ANDINA TRAVEL PERU Plazoleta Santa Catalina #219 Cusco-Perú Tel +51 84 251892 / sales@andinatravel.com

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Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain 1The Rainbow Mountain otherwise known as Motaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors) or Vinicunca (original Quechua name of the location – kunka means ‘neck’ in English) is stunning. The sedimentation of different minerals and the geological forces that lifted the peaks to 5,100m (16,732 ft.) resulted in a truly spectacular view that visitors from near and far come to experience. No need to be an expert outdoor person, however the hike to the top is challenging, so this trip requires good acclimatization – at least full 48 hours in Cusco altitude – and some preparation.

 

Weather

The best time to visit the Rainbow Mountain is during the dry season between May and September.  The marginal month of April and October are great alternatives to escape the main season.

If you are following the weather forecast to pick the best day, you can book your trip directly in our office here in Cusco as late as the afternoon before. Generally speaking any day of the year the weather in Cusco is best described as: ‘put on a jacket, take of the jacket’ – you will appreciate several easily removable clothing layers to adjust to the current temperature during the day.

 

Pick-up Time

The Rainbow Mountain is situated about a three-hour drive (and a three-and-a-half hike up) South-east from Cusco in the Quispicanchis Province of the Vilcanota Range near the Ausangate Mountain.* Because of the distance from the city of Cusco the one-day trips usually leave between 3:00am and 4:00am in the morning.

 

Packing

It is best to pack everything the evening before. We strongly recommend: hiking boots and walking poles, skiing hat and warm gloves, waterproof clothes and rain poncho in case you are visiting during the rainy season, windstopper jacket, because high on the top it can be very windy, sunblock and sun-protecting lip-balm, sunglasses, energy bars and at least a liter and a half of water per person. The facilities along the way are very simple, so add toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and such to your backpack.

Montaña de Colores 6

 

Terrain

The trail to the Rainbow Mountain is well marked through an imposing Andean Valley, where you will see grazing herds of alpacas and sheep, and meet local communities. If you like to bring a little something, remember that fruits are much better than sweets – the former contain vitamins, the later cause tooth decay. Local men and women offer their horses for hire at the beginning of the trail as well as in strategic spots along the trek for those who don’t want to hike. It is 8km (5 miles) one way; 16km (10 miles) both ways.

The profile of the path combines gradual upward sections, Peruvian-flat sections, and three steep sections on the way up the viewing point. The real challenge is the altitude rather than the terrain, because the elevation gain is 1,000m (3,281 ft.) from the trailhead to the highest point. The total vertical distance between Cusco and the mountain summit is 1,740m (5,709 ft.) hence the requirement for acclimatization and good health. This trip will make you burn many calories, which is why our standard includes nutritious buffet breakfast and buffet lunch.

Montaña Vinicunca 2

An un-photoshopped photo of the Rainbow Mountain.

 

View

Most days during the dry season are blue sky with bright sunshine, some come with scenic clouds. After the challenging hike the reward is the breathtaking 360° view from the top to enjoy all the inspiring shades of the Rainbow Mountain, its two magnificent valleys on each side, and as a bonus the highest mountain of the Cusco region: Ausangate! You made it. Enjoy the triumph!

 

If you have more questions about the Rainbow Mountain or any other trek email us to: sales@andinatravel.com

 

* The colossal Ausangate Peak is the fifth highest mountain of Peru. According to the indigenous belief system Ausangate is an apu – mountain spirit or a sacred mountain and is venerated as such especially during the Qoyllur Rit’I pilgrimage. The full-day or the two-day hike to the Rainbow Mountain is a great way to get very close to the Ausangate Glacier if you don’t have time or stamina for the multiday Ausangate Circuit. Our five day trekking route goes around the Ausangate Mountain and is one of the most beautiful hikes here in Cusco. It is also one of the most rigorous ones.

 

 

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