Visit the Rainbow Mountains

When you think of a trip through Peru most people think about Machu Picchu, the impressive Inca empire. However southeast of Cusco, deep in the Andes, you will find mountains in the colors of a rainbow: the Rainbow Mountains (Vinicunca). This colored rainbow mountain might steal your heart forever and the view from the top will take your breath away. Not only because it is so extremely beautiful, but also because you have to climb to 5.035 meters for this view.

Until a few years ago, the Rainbow Mountain was almost always covered with snow or ice and you had to hike for 6 days to get there. Due to global warming it is now almost always visible. Rainbow Mountain is a strangely colored mountain with various colors such as red, yellow and green stripes that seem painted by the landscape. These colors are the result of copper, iron and malachite in the soil. It is one of the most popular destinations on Instagram and Facebook. The Peruvian name means Montaña de los 7 colors, or the "mountain of 7 colors". This special mountain has now grown (thanks to Facebook and instagram) in a very quick period to almost 1500 visitors per day and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Peru.


A trek to a height of 5,035 meters is quite tough. The weather can change constantly and together with the high altitude, a visit can even be challenging for experienced hikers. The thin air causes a shortage of breath, sometimes altitude sickness and can cause severe headaches. You can therefore choose to rent a horse for the day. This costs is around 20 us dollars. Many friends and couples share a horse with each other. On the way, keep your eyes open for alpacas and wild vicunas that are often seen here.


Despite tourism, the locals still wear traditional clothing. Many of them are still cattle farmers. Not only the mountains are beautiful, you will also fall in love with the people.


How to get there


Rainbow Mountain is easy to visit as a day trip from Cusco. When you visit Cusco you will find many excursions to Rainbow Mountain. Of course they all claim to be better and cheaper than the others. Depending on whether or not you eat, you pay around 90 sol for Rainbow Mountain, which comes to around 27 us dollar for a full-day program.


Best time to visit


The best time to plan your hiking adventure depends on what you prefer. If you are looking for lush, green landscapes in Peru then leave in May. The wet season will be over, allowing you to enjoy the spectacular views even more. The dry season of Peru starts in May and lasts until September which is also the high season. If you do the tour (hike) to Rainbow Mountain from May to November, the weather at night will be freezing, below 0 degrees celsius. (32 º F). From December to April it will be even colder and it will feel like – 5 or -10 degrees Celsius (41 ºF – 50 ºF), in these months the weather changes a lot, some days you will have snow and some days it rains with thunder and lightning. Click here for more average weather details


Where to stay

If you will start the tour from Cuzco and you have a big budget you might want to stay at the Casa Cartagena Boutique Hotel & Spa. A beyond amazing hotel. Staffs are super friendly and the property is just pure magic. On booking.com this hotel gets an average rating of 9.7 and you can bookit here.

This article was last updated on November 13, 2019.