From the surreal multi-colored hills of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain and the pristine glacial waters of Laguna Humantay to the boiling river of Shanay-Timpishka in the Amazon Rainforest, Peru is home to some incredible hidden gems and natural wonders. One of the most gorgeous of these local treasures is Millpu, a collection of roughly 20 natural pools of turquoise water located in the countryside of Peru’s Ayacucho Region. Read on to find out more about these gorgeous Millpu Lagoons.
The city of Ayacucho and its surrounding region have much to offer visitors, yet it’s often overlooked as a destination on trips to Peru. The city itself, known locally as Huamanga, is located at 2,700 meters above sea level and hosts a year-round mild, pleasant climate. Not only is Ayacucho one of the most beautiful and charming cities of the Peruvian highlands, visitors will also find a large variety of things to do, see, and experience in the city and region. Things to do in Ayacucho include:
- The many colonial-era churches, cathedrals, convents, and temples which give Ayacucho its nickname “The City of Churches.”
- The Mirador of Acuchimay, looking out over the entire city of Ayacucho.
- The Pampas de Quinua, site of the famous Battle of Ayacucho in the Peruvian War of Independence and the 44-meter-high obelisk which commemorates it.
- The ruins of Huari, an important pre-Inca urban center of the Wari culture which was once home to as many as 70,000 people.
- The town of Vilcashuamán, built around an important Inca temple complex with a surviving stepped pyramid.
All of the above make Ayacucho an ideal place to travel in Peru, but if you’re a lover of natural beauty and scenery then the real highlight of your trip will definitely be the serene natural pools of Millpu located just a few hours away from the city.
The name Millpu is derived from the word Millpuy, which means “swallow” in the Quechua language. This name comes from a local myth which holds that the site’s dramatic rock formations and chilly waters are the actual throat of the devil. For this reason, the pools were not frequently visited by locals in the past and have remained extremely well-conserved.
Since opening to tourism in the past couple years, Millpu has seen a steady stream of visitors, however its remote location deep in the Andes has kept these peaceful natural pools relatively untouched. This pristine state of conservation and exceptional natural beauty is what makes Millpu one of the most attractive places for outdoor sightseeing in the whole Ayacucho region.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Ayacucho and the Millpu lagoons is during Peru’s dry season, lasting from May until December. The rainy season in Peru can cause logistical problems in the highlands, so knowing the best time to visit Peru is very important to ensure that you have smooth trip free of delays. Another added benefit to visiting Millpu during the dry season months is that the water will be clearer and more picturesque during this time of year, providing a wonderful opportunity for photographers.
September is an especially good time to visit, since this is when the community holds its traditional festivities devoted to the collection of water. If you visit during this time, you will see local people with donkeys decorated in flowers, carrying water to their communities. This is an important ancestral tradition for the people of the area and ensures the abundance of water throughout the year. This is a great way to see authentic Andean traditions for yourself if you happen to be visiting the Millpu pools during this time.
What to Bring
Millpu is located at 3500 meters above sea level, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for a cold and windy climate. The sun can also be brutal at such a high altitude, so protection from the sun is important. Lastly, it is possible to enter the frigid waters (if you’re brave enough), so you can bring appropriate clothing for swimming as well, if you’re inclined. The following are the items you should bring along on your trip to the Millpu Lagoons:
- Warm layers of clothing including a sweater, thick pants, etc.
- Winter coat.
- Decent hiking boots
- Swimsuit (optional)
With the above items you should be fully-prepared for your day trip to the natural pools of Millpu. If you have any other questions or doubts about what you need to bring to Ayacucho or Millpu, don’t hesitate to ask our travel experts.
Pictures of the natural pools of Millpu really speak for themselves. Shimmering turquoise waters set against stark canyon walls, descending through waterfalls as they fill up naturally-eroded pools. It’s a truly unbelievable scene. If you’re a lover of beautiful natural landscapes and scenery, you definitely won’t want to miss this amazing place. Fortunately, Ayacucho has many other worthwhile attractions to visit, and the city is easily accessible from Cusco or Lima so you’ll have no problem incorporating a visit into your trip plan for Peru. Visit Millpu and discover this natural paradise for yourself!