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MISTI, the stone guard

  • 2 min read

From 5825 meters above sea level the Misti volcano overlooks and protects the city of Arequipa.

The beauty of "The white city" is due in part to the harmonious picture that is completed by Misti and its two adjacent volcanoes.

Arequipeños (people from Arequipa) consider the legends about Misti part of their identity. Here I share with you the most popular ones…

Before Incan times, there was a farmer, Misti Túpac. He was a strong young man who had been blessed by the gods with super powers. However, Misti Túpac, drunk with power, started using his gift selfishly. The fire god punished the farmer by turning him into a volcano that, instead of erupting, will guard the community from that moment on.

Classy blog Misti volcano

Another popular legend is a love story between two mountain gods, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. Since this relationship was not approved by the main gods, they sent a stone guard to put an end to it. The name of the stone guard was Misti, who remains in between the two lovers.


A final story is one cherised by local people…

During the Incan empire apogee, the emperor was so busy with the administration that asked his father, the Sun god, for some help. The Sun sent then a cyclops named Misti. He was very skillful and was doing an excellent job assisting the Inca king in the highland city of Cusco.

One day, the chasquis, messengers of the empire, who knew very well the whole territory, told Misti about the ocean. Willing to see the coastal landscape, Misti asked the Inca for a break but he was denied permission.

He was so curious that decided to go to the beach. Unfortunately at sunrise, when he was midway between the Andes and the coast –in the region of Arequipa− he was caught by the Sun. As a punishment for his disobedience, the god turned him into a big stone that little by little became a hill.

Over the years, Misti had cried so much that his tears created a river making that land around a very fertile valley.

Classy blog Misti volcano

Centuries later, at sunrise again, the Sun realized the beauty of the valley  created by Misti’s tears. To reward him, the god changed Misti into an impressive volcano, so tall that he could see the ocean forever with his single big eye.

Misti stories are still inspired by a two-day climb that takes you up between Earth and Heaven. From here you can spot the lights of the city, further away than the stars above you. This is the “top of the world” from where you can delight in the beauty of the land of volcanos, the evergreen valley, and pampas and plateaus home to Andean camelids.

Feel the fibers of Peru by wearing the fine and beautiful Classy’s knitwear!

Sincerely yours,




Classy Ara virtual tour guide Ara was born and raised in Peru. Since she was a little girl, she has written skillfully and always loved to travel. In recent years, he has worked in translation studios and in the travel industry. Ara says her work is a passion and a way of life, which is also reflected in the Peru-themed "virtual travel" articles for Classy.