Rainbow Mountain or "Vinicunca" is a majestic place and a gift of nature. It is located near Ausangate Mountain in the region of Cusco, Peru. It is one of the places that crowds of tourists have not yet discovered. Rainbow Mountain was explored only by local Andean people. Vinicunca is one of the most spectacular locations in the Cordillera Vilcanota because it retains its natural colour given by the presence of sedimentary eroding rocks. The rocks are impressive for their colourfulness since they are made up of seven colours. Therefore, the mountain is also known as 7 Colour Mountain.
A walk to Vinicunca and back is a full-day staggering at an altitude of more than 4,400 meters (14,400 feet) above sea level, which leads along a dirt road between the looming peaks of green and startling red rocks. It is a gorgeous route passing through local villages, built of stone and shimmering mountain streams. But altitude is so punishing that even the sprightliest young athlete has become a breathless mess. Do not even consider trying this trek until you have spent a few days acclimatizing to the altitude in the Cusco region.
According to National Geographic, Rainbow Mountain Peru has been ranked among the 100 places you must visit during your lifetime for its beautiful colours! You should know that cloudy days result in darker colours, while sunny weather will have lighter colours.
If you have a longer time available, we recommend Ausangate Trek 7 Days as the best opportunity to visit the mountains and glaciers of Peru!
Briefing location: your hotel/hostel/Airbnb apartment.
Brieging time: A day prior to the Rainbow Mountain trek.
Departure time: Usually between 4:30 and 5:00 am.
Return time: 5:30 pm.
Walking Distance: 12 km/7.5 miles (a round trip)
Climbing Up: 2 hours
Climbing Down: 1 hour
Starting Altitude: 4,450 m/14,599.74 ft.
Maximum Altitude: 5,200 m/17,060.37 ft.
Service Level: Budget or Private.
Difficulty: 3-4 - Medium-Difficult (There are some high altitudes or more strenuous activities).
Age requirement: 14+ (All travellers under age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult!)
Rainbow Mountain Peru Tour operator: Tierras Vivas or another local operator.
Crew: A Tierras Vivas representative when in Cusco and a profesional Tour Guide during the Rainbow Mountain hike.
Meals: 1x breakfast, 1x lunch.
Transportation: A private vehicle.
Price: US$ 50 per person.
Group size: Minimun is 6 and maximun 25 participants.
The private service involves private transportation, professional guide, bottled water, small oxygen bottle, snack and emergency horses.
In the Andes, the season is more clearly marked, with heavy rains from December to March and a warm relatively dry period from June to September Inevitably, though, there are always some sunny weeks in the rainy season and wet ones in the dry. If you plan to visit Rainbow Mountains (Andean mountain range), then we recommend you to take some trousers suitable for hiking, shorts, T-shirts and trekking shoes for the days; and sweaters, fleeces, hats, scarves and warm jackets for the nights. You also should take sun protection cream and sunglasses. It is very convenient to have a light rain-gear available in a daypack (e.g. a waterproof poncho or jacket and/or waterproof trousers) as weather changes quickly and rains can suddenly occur.
The best time to hike the mountains is within the dry season (April to October) as you can see the the bright colours of the majestic mountains more clearly.
During the rainy season (Noveber to March), weather is mostly cloudy so one cannot appreciate the lovely colours.
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The adventure begins very early between 4:30-5:00 am when we collect you from your accommodation to take you for a ride to the town of Chirihuani in the Cusipata district, south of Cusco city. On the way, we stop for a while to buy the last food supplies (e.g. water or energy drinks, snacks, cereals, etc.). Afterwards, we continue the ride observing multicolored landscapes and diverse crops that are mixed between the mysterious mountains and snowy peaks, and the deep valley where you can admire cute Andean animals such as llamas, alpacas, sheep, and vicuñas. At 7:30 am, we arrive at the picturesque Chirihuani town, where our Cook serves us a delicious breakfast.
Then, we return to our minibus and head to the starting point of our tour. We start climbing up for 1 hour and 30 minutes until we reach the slopes of the Red Valley, the place of access to the mystical location of Vinicunca. We follow a path along which the mountain landscape gradually changes its intense colors, while small streams of ice water feed and enliven the valley. Later on, we reach an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level - the top of the mysterious 7-coloured mountain (or Vinicunca). This is the right point to take enough pictures and videos. In addition, we have refreshments, while our eyes enjoy the magic of the mountains enclosed behind a veil of clouds and snow-capped peaks.
When our eyes have had enough, we take a walk back to Chirihuani. Here, we have a well-deserved delicious lunch buffet prepared by our Cook. After that, we board our minibus and return to Cusco arriving there at around 5 pm. We say goodbye to each other in our accommodation and you can view your Rainbow Mountain photos for the rest of the evening.
There are different rainbow mountains in the world and Vinicunca Mountain, or the Rainbow Mountains of Peru has been discovered by the Andean people recently. The mountain lies in the Cusco region, the district of Pitumarka, and the province of Canchis. Vinicunca is a part of Cordillera de Vilcanota, 100 km south-east of Cusco city, and it is placed near Ausangate Mountain or Apu Ausangate (“apu” means a natural deity or spirit of the mountain) which is considered the most sacred of the whole region. In Incan mythology, male energy is born exactly from the mountain and the near lagoons to fertilize Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes quickly and rain can suddenly appear. At night, warm clothing is a must such as down jackets, a fleece and hats (the most suitable it an alpaca style hat called "chullo" because alpaca wool is warmer than sheep and it covers ears). During the day (if sunny), convertible hiking pants are handy as they can be switched into shorts if necessary. The rainbow hike has a moderate weather, getting only cold in the afternoon and night.
1. Trekking shoes/hiking boots - a participant of the Rainbow Mountain hike should wear hiking shoes that offer support, anti-slip, grid and shock absorption so that s/he can focus on the lovely scenery of the hike and not on her/his feet. Shoes should also be waterproof and have got a cartage tongue and ankle cuffs that provide comfort and protection. A rubber sole is advisable too as impact protection.
2. Small rucksack to carry personal items during daily travels when big baggage is not necessary.
3. Jacket needs to be light, waterproof, windproof, especially designed for adventure and preferably made of bright colours to make you visible from far.
4. Trekking trousers should be convertible (trousers - shorts), have pockets of a big capacity as well as satisfy your comfort during weather changes. It is suitable to be made of resistant and waterproof fabrics.
5. Hiking poles enable you to walk with ease providing you with support on each step. They should be light, compact, preferably made of aluminum alloy and have an antishock system that absorb impacts before they reach your hand wrists.
6. Warm clothes such as a jacket, a fleece and alpaca sweaters.
7. Hat or a cap as a protection against the Sun, rain as well as cold.
8. Sunglasses (very important)!
9. Sun cream or sun block.
10. After-sun cream or hydrating cream.
11. Mobile phone with a camera/camera and its charger/batteries (please note that batteries are consumed quickly under cold conditions).
12. Extra snacks such as energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, and so on.
13. Bottled water and a water bottle to be refilled. Metallic (alternatively Nalgene) bottles are ideal.
14. Cash in a local currency of Peruvian Soles (PEN).
15. Paper tissues and toilet paper.
Cusco was the capital of the Incas and the Incas worshiped mountains which they called "Apus". These mountains were sacred in the Inca time. There can be found Apu Ausangate near Cusco.
The Cusco's mountains has became new tourist attractions. The most popular mountain is the Rainbow Mountain. The mount is considered one of today's most popular tourist sights. For that reason, there is not many visitors who has not taken its picture.
At the time of this pandemic, the community of Layo has discovered a new mountain. Its name is Pallay Puncho Apu Taqllo or the Pallay Poncho Mountain. It is characterized by its stunning colours, sharp points and a beautiful lake nearby. The altitude of the mountain is 4,800 meters above sea level /15,748 feet.
The Rainbow Mountain Cusco (also called 'Vinicunca' or simply 'Arco Iris') is one of the new and best Peru's attractions. It is located more than 100 kilometers from the Cusco City and its summit reaches 5,200 meters above sea level.
This mountainous formation is colored in various shades which is the product of a complex combination of minerals. Its slopes and summit are 'painted' in a variety of colors including red, purple, green, yellow, pink and others. Not many years ago, this tourist attraction was covered and surrounded by ice. Since 2016, the place has received hundreds of visitors daily and, along with Machu Picchu, has become one of the most visited places in Cusco - Peru. All details about the Rainbow Mountain Cusco can bee found just below.
It is an amazing site placed the Peruvian Andes, in the department of Cusco, in the Canchis Province. Its elevation reaches 5,200 m.a.s.l. The mountain belongs to the Pitumarca villagers who call it 'Cerro Colorado' (Colourful Mountain). As it is located on the way to imposing Ausangate, this place was known much earlier by adventurers who dared to do the trek there. Their photos published on Facebook and Instagram gained it popularity. It has become a popular tourist sight since 2016.
Or, Pallay Puncho Apu Taqllo is a colourful mountain situated in the Cusco Department, on the border of the Canvas and Canchis Provinces. Between the communities of Layo and Ocobamba. The altitude of this Apu is 4,800 m /15,748.03 ft.
Due to its location, a little over 100 kilometers from the city of Cuzco, the Rainbow Mountain Cusco trip is mostly done by car. After a 2-hour ride on the Longitudinal Highway of the Sierra, the community of Pitumarca appears. The journey continues following a path to the village of Pampa Chiri. From there, a 5-km long route leads your through mountainous slopes. In the end, Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) can be seen in all its glory. A visitor can do this route either by foot or on horseback. It is a bit complicated to get there and moreover safe and healthy, So, it is strongly recommended to take a tour there.
The mountain is approximately a 4-hour drive away from Cusco. On the way, one needs to reach firstly the city of Sicuani (3,550 m.a.s.l./11,646 f.a.s.l.) and then to continue to the community of Layo.
From there, there are several routes leading to the colourful sector of Apu Taqllo or Pallay Poncho. Some routes are extreme and you may find yourself in a rush to climb them. For that reason, we recommend you to enjoy this adventure in the company of an experienced Tour Guide who knows this area very well.
The climate is typical for the highest areas of Cusco, this means it is cold. Rain, wind and altitude sickness (or soroche) can be the biggest obstacles for travelers on the way. Temperatures can drop to zero degrees of centigrade. The best time to carry out this adventure is during the dry season (from April to October) when rainfall is less likely. If you plan to visit it during the rainy season (November to March), bring a proper rainy poncho with you.
The best season is during the dry season which starts in April and ends in September. In October, rain begins and one might find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2021 Tour, which takes place on the 24th of June, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour or Pallay Poncho Hike that are other incredible mountains located in the Andes near Cusco.
The overwhelming geographical location of this place offers sceneries with typical high Andean animals such as llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. The locals breed horses to offer them as a mean of transport to tourists.
This picturesque summit used to be an attractive 4-day track to the snow-capped Ausangate Mountain. Over the years, the Mountain of 7 Colours itself has gained popularity. At present, the most common way to visit this summit using a tour. There are 1-day and 2-day options. Tours usually include transportation, food, tickets and a professional Tour Guide. In Cuzco, there are many travel agencies offering the tour.
The walk of 3 to 4 hours (depending on the physical condition of each trekker) is not dangerous and demands a moderate-high physical effort. There are sections of considerable slopes for ascent and descent. However, one of the biggest difficulties is the cold weather and the icy wind. The altitude of the area can cause altitude sickness or soroche. That is why, it is recommended a previous 1-2 day acclimatization in the city of Cusco.
Spend a day or two acclimatizing in Cusco. Wear warm clothes for the trek. If you do not consider yourself physically fit to hike it, rent a horse from one of the locals on the way. On the day of the trek, do not forget a hat or cap, sunscreen, jacket, pants, shoes suitable for trekking and a poncho for rain.
There are many routes taking you to Machu Picchu. But none is like the Inca Trail Tours - the most famous pedestrian path of the Americas! After flying from the capital of Peru - Lima, you arrive in Cusco to walk for 4 days following a trail through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps while discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca towns. All the time, you might enjoy majestic views. You can pick from the following options:
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days
The 2 day Rainbow Mountain Trek (Montaña Arcoiris in Spanish) lies in Cusco and it has become one of the top attractions and most important hikes of Peru. Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is hiding off in the Ausangate region until recently. It has got its name from the weathered bands of coloured minerals, which painted the hills like a rainbow from maroon (iron oxide) and gold (iron sulfide) to other resplendent elements. It is also a sacred mountain that is visited by about 20,000 Quechua pilgrims every year. The sacred mountain represents the god of Apu Ausangate. Check the web page Rainbow Mountain Trek for more details.