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Altitude: 2,180 meters (7,107 ft) Population: 6,600 Phone Code: 053

Torata is a small town with several fascinating sites. Iglesia de San Agustín, a beautiful, polished-granite temple, was built between 1652-1691. An underground tunnel (now unused) leads to old catacombs that are older than the church, situated beneath the modern-day police station across the street. The exact purpose of these is unknown: perhaps they were used as monks’ cells when the Spaniards first occupied the area, or perhaps they were used to torture the indigenous who refused to convert to Christianity.

On the outskirts of town are several grist-stone mills dating from the 18th century. Some are still in use, grinding the grains for Torata’s famous breads. Cataratas de Mollesaja, a 150-meter (489-ft) tall waterfall nestled in a forest, is a 25-minute walk from Torata. This is said to be the fifth-largest cascade in Peru.

Ten kilometers (6 mi) beyond Torata is the archaeological site Camata, also called Pampa Colorada. These ruins from the Estaquiña culture have two sectors and an Inca tambo. Daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Entry: $1.50, student/retiree $0.40).

Other archaeological sites near Torata are Cerro Baúl (7.5 km / 4.6 mi south), Sabaya and Torata Alta.

The only place to stay in Torata is the Complejo Turístico, set on a natural viewpoint of the valley. It has cabins, camping, internet, restaurant and play areas for the kids (1 km / 0.6 mi southwest of town. Tel: 792-934).

Torata has a cooler climate than Moquegua. December-March is the rainy season; the other months are dry. The village’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Candelaria, is fêted February 2, May 1 and December 18. Torata has a tourism office: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Ca. Torata 53, Plaza de Armas. Tel: 476-053/476-073, URL:

Torota is 24 kilometers (15 mi) northeast of Moquegua. From Moquegua, minibuses heading to Torata depart near the stadium on Avenida Balta, about 0.5 kilometers east of the market (40 min, $1.25). To return to Arequipa, catch the minibus from Torata’s Plaza de Armas. Some of these vans continue to Otora, where you can hop off at Camata ($2).


Other places nearby Torata: Huacachina Oasis, The Nasca Lines, Ilo, Nasca, Pisco, Ica, Moquegua, Tacna and Paracas.

By Lorraine Caputo

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

21 Jun 2012

Things to do in Torata

Cerro Baúl

144516In the midst of the crumpled mountains around Moquegua, Cerro Baúl stands apart. solitary in this landscape, looming like a giant’s trunk, this butte was a major ceremonial site of the Wari nation ...
Torata, Peru
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