Misti Volcano, Arequipa, Peru (with Map & Photos)

The Misti Volcano in Arequipa, the white city

If you plan to visit Arequipa, known as the "White City", you will surely have heard of the Misti Volcano, the most striking element of the landscape of this beautiful city.

The Misti is the most distinctive of the 3 snow-capped peaks that surround Arequipa, along with Chachani and Pichu Pichu. It is not for nothing that it is said that the presence of The Misti strengthens the spirit of the people who visit it. Do you want to know a little more about the imposing Misti Volcano? Read this article and find out.

Misti Volcano
Misti Volcano

The Misti, history of the volcano in Arequipa

Since ancient times, the Misti Volcano has always been part of the activities of the inhabitants, and even, a few years ago, evidence of ritual sacrifices made by Inca peoples was found near the crater of the volcano.

According to history, between the years 1440 and 1450, the Misti volcano erupted, and the Inca Yupanqui prayed many times to the Mountain to appease the wrath of the important Apu, without success.

Currently, the ascent to the Misti volcano is carried out partially or totally (up to the crater), and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Arequipa.

It is precisely from the Misti that Arequipa has obtained one of its most distinctive elements, the ashlar. This white volcanic stone was used to build the first houses since the founding of the city.

Why is it called "Misti"?

The volcano is called Misti for its meaning in Quechua which means: "white man", since Arequipa is known as the "White City" for its buildings made of white ashlar.

At what height is the Misti Volcano?

The Misti Volcano rises 5,820 meters above sea level, and the crater floor is 5,550 meters above sea level. Although it hasn't had a major eruption in years, it is considered active or potentially active.

Where is the Misti Volcano located?

The Misti Volcano is one of the 7 active volcanoes in southern Peru, whose summit is located 17 km from the center of the city of Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru in terms of population.

The Misti Volcano is one of the most emblematic attractions that the district of Yanahuara presents, in the province and department of Arequipa; This volcano is located in the Chili Valley and is only 20 km from the Chachani volcano.

Misti Volcano
Misti Volcano

Characteristics of the Misti Volcano

At the summit of the Misti Volcano there are 2 craters. The largest is 935 meters in diameter, which houses a smaller one of 530 meters in diameter.

The Misti, together with El Chachani, is one of the volcanoes with the easiest ascent in Peru. The ascent to the Misti volcano is not considered a mountaineering route, but a trekking route, where the main difficulty is the volcanic ash that emanates from the volcano.

The biggest attraction of the Misti is the volcano as a whole, since with its almost perfect conical shape and the shades of snow on its top, it gives the city of Arequipa a unique landscape beauty in the world.

How old is the Misti Volcano?

Recent geological-geophysical studies show that the Misti Volcano is approximately 112,000 years old.

In the last 50,000 years, the Misti Volcano has registered at least 12 volcanic eruptions, whose expelled products have been deposited in large part in the area that is now occupied by the city of Arequipa.

Getting to the Misti Volcano
Several travel agencies offer the tour to the top of the Misti volcano in their itinerary; In order to arrive, it is necessary to take an average of 2 days of travel, previously having acclimatized.

The ascent to the Misti Volcano does not imply major difficulties, however it is necessary to have an adequate physical and health condition since the 2-day journey to the top of the volcano represents prolonged walks of up to 12 hours a day where, in some cases, you will have to rest in camps above 4,600 masl.

Misti Volcano
Misti Volcano

Ancient eruptions

Although its geological history records important eruptions in the past, its last important activity was in the year 1870. This eruption reached a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 5, on a scale that goes from 0 to 8.

The products emitted in this eruption were deposited mainly in the southwestern sector of the volcano, where the city of Arequipa is located today.

This great eruption also produced pyroclastic flows that ran through ravines in the northeast, southwest, and west sectors of the Misti.

Visit the Yanahuara Viewpoint

The Yanahuara viewpoint draws the attention of thousands of visitors for its beautiful ashlar arches, which serve as portals to enter the viewpoint that offers the best view of Arequipa.

From its balconies, at 2,343 meters high, you can see the White City that contrasts with the natural wonders that surround it, such as the Misti Volcano, the Chachani and Pichu Pichu.

The Mirador de Yanahuara is located next to the Plaza de Yanahuara, 10 minutes from the city center. A traditional neighborhood of Arequipa with narrow streets, cobblestone streets and old ashlar houses with their typical orchards.

The information was useful for you? In the city of Arequipa, various travel agencies offer different tours to those interested, but remember that any walk is demanding without first acclimatizing.

Misti Volcano Map