Unraveling the Enigma of Cusco’s Ruby River: Discovering Nature’s Breathtaking Spectacle

Every twelve months, tourists exploring the Vilcanota mountain range in Peru are privileged to witness a rare occurrence of nature: a river flowing with a crimson hue amid the untouched rugged terrains of Cusco.


The Palquella Pucamayu, also known as the red river, is situated close to the famed Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain, approximately 100 kilometers away from the city of Cusco. The locals named it Palquella Pucamayu.

Its distinct red hue can be observed for only about 5 kilometers before it mingles with other nearby streams and rivers, thereby losing its unique color. If you are eager to view this wonder, it is best to visit during the rainy season (December – April) since the intensity of precipitation directly affects the water’s color.


For the majority of the year, the Palquella Pucamayu appears muddy-brown; however, during the rainy season, significant amounts of iron oxide-rich soil from the mountains flow down and tint the water a bright red.

Rio Rojo Valle Rojo Cusco

Numerous pictures and clips showcasing the red river of Cusco have been circulating on the internet for quite some time now. Even though it has been thoroughly documented, a lot of people still question its authenticity.

Although software such as Photoshop and other advanced AI-based editing tools can produce a surreal-looking image like this, there is no doubt that this particular phenomenon is real.

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Although the rainy season may not be the most ideal time to hike across the Vilcanota mountain range, it is undoubtedly the perfect time to witness the stunning and unique sight of the crimson-colored waters of Palquella Pucamayu. So, if you’re up for an adventure, don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Paisaje Rio Rojo Cusco

If you’re interested in discovering more captivating bodies of water across the globe, be sure to explore the planet’s thinnest river and the world’s most radioactive river.

Palcoyo Red River Featured
3510 Rio Rojo Cusco Union
Red River E1559910866893