A lot of tourists are asking me which volcano to choose while being in Arequipa, Peru. They always hesitate between Misti (5825m) or Chachani (6075m). I climbed both of them but it is hard to say which volcano is easier or more beautiful. It all depends on your physical and mental condition. I climbed Misti and it was very hard for me because I was not prepared at all to do this. I wasn’t acclimatized, I didn’t eat well before, I didn’t take any medicine that could help me etc…I went to the top, but I was like a zombie. I couldn’t eat anything the day before and the day of ascent, so I didn’t have any energy. I just reached the summit, because I didn’t want to come back to climb this volcano again 🙂 So it was my head going up to the top and my body saying me that I won’t do it. But finally, I climbed this “horrible” mountain and I was all well while going down to the base camp…My body and my mind were so happy that I did it, so I totally forgot that the way going down is not going to be sooo easy.
The way to reach Misti:
Firstly, the private car takes you to the starting point of the first day. They will drop you off on the 3400m above the sea level. Then, you are going up to the base camp with all your stuff, so your bag will be quite heavy. From the starting point to the base camp, will take you about 4 hours. The path is quite steep, with a lot of rocks and stones, so it can be quite tiring. But the views from the BC (4600) are astonishing, so it is totally worth it!
Misti Base Camp (you can see Pichu Pichu Volcano):
Once you are in Misti BC, you gonna sleep there (in your own tent), it will depend on your guide what time you plan to wake up and start climbing to the top of the volcano. We started at about 2am and we got to the top at about 8am…I was very slow this time…As you can see from the photos, during some month in the year, you don’t need a professional equipment to climb Misti or Chachani. It’s like going trekking.
From the BC to the top, the path is quite steep, there are a lot of small stones so it was quite slippery. There are many paths, so if you are climbing on your own, it could be a bit difficult to choose a right one. It will take you about 5-7 hours to get to the top. Seeing sunrise over Arequipa was simply splendid. Check out the photos. We did it in September, so it was not that cold, but still you had to have a lot of warm layers of clothes. Going down from the top to the place where the car was waiting for us, took us 4 hours.
View from the top of Misti:
View on Chachani from the top of Misti:
The crater of Misti:
The way to reach Chachani (6075m):
At the beginning I can tell you that climbing Chachani is quite easier than Misti. Why? The road to the base camp is much more ‘comfortable’. It takes you only 1,5h hour to reach BC. The car drops you off at 4900m and BC is at 5100m. So you just have to do 200m up to get to the BC. You can do Chachani in one or two days. If you and not acclimatized well, do it in 2 days. If you were on high altitudes a few weeks before, then do it in one day. This way you can skip sleeping in the tent on a high altitude (normally it is very hard to sleep on 5100m, so that’s why I prefer to do this volcano in one day).
From BC to the top will take you from 4-6 hours. My male friends did it in 3 hours but then your body needs to be very well prepared for that 🙂 I did it in 4 hours because I was very well acclimatized, one week before I did 5 days of Ausangate Trek where everyday I slept on high altitudes (between 4500-5000m). It was a perfect acclimatization! Check out the views from Chachani, they were also as awesome as on Misti. Going down from the top to the car took us about 3 hours.
View from the top of Chachani:
Eruption of Sabancaya Volcano seen from Chachani:
So when it comes to the comparison of these two volcanoes. I would recommend you to do The Chachani. As it is the famous ‘6000m’ , while Misti is still ‘5000’. The views are comparable. Personally, I preferred the views from Chachani, as they were much more vivid for me. Of course, if you have enough time to do both summits, do it 🙂 However, if you have little time and you would like to climb your first 6000m above the sea level mountain, then your choice should be quite simple!
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