The purple-red river that runs through the mountains of Peru

Sometimes nature offers us images that go far beyond our imagination: an example is the Palquella Pucamayu, known as the Red River of Peru
The purple-red river that runs through the mountains of Peru
Source: iStock

It might make a bit of an impression, it's true: seeing a scroll by red river it is a quite particular experience, especially considering that we tend to associate this color with blood. Instead, the Palquella Red River it is nothing other than a wonderful masterpiece of nature, which has nothing to do with any violent images or with who knows what strange type of plague or magic. And actually, live you have the feeling of witnessing an otherworldly show.

The Palquella Pucamayu and its color

The river, located in Cusco, Peru, has begun to become popular on social media in the last year and that is why more and more people have been wondering what its particular color is due to. First of all, it should be noted that this waterway turns red for about 5 kilometres, before combining with other streams, streams and rivers and diluting, going from scarlet tones to pastel pink tones, before completely losing this shade.

The purple-red river that runs through the mountains of Peru
Source: iStock
Detail of the waters of the Palquella Pucamayu river in Peru

All this happens due to a series of factors: rain runoff from nearby Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain, already characterized in itself by a series of clays with intense shades, the stratification of the rocks that lead from the mountain to the river, which include a series of minerals of vibrant colors and, finally, the presence of red sandstone rich in iron oxide on the river bed. The intensity of the color also depends on the amount of precipitation: the more water falls from the sky, the more nuanced the result will be.

A river that changes color

However, given that rain plays the decisive role in the color of the river, it is correct to say that the Red River of Peru is visible only during the rainy season months. During the rest of the year the water level is much lower and there are no particular contributions coming from Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain. This means that the river changes color according to the season, but if you are thinking that it will be clear and transparent, you are wrong.

The first glance of Palquella Pucamayu when it is not red is a bit disappointing: it has a intense brown color, and the water is muddy and slimy, again due to the strong presence of clay and soil that mix with the water. The good news is that the rainy season in Peru is quite long: it runs from April to December and many guided tours are organized, which you can join in complete safety and tranquility.

How to visit the Red River

Therefore, if you are planning a holiday in Peru during the indicated period you will certainly want to know how to observe the river during its red phase. Well, then you should know that this waterway is located precisely in the province of Canchis and that the best way to reach it is to stop in the aforementioned city of Cusco. The Palquella Pucamayu is in fact located about three hours from the city and right from there several excursions depart, which also allow you to reach the top of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain.

The purple-red river that runs through the mountains of Peru
Source: iStock
Glimpse of the landscape of the Palquella Pucamayu river

From this privileged position it is possible to admire the river as it crosses the green meadows that characterize the area. Of course, together with the guides, you can also get closer to the river for take some photos. If you are thinking of attempting the feat, don't forget to wear the appropriate clothing: waterproof jackets, heavy sweatshirts due to the cool weather and trekking shoes.

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