Best Day Trips from Arequipa

Arequipa is not only a beautiful city. It also offers impressive geological areas surrounding it, so I have put together a guide of all the best day trips from Arequipa.


I will cover:

  • Day Trips to Volcanos

  • Day Trips to Waterfalls

  • Colca Canyon Trips

  • Day trip to a Salt Lagoon

If you want to find out more about things to do in Arequipa city, check out my Arequipa Travel Guide.

So let's dive into the best day trips from Arequipa.

Volcanos

I would like to start with all the amazing volcanos you can visit and scale around Arequipa as I think that is the special thing about this city. Wherever you look there is always at least one volcano in the background.


You can either visit them on a day tour and enjoy all the amazing viewpoints or if you are an experienced hiker, you can do a tour where you scale the volcanos. These tours can take more than 1 day.


The main volcanos to see and visit are:


Coropuna

Coropuna is home to Peru's largest and tallest volcanic structure. It rises from a base level at about 4,500m and forms an elongated ridge composed of at least 6 cones. Its highest point (6,425m) is at the northwest end.​ This is quite a challenging option for scaling so you will definitely need a guide with you.


Solimana

Solimana is a distant hill in southwestern Peru that is attractive and rarely climbed. It is an

extinct stratovolcano that has eroded quite a bit and what remains of the crater rim now corresponds to the three main peaks connected by a semi-circular ridge. The southwestern peak (lower, about 5,900m) is more technical (climbing required) and was first climbed by a Peruvian/Italian group in 1973.


Ampato

Ampato Volcano gained fame after a mummy was discovered on its summit. It is part of the Cordillera de Ampato along with Solmana and Coropuna. It is the second-highest mountain in the Arequipa area, standing at 6,288m. The active volcanos Sabancaya (5,976m) and Nevado Hualca Hualca (6,000m). are part of the Ampato Group.


Some warning in case you do decide to scale one of these volcanos:


From November to April, there is a rainy season where you can see storms and even snow. It is better to avoid this time of year as you only get around 6 hours of climbing a day, then the storms usually move in and navigation is very tricky.

Camping is feasible almost anywhere. However, due to the huge and sharp stones, locating the ideal location can take some effort. Access to drinking water might force you to hike for water, so bring enough for at least a day and a half.


Day Trips to Waterfalls

There are several waterfalls you can visit around Arequipa. You can also do rafting on each trip!


Sogay

The journey from Arequipa to Sogay takes about an hour and passes through a variety of traditional communities as well as beautiful terraced landscapes. Depending on whether you begin in town or at the end of the road, the hike to the falls is between 7 and 8 kilometers long.


During the tour, you’ll cross the districts of Sabanda and Yarabamba and observe the countryside of Arequipa. When you arrive in the city, you will recognize the pre-Inca terraces, the characteristic yellow houses, and the main square of Sogay.

Later, You will start your journey with a one-hour hike to Sogay Falls, which is rocky and moderately difficult. You can also hear the water from the waterfall as you enter the road, and you will have to climb some hills and descend others.


You’ll likely be able to take numerous photographs and enter the water that forms from the falls after arriving at these stunning waterfalls, which can be quite chilly at times. After tasting the beauty and taking many photos, then you can return to Sogay.​

Next, you'll visit Quequea, where you'll see the town's main square and the church.


Pillones Falls

Pillones Falls is a massive waterfall known for its beauty. Imata stone forest contains volcanic rock formations that have been sculpted by the wind into various shapes, including men, animals, birds, monsters, and more. Both locations are featured in a 1-day itinerary that departs from Arequipa due to their proximity. It is one of Arequipa's most well-known natural tourism attractions.​


Warning: You may experience symptoms of altitude sickness while visiting the Pillones waterfalls and the Imata stone forest (nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath when exerting physical effort). This is due to the low-oxygen Andean geography. Drink plenty of water and get used to the Arequipa climate at least a day or two before your trip.​

​During the tours to the Pillones waterfalls and the Imata stone forest, you will make a stop in Zamacola, Pampa de Arrieros, and the Caahuas pampa. In these places, there you will be able to appreciate the visuals (Andean camelids with fine fur) that inhabit the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserves.

The Imata stone forest is part of the so-called "Mauca Arequipa" (small Arequipa in the Quechua language). As legend has it, the gods punished an ancient city for disobeying them. As a result, today you can see the different stone formations that resemble an ancient city.


Paccha Waterfall

This is one of the most stunning tours in the Arequipa area!​

The trip to the Nature Reserve "Salinas y Aguada Blanca" will take around 2 hours. You'll stop along the way to look at the flora and fauna. Vicunas, llamas, foxes, flamingos, and eagles are among the animals that can be seen.​ The trail to the Paccha waterfall will thereafter be followed. First, you’ll be on top of it on the left side, and to arrive at the bottom of this 60-meter waterfall, you will have to walk for two hours. It's really worth it thanks to the great view you can enjoy there. You will have lunch on-site, and you can relax in this beautiful environment.


Colca Canyon


Colca Canyon is a must-do when in Arequipa. It is an incredibly beautiful canyon and home for the big condors.


You can either do a day trip and visit the main viewpoints or do a 2 or 3-day trekking trip. I did the 2-day trekking trip and absolutely loved it! It is quite a long and challenging hike but so worth it and it is a great adventure.


If you are interested in doing a several-day trekking trip I have a whole guide on things you should know before you go, what to prepare and what to expect. Check it out here.


Colca Canyon also can be a great day trip if you want to try some of the Arequipa's best hot springs!

Salt Lagoon


White as the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia in the dry season and as beautiful as any Patagonia lagoon in the wet is the Salt Lagoon outside Arequipa. Smaller one but as fascinating and only 3 hour drive away from Arequipa.


The environment is very similar to Bolivia's salt desert. You will see different lagoons and flamingos there.



If you are planning to spend some time in Arequipa, check out this Arequipa Travel Guide: