The active Chachani Volcano, near Arequipa in southern Peru, is known amongst the climbing set as one of the world’s easiest 20,000-foot (6,075-meter) climbs. Still, reaching the summit is considered an intermediate to challenging two-day climb. At the top, marvel at the sight of the Pacific Ocean and the spectacular Andes mountainscape.
Reaching the summit of Chachani Volcano is within reach of most climbers, but proper altitude acclimatization and being in good physical condition are musts. A typical guided tour helps travelers reach the summit in two days. Tours might start with a 4x4 ride to the base to prepare for an initial climb and camp set-up. A five- or six hour-hike to the top on the second day offers a panoramic vista.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Those climbing Chachani Volcano must be comfortable with the altitude and physical exertion.
- Climbing to the summit is not recommended for those with back problems, heart issues, or other serious medical conditions.
- Climbing tours of the volcano usually include roundtrip hotel transport, drop-off and pickup from the trailhead, gear, entrance fees, food, and a guide. Check specific tours for details.
- Prepare for the climb by acclimatizing in high-altitude cities such as Cuzco, La Paz, Chivay, or Puno.
- Temperatures can drop to zero at night; come prepared with proper clothing and gear.
How to Get There
Chachani Volcano is just north of the city of Arequipa, easily reached by a short flight from either Lima or Cusco. Tours may include hotel pickup and drop-off. If self-driving, it is possible to reach base camp where parking is available.
When to Get There
The optimal months to climb are from May to July when the weather is most pleasant. Rain and cloud cover are most likely during summer, from January to March. With low precipitation year-round and minimal temperature differences throughout the year, there is no permanent snowcap or ice.
From the Mountain to the White City
The Quechua people consider Chachani as one of the great spiritual protectors of Arequipa city. For many centuries, sillar—bright white volcanic stone—has been extracted from the mountain’s elevated slopes to build the city’s stunning churches and colonial houses, giving Arequipa the nickname, The White City.