Rainbow Mountain in Peru – The Complete Guide for 2020
The Rainbow Mountain in Peru, or also called Vinicunca, in Spanish “Montaña de 7 colores”, is one of the newest and most visited attractions in Peru and Cusco.
The Rainbow Mountain in Peru is located in Cusco about 100 kilometers (62 ml) away from the city. Its altitude is around 5,200 meters above sea level (17,060 ft).
- General Information
- Frequently Asked Questions about Rainbow Mountain Peru Vinicunca
- Where is Rainbow Mountain located?
- Who discovered the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?
- What is the best time to visit the Rainbow Mountain Peru?
- What are the colors of the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco?
- How many hours are from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca?
- How much do you hike on the Rainbow Mountain Trek?
- How much does it cost to go to the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?
- How high is the Vinicunca – Rainbow Mountain?
- How much does it cost to enter the Rainbow Mountain (tickets)?
- How to get to the Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca from Cusco?
- Can kids go to Rainbow Mounain in Peru?
- Is rainbow mountain Peru worth it?
- Why is rainbow mountain Peru colorful?
- How was rainbow mountain Peru formed?
- How to do rainbow mountain Peru?
- How to reach rainbow mountain Peru?
- How far is rainbow mountain Peru from Machu Picchu?
- How far is rainbow mountain Peru from Cusco?
- How difficult is rainbow mountain Peru?
- Rainbow Mountain in Peru Tour
- Recommendations for adventure to Vinicunca
- Difficulty of the trek to Rainbow Mountain Perú
1. General Information about Rainbow Mountain in Peru
This Mountain of the Andes has a mountainous formation dyed with several colors, product of mineral combinations.
The main colors that we can appreciate of this mountain are RED, PURE, GREEN, YELLOW, ROSE and other variations that are distinguished with more detail.
According to the inhabitants of the zone (local people), many years ago the place was covered with snow, there were only few seasons of the years that could be seen without snow and clear.
Thanks to this phenomenon that occurred some seasons of the year, the tourists who went to Ausangate Trek took photos and placed them in their social networks, and this is how it became an attraction since 2016.
Thats why the Rainbow Mountain or VINICUNCA (official name) has become one of the most visited places in Peru along with Machu Picchu.
Here in rainbowmountainperu.org we show you all the completed information about the Rainbow Mountain in Peru, so you won’t have to be visiting other sites for other information.
1.1. Location and Altitude
The Rainbow Mountain in Peru is located in the region of Cusco, in the province of Canchis, in the town called Pitumarca, has an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level (17,060 ft). This place is known as Vinicunca or Cerro Colorado.
It is very close to one of the most imposing snow-capped mountains of Cusco, we are talking about Ausangate.
1.2. Weather in Vinicunca
The weather is variable in this place along the year, so here we have a post talking about The best time to go to the rainbow mountain Peru.
The weather in the rainbow mountain depends a lot on the month in which you want to travel. Cusco has a rainy season (December – April) and a dry season (May – November).
It is advisable to visit this destination when there is no snow or rain, so you can take the best pictures.
1.3. Animals and Plants to see
In this place we can observe llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, huanacos, viscachas, horses, sheep, and some species of birds.
There is not much vegetation in this area, as we are at high altitude, unlike other tourist sites such as Machu Picchu which is on the edge of the jungle.
2. Frequently Asked Questions about Rainbow Mountain Peru
2.1. Where is Rainbow Mountain located?
Vinicunca is located in the district of Pitumarca, Province of Canchis, about 3 hours by car from Cusco, south east of the city.
Taking of reference Machu Picchu, these 2 places are in different places, Machu Picchu is to the northwest of Cusco and Vinicunca to the Southeast.
2.2. Who discovered the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?
We can not say that they discovered it, it was always there, only that over time has been melting and showing more and more its color to tourists and travelers who made tours to the snowy Ausangate, and thanks to them and social networks (users of Peru and some foreigners) became popular in 2016.
2.3. What is the best time to visit the Rainbow Mountain Peru?
The best time to visit is from May to September, to avoid the rainy season and see the seven-colored mountain clear.
2.4. What are the colors of the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco?
The main colors that presents Rainbow Mountain Peru are: Reds for the oxide mixtures, Yellow for the iron sulfide, Purple for the oxidized goetite or limonite and Green that comes from Chlorite.
The colors are not as vivid as in the photos, but what makes this destination unique is the landscape that surrounds it and makes it an incredible and wonderful place.
2.5. How many hours are from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca?
The approximate distance by car is of 3 until arriving at the starting point of the adventure, from there it is 1 hour with 30 minutes approximately of trip or travel on foot of the way.
2.6. How much do you hike on the Rainbow Mountain Trek?
There are 2 routes to reach the top of the mountain of 7 colors, 1. the first and the most difficult lasts about 3 hours of walking.
The second and easiest is less than 1 hour with a 30 minute walk.
2.7. How much does it cost to go to the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?
Going to the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco is easier and cheaper than you think. The expenses include: food, transport, entrance fees and some snacks.
|Details||Price in soles (S/.)||Price in dollars (USD)|
|Cusco to Pitumarca (Bus fare)||S/. 5||2 USD|
|Pitumarca to Anchipacha (round trip)||S/. 20||6 USD|
|Pitumarca to Cusco||S/. 5||2 USD|
|Breakfast||S/. 5||2 USD|
|Lunch||S/. 10||3 USD|
|Entrance tickets for foreigners||S/. 10||3 USD|
|Entrance tickets for Peruvians||S/ 5||3 USD|
|Horse rental||S/. 70||21 USD|
|Snacks||S/. 10||3 USD|
|Total Costo for Foreign||S/. 135||40 USD|
|Total Cost for Peruvian||S/. 130||38 USD|
2.8. How high is the Vinicunca – Rainbow Mountain?
The altitude of Vinicunca is 5,200 meters (17,060 ft).
Do not take it easy and take your precautions to go at your own pace and prevent altitude sickness.
2.9. How much does it cost to enter the Rainbow Mountain (tickets)?
The entrance ticket can NOT be purchased online, the only way is in person or that the travel agency buys it instead of you.
|Where you front||Price in soles (S/.) 2019||Price in dollars (USD) 2019|
|Foreign||S/. 10||~ 3 USD|
|Peruvian||S/. 5||~ 1.5 USD|
2.10. How to get to the Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca from Cusco?
You can go 2 ways, with a travel agency or on your own.
We recommend you go with a travel agency, it is cheaper and safer.
You can read another one from our blog on How to go to Rainbow Mountain from Cusco.
For the first option you can follow these steps:
- Rent a taxi or take a bus from the city of Cusco to the town of Cusipata. Buses leave from the Coliseo Cerrado on Avenida Huayruropata (cost 5 soles). The trip takes approximately 2 hours.
- Once in the town of Cusipata, you can rest before continuing the trip to the community of Pampachiri. There are collective taxis that make the service (cost 10 soles). The trip takes about 1 hour.
- In the community of Pampachiri you can buy tickets for the Mountain of 7 Colors. You can also rent a horse or buy products before the trip.
- The tour or trek to Rainbow Mountain takes less than 1 hour and 30 minutes approximately depending on the physical condition of the visitor.
2.11. Can kids go to Vinicunca?
Children can go from a certain age, such as 12 years and up, who can walk for more than 2 H and resist the changing weather and the altitude.
2.12. Is rainbow mountain Peru worth it?
Yes. We think is an opportunity to see the Peruvian Andes and how people live there in communities.
2.13. Why is rainbow mountain Peru colorful?
Because it has mineral compositions, such as red color comes from oxides, yellow from iron sulfide, purple from goethite or oxidized limonite and green that comes from chlorite.
2.14. How was rainbow mountain Peru formed?
The formation of the rainbow mountain in Perú is due to the different layers of sediments of rocks such as sandstones, halites, gravel, limestone ranging from ocher, green, yellow and white along with other minerals, were compacted one on top of another until form different layers like plasticine masses. That happened thousands or millions of years ago.
2.15. How to do rainbow mountain Peru?
You can book a tour of a travel agency, which is the most recommended
or you can go by your own, but you must know the route or go with someone who already was. This is for your safety.
2.16. How to reach rainbow mountain Peru?
From Lima: You have to take a flight to Cusco with is 1 hours and from Cusco you have to go in car for 3 hours, and then hike like 2 hours to reach the best point.
2.17. How far is rainbow mountain Peru from Machu Picchu?
You have to know that the city of Cusco it is like in the middle way of Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain, and to go from Machu Picchu you have to back to Cusco witch is like 4 hours (2 hours in car and 2 hours in train). Then from Cusco to rainbow mountain it is 3 hours in car.
2.18. How far is rainbow mountain Peru from Cusco?
It is 3 hours far going in car.
2.19. How difficult is rainbow mountain Peru?
Its depends on how acclimatized you are to the altitude, since to go to the rainbow mountain it is challenging, we commended to go in the last days of your stay in Cusco.
Difficulty: Moderate – Challenging.
Want to visit this place?
3. Rainbow Mountain in Peru Tour
Not sure if you want to go to Vinicunca on your own? You can also do this by hiring the services of a tour.
Most tours are the same, what changes is the type of service they provide.
Recently some agencies are adding the red valley trek.
The rainbow mountain tour in Peru almost always begins and ends in the city of Cusco.
A day trip or day trip starts at 4:00 am and ends around 7:00 pm.
The prices vary according to the type of service, in our experience the best thing is to take a private service, since you can see the rainbow mountain at the hour where there are not many tourists, or even better, go to see the sunrise.
Price online: from 40 USD – 120 USD
Price in local agencies in Cusco: ~ 30 USD
If you have doubts you can consult us, remember that the availability of tourist attraction is almost all year round, only in the rainy season can vary.
3.2. Tour itinerary
- The tour starts around 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Pick up is at an agreed point or at your hotel.
- From 7:00 am to 8:00 am, breakfast buffet a few minutes from the starting point.
- After breakfast you will continue to the checkpoint.
- Once at the checkpoint you will walk through beautiful landscapes for 1 hour – 2 hours until you reach Vinicunca.
- You will have enough time to enjoy the view and take the best pictures you can.
- After that, you have to walk back to the point where the car left us.
- Lunch will be in the same place as breakfast, and will also be buffet.
- Return to Cusco. Estimated arrival: 7:00 pm.
3.3. What’s Included
- Tourist transport in shared and private service.
- Pick up from your hotel.
- 1 buffet breakfast
- 1 buffet lunch
- Professional guide
- Taxes included in the prices.
- Walking sticks.
- Entrance tickets (S / 10 or 3 USD)
3.4. Not Included
- Additional horse S / 70.00 or 21 USD, this can be hired at the beginning or during the walk, you can ask your guide for help or ask us.
3.5. What to bring
- A lightweight backpack with a change of clothes throughout the walking period: prepare for a wide range of temperature changes.
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or a rain poncho. Plastic rain ponchos can be purchased in the city of Cusco for approximately 1 USD.
- Waterproof boots for trekking.
- Warm clothing, including jacket, polar linings, gloves, scarf and hat. Thermal clothing is also recommended.
- Camera and extra batteries (batteries are consumed faster in cold conditions).
- Hat or cap for protection from sun, rain or cold.
- Toilet paper.
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolates, fruit, granola, etc.
- Water bottle.
- Pills to sterilize water in case you drink water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications you may need.
- Cash – Nuevo soles (S /).
4. Recommendations for adventure to Vinicunca
In this section we will talk in detail about the recommendations for hiking The Mountain of colors in Cusco.
There is a short route to Vinicunca, but in both cases these tips will help you make your adventure a good one.
4.1. Recommendations before leaving
To be acclimatized: This means that you must be several days in the City of Cusco adapting to the altitude, we recommend that the tour to Vinicunca be the last one or one of the last excursions that you do, the main reason is the altitude, and we will have a blog explaining in more detail about the altitude in general.
Trekking Shoes: The shoes must be trekking shoes, to prevent you from slipping or falling.
Clothing: We have to wear layers of clothing, the mountain of 7 colors is more than 5000 meters above sea level, and the temperature in the morning can reach below zero, and at the time to start walking we can warm up and will need to remove, we also recommend warm clothing and jacket to protect you from the wind.
Pants: The pants that we recommend are those that protect you from the cold and wind, the wind is very cold.
Gloves: Buy or wear gloves for the cold, there are special gloves that you can use with your cell phone, it will not be necessary to remove you to use your cell phone, before buying ask if you have this option.
4.2. Recommendations for carrying in your backpack
Backpack: The backpack we should carry should be the lightest, only carry the most necessary:
- Pill for soroche or altitude sickness.
- Sun Blocker.
4.3. Recommendations for the Trek
During the trek to the Rainbow Mountain, we recommend you to keep in mind that in the morning it is too cold, and as the day advances the sun rises and burns, for that reason it is necessary to put on sun blocker and have a cap set.
Don’t wear too many warm clothes, if you bring one, you can leave it in the car you came, because every kilo you carry will feel like it weighs more kilos than it is as it advances.
4.4. Recommendations for taking the best photos
We’ve talked a lot about the cold, an interesting fact is that electronic devices can lose battery quickly with the cold, so we recommend you keep it warm, can be in your pockets of your jacket.
Once you reach the point called “Paso de Vinicunca” you must climb a little more to the top that is towards the direction where the Ausangate mountain is, the view from there is unique and incredible, you will see the mountain of 7 colors in all its splendor, and your right side will find the red valley, and behind you will find the Ausangete and you will be able to enjoy the Andes like you have never seen it before.
5. Difficulty of the trek to Rainbow Mountain Peru
The treks takes about 3 or 4 hours (depending on the physical condition of the tourist) is not dangerous and requires a moderate-high physical effort.
If you find it difficult to walk at high altitude, choose the short and easy route.
There are paths that have an inclination that the height you are going to be will be very difficult to overcome. However, one of the biggest difficulties is the cold weather and the icy wind.
The altitude of the area can cause altitude sickness or soroche. It is recommended a previous acclimatization of 1 or 2 days in the city of Cusco – Peru.
It is amazing how this place become so popular, and now many people visit every day, please feel free to comment or share this information with your friends and relatives.