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Cordilleras in Arequipa

In the department of Arequipa, the Andes Mountains are divided into three major chains, or cordilleras:

  • The volcanic mountain range.
  • The cordillera Ampato
  • The Chila mountain range.


Stretching over a distance of 80 km (50 mi.), the Cordillera Volcánica features the volcanos located closest to the city of Arequipa: Chachani (6,075 m (19,930 ft.)), Misti (5,822 m (19,101 ft.)), Pichu Pichu (5,664 m (18,583 ft.)), and Ubinas (5,672 m (18,609 ft.)).

The Cordillera del Ampato crosses the central part of the region, from the boundary with the department of Ayacucho across the courses of the Ocoña-Cotahuasi and Majes Rivers to the start of the Colca Valley near Chivay. The most notable peaks in this chain are the volcano Sara Sara (5,505 m (18,061 ft.)), Solimana (6,093 m (19,990 ft.)), Coropuna (6,425 m (21,079 ft.)), Hualca Hualca (6,025 m (19,767 ft.)), Sabancaya (5,976 m (19,606 ft.)), and Ampato (6,318 m (20,728 ft.)). The Cordillera del Chila is a long mountain range, home to the source of the Apurímac River and the most distant tributary of the Amazon River. Notable peaks include the snow-capped mountains of Chila (5,654 m (18,550 ft.)), Casiri (5,647 m (18,527 ft.)), and Mismi (5,597 m (18,363 ft.)).