Can you imagine walking along ancient trails, breathing pure air while immersing yourself in landscapes that seem taken from a dream? If adventure and nature are your passion, then you are about to discover a hidden treasure in the Andes: the stunning Rainbow Mountain in Cusco. Get ready for an unforgettable experience that will connect you with the magic of this majestic corner of the world.
A fantastic walk to the rainbow mountain in Cusco, also called Vinicunca, is one of the best experiences you can live in Cusco, after trips to Machu Picchu by train or tour the sacred valley. It travels through an unknown land with desert landscapes, but of great natural beauty and very good for all adventurers.
The Rainbow Mountain, with an altitude of 5100 masl, offers a remote and beautiful scenic experience, immerses you in the local culture and a unique atmosphere that only provide places of high altitude.
Vinicunca, as the rainbow mountain is also known, is a land worth visiting, full of desert landscapes, snow-capped peaks with glaciers, herds of alpacas and a beauty with unique wildlife. This walk takes you to discover the top of one of the most important mountains of Cusco of more than 5.100 mts.
It is located near the “Ausangate mountain“, considered a sacred mountain (Apu Ausangate) by local people, The area is inhabited by traditional and typical Andean Quechua people. It is a very good opportunity to observe the daily and real life of the inhabitants of deep Peru.
1 day hike to the rainbow mountain in Cusco
Generally this adventure can be done in only 1 day, but there is also the option of walking to the Humantay lake, which is also located in Ausangate, and make a camp to spend a nice night with friends.
The trip starts in Cusco, where you will almost always be picked up from your hotel at 5:50 – 06:20 in the morning, for a 3 hour bus trip to the trailhead.
Breakfast is very important and it is customary to eat very well in CUSIPATA, and then continue with the trip for approximately 1.5 hours more.
Once you are at the starting point of the trail, you will take some precautions and have a short information chat. The walk to Rainbow Mountain will last about 2.5 hours and has a distance of 5 kilometers. Throughout the trip you will pass through a vibrant green valley with the snowy peak of Ausangate (6.380 m) and that little by little will turn into something desert, but do not distrust, because when you get to the place of the rainbow mountain you will see that it was worth the adventure.
Description of the walk to the rainbow mountain
The walk begins with the difficult ascent along the path, it is perhaps the most difficult part of the trip. The beginning may seem a little difficult and tiring. But after those first exhausting meters of about 30 minutes, the trail flattens for about 60 minutes and is a spectacular walk quite pleasant.
Many visitors choose to make the trip on horseback, in places of the road flatter, and has cost of 20 or 30 soles, is a good option for those who are not accustomed to walking at such height, that depends on each traveler.
The time that the trip by the flat path lasts ends and begins again the difficult part of the walk. At more than 5,000 meters above sea level each step in the ascent is very exhausting and is the stretch of the longest ascent, your guide will always be with you encouraging and explaining about the geological formations that are in that place, that can help to stop thinking about the difficulty of the walk. Finally, with a last effort, you will arrive at the beautiful viewpoint that offers you a 360 degree view of the entire landscape that extends towards the horizon.
When you reach the top of Vinicunca, the breathtaking views allow you to forget all the difficulty of the 2.5 hours of panting wrestling you went through.
The Apu Ausangate, on the one hand, and the beautiful and colorful mountains, on the other, give this walk that beautiful and mysterious journey to the bowels of the great sacred Apu.
Once in place you can enjoy the pure air and observe beautiful formations on the horizon, you can take the photos you want and enjoy beautiful moments with friends or family. The guide will give you more information about the place and maybe even tell some story of the discovery and the value given by the people who live in indigenous communities.
After enjoying everything the Vinicunca mountain has to offer, in the afternoon, the descent begins towards the community where the bus that will take you back to Cusco awaits. The descent is much easier than the ascent, always taking precautions.
After approximately one hour of descent, upon arrival at the starting point, you will be able to have lunch at a local restaurant to recharge your batteries and depart back to Cusco. – 6 p.m.
Preparations for the Adventure
Before embarking on the hike, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure your safety and comfort during the journey. Here are some useful tips:
- Altitude Acclimatization: Rainbow Mountain is located at a considerable altitude, so it’s crucial to take some time to acclimatize before starting the hike. You can spend a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude areas to allow your body to gradually adapt to the lack of oxygen.
- Appropriate Gear: Make sure you have the right gear for the hike, including sturdy footwear, warm clothing, waterproof gear, hat, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a backpack with water and energy-rich snacks.
- Hiring Local Guides: For a safe and enriching experience, it’s recommended to hire the services of experienced local guides. They will not only lead you along the right path but also provide information about the flora, fauna, and culture of the region.
- Respect for the Environment: As visitors, it’s our responsibility to care for and preserve the natural environment. Remember to follow established regulations for the conservation of the area, not to leave trash, and respect the local flora and fauna.
The hike to Rainbow Mountain in Cusco is an experience that transcends the ordinary, transporting you to a world of natural beauty and adventure. From the breathtaking landscapes to the contact with the local culture, every moment of this journey is imbued with magic and wonder. So get ready for an unforgettable experience and discover the true essence of the Andes in all its splendor. We await you on this wonderful journey.