Cusco 114 articles
Pallay Punchu
Click to rate article

Pallay Punchu, the new mountain of colors of Cusco

The famous mountain of the 7 colors already has competition. It is Pallay Punchu, the new tourist attraction in Cusco that offers landscapes very similar to the popular Vinicunca. Visits to this site are recent. There it is possible to appreciate some of the best Andean landscapes without many people around. Learn how to visit this site, how much it costs and more details about the trip.



Pallay punchu
Pallay Punchu mountain

The new mountain of the 7 colors of Cusco

  • Pallay Punchu is one of the new tourist destinations in Cusco. It is known by several names: ‘Pallya Puncho’, ‘Hill of colors with sharp points’, ‘Sharp colored mountain’ or simply ‘Pallay Poncho’.
  • It is part of the mountain ‘Apu Taqllo Apacheta’. It stands out for its rocky formation with sharp peaks that show a combination of colors with characteristics similar to the famous Andean ‘ponchos’.
  • The colors that show its slopes are red (clay), whitish (quartz sand), yellowish (sandstone limonites) and fuchsia (mud and sand).
  • The visit to the Pallay Punchu mountain includes a challenging hike surrounded by mountains, snow-capped mountains and the Langui lagoon.
  • In addition to Pallay Punchu there are two other colored mountains that are tourist attractions in Cusco: the colorful mountain of Palccoyo and the famous mountain of the 7 colors of Vinicunca.

Where is it located?

  • Pallay Punchu mountain is located in the Layo district, Canas province south of Cusco.
  • From the city of Cusco you get there after a journey by land transport of 189 kilometers (4 hours 30 minutes approximately). Then it is necessary to take a walk of approximately 10 kilometers.
  • Pallay Punchu is close to the Langui lagoon in an area of ​​high mountains and snow-capped mountains. It is located 4,700 meters above sea level.

How to get there?

  • To get to the colorful mountain of Pallay Punchu it is necessary to take a transport to the town of Layo.
  • From the city of Cusco you can take a public transport to the city of Sicuani. The buses on Huayruropata Avenue will take you for a cost of approximately 20 Peruvian soles (trip of 3 hours on average).
  • Once in Sicuani it is necessary to take a public transport to the Layo district. The trip is only 50 kilometers long and costs 10 Peruvian soles on average.
  • Once in Layo you only have to walk towards the mountain of Pallay Punchu. The walk is almost 10 kilometers long and can take between 3 hours or more (depending on the physical condition of the tourist).

Map to Pallay Punchu

Pallay Punchu Map
Map to get to Pallay Punchu

The hike

  • The final hike from Layo to the mountain of ‘Apu Taqllo Apacheta’ where Pallay Punchu is located is arduous because it crosses mountain slopes with difficult slopes.
  • The walk will get harder and harder as you get closer to the finish line. In total, almost 10 kilometers are covered. People in good physical condition and better adapted to the altitude will be able to complete the walk in 2 hours. People who are not in good physical condition will complete it in 3 hours or more.

Pallay Punchu

  • The name Pallay Punchu refers to the Andean poncho, a typical garment that resembles the colors of this sharp mountain.
  • This tourist attraction was recently discovered. During the pandemic, local residents realized its potential and worked on its value to receive visitors.
  • Local people also often refer to it as ‘hill of sharp points’ or ‘Condor sayana’ which translated from the Quechua language means ‘place where the condor stops’.
  • Pallay Punchu offers one of the best landscapes of the trip to Cusco. Due to the few visitors that arrive there, it is still possible to enjoy this place with total freedom.
  • Due to its proximity to imposing snow-capped mountains and beautiful lagoons; the place has become the scene of rituals of ‘payment to the land’, a ceremony of origin even before the Incas. The ‘apachetas’ (offerings to the mountains) that are appreciated there are a clear example of these Andean religious practices.

The weather

  • The weather in Pallay Punchu is cold. During the mornings and afternoons the temperature can reach a maximum of 18ºC. and a minimum of 8ºC. On the other hand, at night the maximum temperature can reach 5ºC. and the minimum 0ºC or even less.
  • The rains are more intense during the months of November, December, January, February and March. On those days it is not advisable to visit the site as the ground becomes muddy and difficult to navigate.
  • The most recommended months to visit are April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

Tips for the trip

  • Due to the high altitude and the challenging hike, it is recommended to acclimatize to the mountainous geography of the city of Cusco at least 1 or 2 days of the trip. This way you can reduce some symptoms of altitude sickness, also called ‘soroche’.
  • On the day of your visit, do not forget to bring with you: a rain poncho, trekking shoes, hat, sunscreen, light and warm clothing in several layers, a walking stick, rehydrating water, snacks and extra cash.

How much does it cost to go?

  • Tours to Pallay Punchu have an approximate cost of 150 Peruvian soles per person (approximately 45 dollars). These services start very early in the city of Cusco (averaging 3 am). They include everything: transportation, entrance fees, breakfast, lunch, tour guide and first aid kit.
  • The other option is to visit on your own. For this it is necessary to take public transport to the place and visit it on your own. The cost of the trip on your own is 100 Peruvian soles (approximately 30 dollars).
  • While traveling on your own may be cheaper, it is the safest option.

Other similar tourist attractions

  • 7 Colors Mountain, Vinicunca – This summit is the second most visited tourist attraction in Cusco, after Machu Picchu. Its mineral soils have up to seven different colors. It is one of the most photographed landscapes in Peru. The visit includes a 5-kilometer walk. The Vinicunca is visited by about 1,500 people every day.
  • Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo – A few kilometers from Vinicunca is the mountain of colors of Palccoyo. The slopes of this mountain have a coloration of various shades. You get there through a walk of only 1 hour from the town of the same name. From this mountain you have impressive views of the Andes Mountains. There are some tours that link the Vinicunca with the Palccoyo mountain in a trip of only 1 day.
  • The red valley of Pitumarca – The slopes of this mountain have a red – clayey coloration that make it an incredible landscape. It is located just 2 hours of walking from the town of Pitumarca. On the way it is possible to appreciate the famous Andean camelids such as llamas and alpacas. The site is not so visited by tourists so it is still possible to appreciate it without many people around.



More information

  • Due to the distance and the duration of the walk, to make the trip to Pallay Punchu of only 1 day it is recommended to leave the city of Cusco at around 3 in the morning.
  • There are still not many tourism agencies that offer tours to this tourist destination. You can locate one online or in the city of Cusco itself.
  • The village of Layo is the starting point for the trek to Pallay Punchu. There you can take the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch before and after the visit. There are no high-quality restaurants, but all of them offer delicious typical Cusco food.
  • To reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness, avoid fatty foods and alcoholic beverages. It is also important to drink plenty of water. A good option for the walk is to carry a ‘portable oxygen’ for sale in any pharmacy in Cusco.

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, July 19, 2021