Arequipa is a special city with a great cultural expression, authentic architectural style and a visually striking natural scenery guarded by three imposing volcanoes. Chachani is one of these guardians and it held an important role during the Inca and Colonial era. Here we’ll uncover each and every one of its mysteries!
If you’ve been following our Arequipa travel guide, you must know that this beautiful region was inhabited about 5,000 years ago. The flourishing valley of the Chili River made it a propitious land for agriculture and hunting.
However, our ancestors also felt a strong connection with nature since they used to worship the unreachable sun and moon, and the Earth itself. For that reason, the Misti, Pichu Pichu and Chachani volcano also had a mystical meaning to these civilizations.
The three volcanoes were considered as powerful Apus during the Incan era, therefore, they performed different rituals to honor them. Nonetheless, there’s a darker intent to these ceremonies, where humans were often sacrificed to ‘prevent’ a natural catastrophe.
Going further in the future, the Chachani volcano provided an important element used in the construction of Arequipa, which is also the reason behind the name “White City.” Continue reading and learn everything about it!
This imposing volcano is located 55 kilometers away from the city of Arequipa at an elevation of 6,057 meters above sea level, making it the second tallest volcano in the region. Just like its siblings, the Chachani volcano was a sacred mountain to the Incas, and also held a sanctuary on its summit.
According to a study carried out by the INGEMMET Volcanological Observatory, Chachani’s last eruption could be traced back to 56,000 years ago, though it still remains as a potentially active volcano.
Likewise, the studies concluded that these eruptions were even more catastrophic than the ones from the Misti Volcano, which is why it is considered as a very dangerous colossus.
As we mentioned earlier, Chachani is the birthplace of white ashlar, a volcanic rock created millions of years ago due to the volcanic activity of this imposing natural wonder. The Sillar Blanco was the main construction element used in the colonial constructions of the city, which is why it is known as “The White City of Arequipa.”
Arequipa’s old town owes its authentic scenery to this famous rock since over 600 historical monuments were built with it, including the Santa Catalina Monastery.
Nowadays, the quarries are part of a touristic trail called Ruta del Sillar, a tour that explores the Añashuaico quarries, at the foothills of the Chachani volcano. We encourage you to know more about this attraction while you’re here.
In spite of its high elevation, the Volcan Chachani has an easier ascent since the base camp - Located at 5,200 meters of altitude - can be reached by 4x4 trucks. After that, you must hike for about 6 hours to reach its summit. Below you’ll find more information on how to get there!
As you already know, the Chachani Volcano is located within the Arequipa region in southern Peru, right next to the Misti Volcano. It has an elevation of 5,825 meters above sea level and it’s one of the few active volcanoes in Peru.
Due to the high elevation of this natural wonder, the Chachani Volcano is considered to be a moderate to challenging trek since the trail is covered in volcanic materials and ashes, which makes it difficult to pass on the trail.
However, you can get to the base camp by bus or a 4x4 truck. If you’re up to this adventure you must have a great physical condition, and most importantly, to be properly acclimatized before committing to this activity.
In case you’re considering climbing Chachani, make sure to choose a reliable tour operator since you’ll be going to high altitude places in very unstable terrain. It is worth mentioning that we do not operate this trek.
Arequipa is a region full of natural wonders, history and culture, which is why we'd love to show you everything about it. If you would like to know more about the famous White City, here you have a blog about the top things to do in Arequipa.
Since the Chachani Volcano is located on a high elevation, it is usual to see travelers experiencing dizziness, tiredness, headaches, and shortness of breath upon arrival, particularly if coming from low-altitude destinations. Make sure to follow these recommendations that will surely help you avoid and deal with altitude sickness:
- Keep yourself hydrated. Water is the best ally to fight and prevent this condition.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking at all costs. Alcohol is dehydrating, and smoking can worsen or cause shortness of breath.
- Eat a light but high-calorie diet. High altitude increases the need for fuel since you get dehydrated and burn carbs faster.
- Drink Coca tea or chew Coca leaves. This is a medicinal plant of the Andes, known for helping to ease any altitude sickness symptoms and improving acclimatization.
- Take it easy. Don’t commit to a physically demanding activity on the first 2-3 days upon arrival.
There are some medicines that can help with any altitude sickness symptoms. You can find Diamox or Soroche Pills in almost any drugstore in Peru, nonetheless, we highly recommend consulting with a doctor before taking any of these medications.
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