South America is a place full of mystifying beauty. We as humans have always known water to be transparent by nature. But, what if we tell you there is a river in Cusco, Peru, which has surprisingly red water? Sounds unbelievable, but, it is a reality.

In this blog , we are discussing about ,

Why is there a Red river near the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco?
What is the reason why the Cusco river is red?
What is the composition of the Red River in Cusco?
What is the name of the place where the red river of Cusco is?
What is the best time to visit the Red River?

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Known locally as Pukamayu (in Quechua, “puka” means red ores and “mayu” means river) or Antachaka (in Quechua “anta” is copper, while “chaka” is a bridge), this is a river that is in the province of Canchis of the Cusco region, which is about 3 hours by bus southeast of the city of Cusco, near the route of Vinicunca of the Rainbow Mountain.

The impressive Red River in Cusco is just one more example of the amazing landscape that Peru has to offer. From the impressive Laguna Humantay to the extraordinary natural lakes of Millpu, this country has some of the most incredible and unique landscapes in the world. Start planning your trip today and see some of these unique places for yourself.

The River of Cusco is Red in Peru, This is due to the rain that falls from the nearby Rainbow Mountain of Palcoyo. The range of colors in this vibrant valley is the result of different mineral content in different layers of soil, which have been made visible by erosion.

The coloration of the Red River is the result of red sandstone filled with iron oxide. This mineral-rich sedimentary rock is washed from the slopes when it rains and gives the water a red or pink hue (the exact tone depends on the volume of precipitation). And that is the reason why this River of Cusco is Red.

How to see the Red River

The best way to see the Red River is as a stop on a tour to nearby Rainbow Mountain Palcoyo, a less crowded alternative to the popular Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca. This is still an undiscovered area for tourists, and only a few companies bring tours to the area. Most people who visit the area tend to come on day trips from the city of Cusco.

For those who want to extend their adventure into this beautiful part of the Cusco countryside, there are several other interesting things to see in this area, including the classic Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, the fascinating Q’eswachaka Inca rope bridge, and the majestic Waqrapukara ruins. A visit to this area is easily incorporated into any Cusco itinerary.

If you would like to see the Palcoyo Red River or explore any of the other options mentioned here, do not hesitate to talk to your travel experts. They will build a dream itinerary that fits you perfectly, including all the most important places to see in Peru!


Because it is the result of rain runoff, this red or pink river in Cusco is usually only visible and is the best time during the rainy season months in Peru, which starts in November, and lasts until the April, when the rains have lost a level but the river’s water level is still high. During the rest of the year, the river’s water level is much lower and its color is a more typical muddy brown tone.


The high altitude of Palcoyo means that you should come prepared with clothing suitable for cold weather, including warm layers, a coat, a hat, a scarf and gloves. Although the trail through Palcoyo is not as difficult as the one that leads to Vinicunca, it may still be muddy, so it is also a good idea to wear decent hiking boots. Finally, it is important to be familiar with how to treat altitude sickness and bring some coca leaves or pills to help deal with the symptoms.

If you plan to visit the Palcoyo Red River it is an excellent option for a unique day trip in Cusco. For those who wish to experience something unique and see some of the most interesting and beautiful landscapes of Peru, a visit to the Palcoyo Rainbow mountain along with the nearby Red River in Cusco is an absolute necessity.

Although there are no hotels or lodgings near the Red River, the tour and the complete excursion is only for one day. Start planning your own unique trip in life in Peru and be sure to include this amazing destination out of the ordinary in your itinerary.


Located in Palcoyo at about 5000 meters altitude, very close to the famous Rainbow Mountain.
The Palcoyo rainbow mountain valley along with the famous Vinicunca rainbow mountain is part of the Vilcanota mountain range. This chain is itself part of the magnificent Andes mountain range that appears to be the backbone of South America, forming the longest continental mountain range in the world.The Red River is located in the Canchis Province of the Cusco region, about three hours southeast of the actual city of Cusco. This entire province sits in the shadow of the great Mount Ausangate, one of the tallest peaks in the country and an important regional apu (traditional Andean mountain deity).

What you’ll need to bring and carry

• A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
• Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
• Strong footwear, ideally trekking or sport shoes
• Warm clothes, including jacket, fleece and sweaters
• Flashlight, Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
• Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain or cold
• Sun block
• Insect repellent
• Toilet paper
• Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, etc.
• Water bottle and sterilizing tablets (ie. Micropur)
• Small towel
• Swimsuit (if you intend to go to the hot springs)
• Optional: walking sticks or poles


The Red River of Cusco is a seasonal water body; hence, it is best to visit this site during the monsoon starting from May to November. It is appropriate to plan the trip around the time when the water level is still high but there is no hindrance in carrying out the journey due to logistical issues.

When to travel to Peru?

Considering that Peru is categorized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries on earth, you have a variety of climates and seasons to consider. That being said, you can visit Peru year-round depending on where you would like to visit. However, if you are looking to explore the Amazonian rainforest or traverse through the Andes Mountains, many travelers choose to avoid the rainy season which runs from November to March with its peak between January and February. Visiting from April through October, lands you in the generally dry winter season, which is an excellent time to visit Machu Picchu, experience a world-class trek, traverse the exotic Amazon Rain forest not to mention the other amazing destinations Peru has to offer.


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