The mountain Vinicunca popularly called the Mountain of the Seven Colors or Rainbow Mountain in Peru. About 4 years ago barely a dozen people passed through this spectacular landscape around the Apu Ausangate, the highest peak in the province of Cusco. Today an average of a thousand people visit the Rainbow Mountain in Peru
What you should know
Rainbow Mountain is located 3-4 hours by car from the city of Cusco and can only be accessed by walking or horseback on a walk of between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the route. Due to the popularity of the site, new roads have been built that brings the visitor closer to walking less.
The mountain is 5,200 meters high; this is an important fact because the height can cause symptoms of mountain sickness due to the low atmospheric pressure that causes the body to absorb less oxygen, making the trek on the rise a challenge for those who They do not exercise regularly. Even people who are fit can experience symptoms.
To get there it is recommended to hire a group or private tour. If they have a car they can get there on their own although the road is dirt and can be dangerous.
There are several tour options to visit the Montañade Colores, and being very popular, they sell them in multiple places in the center of Cusco.
One Day Excursions
The cheapest tours cost 55 soles (about $17), there are others for 60 soles ($19) and others for 100 soles ($31). Prices vary according to the route. All the tours are included breakfast and lunch.
The things you need to ask the tour operators
- What is the starting point for the walk and how long is the walk?
The shortest route to reach Vinicunca departs from Queshouno and lasts only one hour, this is the best option for those who do not want to walk so much. There are other routes from K’ayrawiri where you walk between 2.5 and 3 hours to Vinicunca.
- What is the route?
Not all companies make the same path or walk. Some just go up the mountain and go down. Others make a kind of circuit in a trek of up to 6 hours that include other sites such as El Valle Rojo, highly recommended.
- How long can I be on the mountain?
In most tours, you will have time to climb up the mountain lookout (a steep climb but you must do it otherwise the mountain is not appreciated) take some photos and get off. If you want to stay longer, we recommend a private tour or the tour that includes the red valley.
- Does it include the entrance?
To enter the mountain you have to pay the local community a ticket of 10 soles (3 usd) ask the tour operator if the ticket is included in the price. If you also visit the Red Valley you have to pay for another ticket of the same price.
- What kind of food do they serve?
Generally, the tours include a breakfast and a lunch in one of the villages on the route, if you have any food restriction or you are vegan or vegetarian, ask if you should pay any extra.
- How many people go on the tour?
It is important to know the size of the group you will be joining, usually between 16 and 33 people. The cheaper the tour, the larger the group. If you want to arrive at a certain time to the place, it is best to hire a private tour, which can be obtained depending on the number of people from about $150.
- Has it snowed?
Vinicunca is part of a mountain system where it can snow, and if the snowfall is recent the mountain will not be visible, because it will be covered with snow. Ask about the condition of the mountain and if they can show you recent photos of the excursions.
- Are other places visited?
On the way to Vinicunca, there are several sites of interest that most of the tours ignore. If the tour stops by Checacupe asks to stop to see the church, it is beautiful. A stop in Oropesa to try their delicious and huge bread is also worth it.
If you go with elderly people, overweight people or children, it is advisable to consult your doctor before doing the walk, especially if you are not used to walking at heights greater than 4,700 meters.
Never, never underestimate the height. Never.
Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Remember that the mountain is 5,200 meters high, has cold clothes in layers so you can go removing pieces as you get hot or cold weather. Trekking shoes, because the terrain is sandy, especially if you do some circuit on the mountain. Proper clothing is not a game, not wearing the right shoes can cause you an accident, remember this is the mountain and you should have respect.
Take water, preferably in aluminum bottles or recyclable thermos flasks and constantly drink small drinks. At this height, it is easy to become dehydrated.
Walk slowly, do not agitate or cause your heart to speed up a lot. Even if you feel good, take it lightly.
At the mountain base, there are vendors offering sweets, soft drinks (5 soles), coca tea (3 soles), which is excellent for height. There are also some handicraft vendors and one local dressed as an Inca to take a picture.
Consider the weather. The rainy season starts in September and is the strongest between December and March.
Please DO NOT TUMBLE GARBAGE and respect the tourist site.