The department of Arequipa is synonymous with volcanoes and snow-capped peaks, clear blue skies and endless plains. The region lies on the western slopes of the Andes, and is the jumping-off point for a series of climbs of varying difficulty, which stand out for their rare combination of beautiful landscapes, easy access and their ancient cultural heritage.
The Misti volcano (5,825 meters) is the symbol of the city of Arequipa. The route up to the top is more of a hike than a climb, and takes two days up steep scree slopes . The most popular of the ascents starts out from the city and continues up to Tambo Inca and the base camp of Nido de Aguilas. Hikers will reach the summit on the second day. Chachani (6,075 meters), the other volcano overlooking the city, can be climbed taking a spectacular trail that climbs up from Pampa de Arrieros.
The Colca Valley also features several imposing mountains which are popular amongst climbers: The Ampato (6,288 meters) and Sabancaya (5,976 meters) volcanoes and Mount Hualca Hualca (6,025 meters) are some of the highest.The Cotahuasi Valley features Mount Coropuna (6,425 meters), its most beautiful peak, giving climbers superb views of the region. The valley is reached from Lake Pallarcocha, just a two-day drive from Arequipa.
The rain season runs from December to March, while the best time to visit is from April to June. The climate is dry and sunny by day, with cold nights. Average temperatures reach 20°C.
The Colca Valley is located 150 km (around 4 hours) northeast of the city of Arequipa. The Cotahuasi Valley lies 375 km (around 12 hours) northeast of Arequipa.
For information on access to these and other mountains, check with adventure tourism companies based in Arequipa which provide logistics services and coordinate with guides and local porters.
The best time for climbing is between May and October.