The snowy Chachani in Arequipa
The snowy Chachani offers one of the best hiking trails in Arequipa. This is because the path to reach the top of this volcano is not that difficult compared to other routes. The road is full of landscapes of extreme height, from where you can see the chain of mountains in southern Peru. Tours last 2 days and include a day of camping. Climate change is causing the mountain peak to melt.
All about the snowy Chachani
The Chachani volcano is one of the highest peaks in southern Peru. It is made up of four snow-capped peaks such as: the Fatima, the Angel, the Mount Tigro and the Chachani. It is located only 45 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. Despite its high altitude, its snows are not very dense and its way to the top is not that difficult. In recent years, climate change has caused its snows to melt and melt. During the summer the snows increase in density. However, the rest of the year these decrease considerably.
Tours to the snowy Chachani are 2 days or more. The route begins with a car trip from the city of Arequipa. Then there is a short walk of approximately 2 hours to the camp (above 5 thousand meters of altitude). Finally, on the second day, the hike to the top of the snow is made and the return road to transport to Arequipa.
The Chachani mountain is located 45 kilometers south of the city of Arequipa in Peru. It belongs to the Cerro Colorado district.
The Chachani volcano is located 6,057 meters above sea level (19,872 feet).
The name ‘Chachani’ comes from a word of Aymara origin that means ‘courageous’. It is one of the most accessible snow-capped mountains at more than 6 thousand meters of elevation on the planet. The route can be done every day of the year, although it is complicated in the months of January, February and March because the rain and snow make the walk difficult. Yes, it is possible to go on your own, but always with an experienced guide.
How to get there?
There are several routes to get to the Chachani snowy mountain. The most touristic is a 2-day route on foot, after a first section by car from the city of Arequipa. The route reaches the upper part of the north side of the mountain, after approximately 8 hours of walking.
The Chachani, like the most important peaks of Peru, was an ‘apu’ (important lord or divinity) according to the worldview of the Incas. In the nearby chain of mountains there were found offerings of Inca human sacrifices (the so-called ritual of the capacocha). It is the second snow that predominates in the city of Arequipa. During the 20th century, affirmed paths were built that lead to the top of the snowy mountain.
Hiking route to the snowy Chachani
The trekking route to the Chachani snow-capped mountain lasts 2 days:
Day 1 – 3-hour land transport trip, from the city of Arequipa to the slopes of the Chachani snow-capped mountain (5,100 meters of altitude). Then you continue on foot uphill for 2 hours towards the camp in the ‘Pampa de arrieros’ (5,200 meters of altitude). There he spends the night with all the utensils required to prevent the intense cold.
Day 2 – From early on, there is a walk of approximately 6 hours to the top of the snowy mountain (6 thousand meters high). From there you have an impressive view of the Andes mountain range that surrounds the place. Finally, you will return on foot to the camp, from where you will take ground transportation to the city of Arequipa.
The 2-day tours to the Chachani mountain have a cost of 299 soles per person, approximately (93 US dollars). All tours include: transportation, kitchen equipment, tour guide service, hiking equipment, breakfast (day 2) and lunch (day 1).
When to go?
The best time to visit the snowy Chachani is during the dry season (from April to October), when the rains are not frequent, nor the dense snow; which makes the walk easier.
The climate in the snowy Chachani is extremely cold, with night temperatures that drop to -15ºC. (5ºF). During the day, the temperature can reach 5ºC. (41ºF). The rainiest season occurs from November to March (especially January, February and March). The least rainy but coldest season is from April to October.
What should i bring?
- Comfortable sports clothing (thermal for the night).
- Trekking shoes.
- Sleeping bag.
- Cap or hat.
- Rehydrating water.
- Walking sticks (optional).
- Photographic camera.
Images of the snowy Chachani
Snowy Chachani is also a volcano with latent volcanic activity composed of various gaseous, non-gaseous and viscous elements. Its crater has been degraded. Its lavas are visible because the cone is steep with drops of ravines.
Climate change has caused the snows of the Chachani snow-capped mountain and other mountains of Arequipa to melt. According to Arequipa’s older adults, some 20 or 30 years ago, it was possible to see the snows of these snow-capped mountains from the city of Arequipa. Currently, it is only possible to observe this in January, February and March.
The hiking route to the Chachani mountain is not difficult, although it does require adaptation to the high Andean altitude. For this, it is recommended to spend 1 or 2 days in advance in the city of Arequipa. It is also recommended to drink the coca tea. This will reduce the symptoms of the so-called ‘altitude sickness’.
In addition to the route to the Chachani snow-capped mountain, Arequipa offers other hiking routes, such as: the route to the Misti snow-capped mountain, ascent to the Ampato snow-capped mountain, trekking to the Coropuna snow-capped mountain, the Solimana snow-capped route and others. They can choose the tourism agency that suits them best.