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Altitude: 3,600 m / 11,808 ft, Population: 1,000, Phone Code: 054



Perched above the south side of the Río Colca, Pinchollo is 34 kilometers (21 mi) west of Chivay. Like other Colca Canyon towns, Pinchollo has a colonial church, Iglesia de San Sebastián, which dates from the 18th century; its interior has colorful renaissance and baroque paintings. This is Cañón del Colca’s poorest and most forgotten village. This fate is quite surprising, as Pinchollo has quite a bit more to offer.


Pinchollo is also a base for climbing expeditions of Volcán Ampato volcano, where Juanita the mummy was discovered. At the mountain’s base is Mocura, a crystalline lagoon with an abundance of waterfowl. Other hikes include to Geyser de Pinchollo, also called Infiernillo, at the foot of Nevado Hualca Hualca volcano and to Cruz del Cóndor, about eight kilometers (5 mi) west.


Pinchollo only has a handful of places to spend the night: Hospedaje Cruz del Condor (Cel: 957-929-253) and El Refugio del Geyser. There are no restaurants.The town is easily reached by local bus.


Pinchollo name comes from Quechua. One interpretation is “picchi,” meaning mount or promontory, and “uyu,” signifying corner or area. Other say “ullu” means penis, and thus the town’s name translates to “short penis.” San Sebastián, the patron saint, is honored January 23.

Other neighborhoods in Colca Canyon: Coporaque, Chivay, Cabanaconde, Maca, Yanque and Huambo.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

01 Jun 2012

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