Trek to Rainbow Mountain in The Andes

Have you ever trudged up a multi-colored mountain? If not, then head toward Rainbow Mountain nestled in the heart of Peruvian Andes in Willkanuta Mountain Range. Rainbow Mountain also known as Vinicunca is the result of unique Permian formation, long term weathering, wind and water erosion. The mountain glimmers in singular colors ranging from red, turquoise, to lavender, blue and green. This ravishing mountain range is a recent discovery following melting of snow revealing its colorful geological pattern.

Rainbow Mountain trailhead is a three hour tortuous drive from Cusco. The trek begins early morning at 3 or 4 am from Cusco. Thereafter, it is a two hour long walk along 15km stretch reaching up to an altitude of 5200 m. You can hire a horse if you are not comfortable walking. Hiring a horse also helps local people. Moreover, part of the profits from the trek is shared with local Quechua people to bring them out of abject poverty.

The strenuous trek is sure enough to mesmerize you with picturesque views of snow capped mountains, glacial rivers and trails of llamas and alpacas herded by shepherds. Stone villages on the way inhabited by brightly dressed Quechua people are a stark reminder of arduous life faced by locals. In the beginning of the trek you may encounter scorching sun thereafter the weather turns frigid as you gain altitude. Avoid trekking if it is raining because the dirt path leading up becomes a messy slush and the steep slope becomes slippery.

Once you reach the top of the mountain, you are presented with spectacular views of the range. Continue walking up the ridge till the highest point to get better views of the valley. Rainbow Mountain gained a lot of popularity recently and you are likely to find a number of people at the top. While coming back, take the Red Valley route where you can catch stunning views of the red mountains with fairly less people around.

The Rainbow Mountain trek is difficult and is only recommended for experienced hikers. It is advisable to acclimatize at least 3 days in Cusco before heading on to the trek. Do your research and choose a reliable trek operator in Cusco because you’ll find many touts as well.  Most operators charge around $30 – $40 per person. It is important to note that the colors of the Rainbow Mountain are rather subdued as opposed to saturated pictures posted online. Karikuy runs the Rainbow mountain Tour. Contact us today for more information.

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Jude C

I am a travel enthusiast who has closely worked with different communities in India. My interests range from alternative rock to English literature. I also happen to love cats a lot.

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