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Red route in Cusco: discover the valley and river that carry this color

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Red route in Cusco: discover the valley and river that carry this color

Many know the most popular tourist attractions in Cusco, such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, or the Mountain of 7 colors. However, there are new natural attractions that are attracting more and more the attention of travelers. These are the Red Valley and the Red River.


If you are visiting any of the natural and archaeological attractions that are located on the outskirts of the Imperial City, we recommend that you take a tour of these two tourist attractions. Due to its relative novelty, you will not find as many tourists, which will allow you to take the time you want to explore and admire these natural beauties.


The incredible red river in Cusco

This new tourist destination known as Rio Rojo was discovered in 2019 near the Montaña de 7 Colores de Palccoyo, this fantastic place adds to the range of colorful destinations in Cusco, where many travelers begin their trek to see the Red River of Peru. Some start their walk from the Red Valley and thus complete a circuit called the Red Route, in fact this is a space well known by visitors of all kinds, the curious thing is that this river turns that color in certain seasons of the year and has won much fame in recent years. But it is not yet within the plans of every traveler who decides to visit the Mountain of Colors or the Red Valley due to the time and distance that this implies.


Characteristics of the red river of Peru

The phenomenon that produces that peculiar red tone is the product of the minerals that fall into the riverbed. This is due to the heavy rains that characterize the Peruvian highlands. Thus, the rains have led to the landslide of the mountain and other nearby hills.


The water has dragged the color of the minerals and accumulated in the riverbed. To witness nature's red river in Peru, keep in mind that it has an expiration date. And it only happens in the rainy season. Exactly it would be from November to the first weeks of March. After the Andean summer, the waters take on a clear hue again.



Palcoyo and the Red River have an altitude that exceeds 4800 m.a.s.l. It is one more reason for you to acclimatize a day before in Cusco and enjoy this wonderful place without problems.



The Red Valley belongs to the mountain of colors Palccoyo.


therefore it is a frigid place in the early hours of the morning and from noon the sun is intense.


Why is it red?

This impressive river of intense red color is born from the highest of the mountains belonging to the Vilcanota mountain range, where there is a large concentration of claystones (iron) and various types of clays belonging to the upper tertiary period.


What is the best season to visit the red river in Cusco?

The best time to visit this amazing place is between the months of November and the first weeks of March. After these months is the end of the Andean summer and the waters are clear again. This shocking event of pigmentation in the waters occurs in the rainy season, which is why you can combine your visit to the Red Valley, Montaña de Colores and Río Rojo, taking the pertinent measures since the presence of rains is sporadic at this time.


The impressive red valley of Cusco

This amazing natural attraction is surrounded by an entirely red landscape, which seems from another planet, the red route to the Red Valley is close to the Mountain of Seven Colors, the wonderful reddish landscape preserves every detail that seems to come from a single pencil stroke , surrounded and protected by the Apu Ausangate that invites locals and strangers to be part of the walks.


Why does it have the red shade?

The Red Valley is within a chain of ravines and mountains that are completely reddish in color, since it is a product of the composition of the mineral that exists in the place.


Location of red valley:

The fantastic Valle Rojo, is located in the district of Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis in the Cusco region. The Red Valley of Cusco belongs to a chain of mountains and ravines that, as its name mentions, are of reddish earth, adorned and protected by the Ausangate.


You can enjoy the landscape and the snowy Ausangate, together with the Mountain of 7 Colors and the Red Valley.



This part of Cusco exceeds 5,200 meters above sea level. The height could play tricks on you, to take a tour to this spectacular place, you need to acclimatize a day in advance so you can enjoy the walk. This famous tourist attraction is located on the slopes of the snowy Ausangate, Pitumarca's tutelary APU.



Being just minutes from the Mountain of Seven Colors you will be able to see the Red Valley in the distance, there are two very clear and marked seasons that we will let you know and take into account on your next visit to Cusco:


Dry season: It is found between the months of April to October, the weather is pleasant, the beautiful blue sky of Cuzco is observed, in this season you can enjoy the blue landscape.

The rainy season: This season includes the months of November to March, in these months the sky becomes cloudy with the presence of rain.


What is the best time to visit the red valley?

The Red Valley of Cusco is open every day of the year for all the public interested in trekking (Warning: there are some restrictions due to quarantine and the global pandemic against COVID 19). The ideal months to visit the Mountain of 7 Colors and Red Valley is during the dry season. During the dry season you can enjoy the Cusqueño blue sky characteristic of all the photos.


How to take the red route?

The red route starts with the Red Valley. This attraction is located in the province of Canchis, Pitumarca, in the department of Cusco. If your itinerary includes a visit to the Mountain of the 7 colors, you can take a jump to the Red Valley as it is very close to there.


The Red Valley is located next to the foot of the snowy Ausangate, one of the most important mountains within the Peruvian Andean worldview. It has an altitude that exceeds 5200 m.a.s.l. Reason why we recommend that you take a rest day in Cusco to acclimatize.


To get to the Red Valley, you have to start from the city of Cusco. On Avenida Huayrurupata you can find transportation that will take you south to the town of Checacupe. This first section will take approximately 2 hours. From there the trip continues to Pitumarca, located just 15 minutes from Checacupe. When you get to Pitumarca, the second section begins, which you have to walk for two or three hours to the Valley.


Although the trip to the Red Valley may sound exhausting, we remind you that on the way you will be able to observe various natural settings. In these you can find the local flora and fauna, as well as small towns with very peculiar and nice characteristics.


Best Tours in Peru

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Entrance Tickets in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem. 

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