Biking down volcanoes and other adventure sports in Arequipa, Peru


Downhill biking and trekking
The climb takes approximately an hour and a half. The trucks, loaded with bicycles, ascend up to 4,800 meters above sea level. Then, the adventure begins. With a chasm on one side and an incredible volcanic landscape on the other side, riders descent 48 kilometers. It takes approximately two to four hours. You will reach a speed of up to 80 kilometers per hour. If you are more cautious, you may want to use the brakes. If you are lucky, you will see vicuñas, guanacos and wild hares that live in the reserve.

If you like a good challenge, another option to enjoy Chachani Volcano is trekking. The climb by foot takes two days. “It is definitely a great physical challenge. Few finish the journey and reach the top,” says Carlos Rodríguez, a professional cyclist and tanned tour guide.

You can also climbing Misti, Arequipa’s most famous and majestic volcano, to see its craters. Bicycle downhill services are also offered for this volcano, although Rodríguez assures us that the Chachani is more exciting.

Another of Arequipa’s jewels is the Chili River. Rafting is the best way to enjoy the energy of its rushing waters and its stunning landscapes. (Note: This is not for those with heart conditions.) Embarked on inflatable rafts and with a paddle in hand, the tour of this river begins. Experts say it is of an intermediate level of difficulty.

The rock climbing and the horseback rides in Cayma or the countryside of Arequipa (just outside the city) are also nearby adventures. Several travel agencies offer these services. Be sure to contact a reputable company and that when practicing these adventure sports, you are given the necessary equipment for your safety. PromPeru can give you a list of formal tourism agencies.

Eating options
After an exhausting day, there is nothing like enjoying the amazing food of Arequipa: replenishing and highly nutritious.

The interior of Zig-Zag, a restaurant in Arequipa offering a fusion of Andean and Swiss food.

Lucía Gutiérrez, general manager of Chicha, Gastón Acurio’s restaurant, recommends a very typical adobo to recharge your batteries. This strong meat dish is traditionally served as breakfast in the local restaurants. The local people say that this dish is guaranteed to cure hangovers. A chupe de camarones, the traditional shrimp stew, is also a great option.

Alpandina food (a fusion of Andes and Swiss Alps cuisine) is also a representative of the city’s gastronomic power. Michel Hedinger, born in Switzerland but an Arequipa resident for 15 years, offers an interesting menu in his cozy restaurant called Zig Zag.

“In the Andes, as well as in the Alps, people require a lot of energy because the height wears them down much more,” explains Hedinger. In Zig Zag, local grains that are characterized for having high caloric content are used. These are the cañihua, cañihuaco, quinua, among others.

And if you want something sweet to go, the traditional cookies from the store Mi Abuela are exactly what you need. These cookies are made of coca, cañihua, quinua, among other ingredients.

Arequipa – more alive and powerful than ever – awaits its visitors with arms wide open.