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.
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.