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Experience – Turquoise Lagoons of Millpu (Ayacucho), Peru.

  • Location: Circamarca in the Huancaraylla District of Ayacucho’s Victor Fajardo Province (Google Maps)
  • Hours: All Day
  • Recommended Time: 4 hours
  • How to Arrive: By car, hiking
  • Distance from Lima: 132 km / 82 miles
  • Ideal Month(s): May – November (Dry Season)

The turquoise lagoons of Millpu (also known as “Aguas Turquesas Millpu” or “Piscinas Naturales de Millpu”) are a collection of ~20 natural pools atop white stones, located in the Ayacucho region of Peru. The natural pools, which are fed by glacial water, sit at 3600 m above sea level. The lagoons are a major tourist destination due to the color of its water – bright turquoise or lush green, depending on the season.

How to get to Millpu from Lima

The first step in getting to Millpu from Lima is to travel to Ayacucho. Ayacucho is the capital city of Ayacucho Region and of Huamanga Province, Ayacucho Region, Peru. The city is located high in the Peruvian Andes at the elevation of 2,761 m. It’s a small town with a total population of around 180,000 people.

The easiest way to get to Ayachucho from Lima is by flying from Lima to Ayachucho, which takes ~35 minutes. Another option is to go by bus. Many companies offer an overnight bus from Lima to Ayachuco, however bus rides take close to 11 hours.

After arriving in Ayachucho, you’ll need to rent a car or find a tour operator to take you to Circamarca. The total distance between Ayachucho and Circamarca is 120 km (75 miles) and should take around 3 hours. The entrance to the natural pools of Millpu is located in the small population center of Circamarca in the Huancaraylla District of Ayacucho’s Victor Fajardo Province. This region almost entirely consists of Quechua-speaking citizens living traditional lifestyles in small villages. The local community has only allowed outsiders to visit the natural pools of Millpu for a few years, which explains why these breathtakingly-gorgeous turquoise ponds remain relatively unknown.

The hike from Circamarca to Millpu

After you arrive at the town of Circamarca, visitors need to pay a small entrance fee to the community for accessing their lands. After the entrance fee is paid, travelers can begin the hike up to the Millpu pools. The path is easy to follow and not especially difficult, however the high altitude can leave travelers feeling a bit winded. During the hike to the pools, the surrounding scenery is incredible. The hike typically takes between 30 and 45 minutes to reach the top, depending on your pace. In addition to the natural pools of Millpu, travelers will also see waterfalls, as well as plenty of native Andean flora and fauna.

After you’ve reached the summit, there are several different elevated lookout points in addition to areas where you can descend and get closer to the water. Visitors can dip their feet in the pools or go swimming, but becuase the source of the water  glacial, it’s very cold!

On the trail above the lagoons, there are many great places to relax and enjoy the view. This is typically where visitors will sit in the grass and enjoy the natural beauty of the Peruvian Andes. It’s worth spending the entire afternoon in Millpu.

After visitors have had the chance to sufficiently explore Millpu and enjoy its wonderful landscapes, it’s time to head back down to the entrance where local cooks are usually preparing fried river trout.

To visit the Millpu Lagoons you will need a full-day tour, so don’t plan anything else that day. Tours typically arrive back to Ayacucho around 7 PM.

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