Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu, the Volcanoes Ringing Arequipa

A volcanic backdrop provides an impressive setting for Arequipa, Peru’s second city. Volcano mountains Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu ring the city to the north and east.

Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu from Yanahuara Plaza, Arequipa

From left to right, Chachani (partially obscured), Misti and Pichu Pichu volcanoes viewed from Arequipa’s Yanahuara Plaza

Located in the gigantic Andes Mountain Range’s Central Volcanic Zone, Misti last erupted in 1985 while Chachani and Pichu Pichu are extinct volcanic groups. All three volcanoes are climbable either with or without a guide. I didn’t consider climbing them because of altitude sickness.

Locations in Arequipa to see all three volcanoes together include Yanahuara Plaza (Plaza de Yanahuara), the Andrés Avelino Cáceres Street pedestrian bridge near the bus terminal (Terminal Terrestre) and the Katari Hotel rooftop restaurant off the main square (Plaza de Armas).

All three volcanoes from pedestrian bridge near Arequipa Bus Terminal

The three volcanoes from a pedestrian bridge close to Arequipa’s bus station (Terminal Terrestre)

The level of snow cover varies depending on the season and weather with summer (December to March) bringing the most snow. However, clear winter skies in the middle of the year provide better viewing conditions.

Chachani, Misti and sunset moon, Arequipa

Snow-capped Chachani and Misti at dusk under the moon at the very top

The volcanoes provide the white sillar rock used to construct many of Arequipa’s buildings, hence the nickname “the white city” (la ciudad blanca).


Chachani Volcano with children in foreground outside Arequipa

Cori and her friend playing in the grass outside Arequipa, ambivalent to Chachani’s magnificence in the background

Chachani, 6.075 metres high, is the tallest mountain of the three volcanoes and the only one above 6,000 metres.

Chachani Volcano under snow, Arequipa

Chachani covered in snow (note the even snowline) viewed from Friendly AQP Hostel’s rooftop

Chachani glowing at sunset, Arequipa

Glowing clouds at sunset shroud Chachani as viewed from YES Arequipa Hostel’s rooftop


Misti Volcano and River Chili, Arequipa

Misti Volcano and the Chili River, Arequipa’s most famous geographic features

Misti is Arequipa’s most famous volcano and a symbol of the city. At 5,822 metres high it is lower than Chachani but appears more prominent, perhaps because of its closer location.

Misti Volcano latte art, Palacios Coffee, Arequipa

Latte Art from Palacios Coffee featuring Misti Volcano erupting and a bridge over the Chili River

Last erupting in 1985, a significant Misti discharge could damage Arequipa, particularly the modern suburbs built closer to the volcano.

Misti close-up from YES Arequipa Hostel

A close-up of Misti’s snow-covered peak

Misti Volcano through Yanahuara Plaza arch, Arequipa

Misti as viewed through a Yanahuara Plaza arch

Video of Misti at dawn from YES Arequipa’s rooftop

For even more Misti, there is a webcam at

Pichu Pichu

Pichu Pichu volcanic group from Yanahuara Plaza, Arequipa

Pichu  Pichu at dusk from Yanahuara Plaza

Pichu Pichu, 5,669 metres high, is lower and less famous than Misti and Chachani but still impressive.

Cathedral tower in front of Pichu Pichu Volcano, Arequipa

Pichu Pichu behind one of Arequipa’s cathedral towers

Pichu Pichu volcanic group from Arequipa's outskirts

Pichu Pichu seen from Arequipa’s outskirts

2 thoughts on “Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu, the Volcanoes Ringing Arequipa

  1. Pingback: Arequipa's splendid Plaza de Armas | Where is

  2. Pingback: Arequipa, Home away from Home | Where is

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