For a coffee with a cause, head to Café C.V. (Jerusalén 406, tel. 054/22-6376, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., US$1). All proceeds go to Casa Verde, an orphanage for street kids. You can also buy handmade purses and backpacks to support the children.
Missing an American latte? Head to Cusco Coffee Company (La Merced 135, tel. 054/28-1152, US$2). This is the closest you’ll come to Starbucks in Arequipa.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition