13 Rainbow Mountain Photos That Will Put this Destination At The Top of Your Bucketlist
Updated June 2023, 13 Rainbow Mountain Photos That Will Put this Destination At The Top of Your Bucketlist was originally published in January 2017
Ever been a place where you have to rub your eyes and blink a few times to determine if what you’re seeing is right? That is the best way to describe the Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) trek in Peru. You’ll start the trip from Cusco 3 hours away and pass several villages before arriving at the start of the trek.
Those not keen to go at it on their own can check out these tours with Exploor Peru that include the Rainbow Mountain on a 3 day itinerary to Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain, a 4 day itinerary to Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, and Humantay Lake, or a 5 day itinerary to Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, and Humantay Lake.
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Click here to see my top tips and tricks to know before hiking the Rainbow Mountain
After breakfast, we left the first village just after sunrise and began to gain some elevation. Even from the start, you can feel it even after being at elevation for 3 weeks.
Soon you end up in a wide valley where you come across another village.
As the hike goes on you start to see more and more pops of color. Mineral deposits are responsible for the brightly colored strips of Earth here.
Spending time in Cusco too? Don’t miss out on doing the Tambomachay to Cusco walk
Vinicunca gets its name because it displays 7 colors. The word Vinicunca means ‘seven color mountain’ in Quechua.
As we continued on I was really starting to feel the altitude which probably made it seem all the more a psychedelic experience.
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Then there it is, the view we had been waiting for. Making all the efforts and lack of oxygen worth it. It looks like a giant slice of rainbow cake, only better.
Going to Machu Picchu? Click here to see my tops tips and tricks for a perfect visit
From the viewpoint, you have a great 360º view all around.
Even the animals in the area stop to take it all in.
We happened to make it to the top in good time and continued on past the Rainbow celebrity in the range.
Exploring further in the Sacred Valley? Don’t miss the Maras Salt Mines
It looks like something out of Alice In Wonderland.
After a couple of hours at well over 16,500 ft/5000 m, I was ready to start back down. But kinda not, I mean look at this place.
Would you endure the strenuous efforts for these kinds of views?
Ready to book your trek to the Rainbow Mountain?
Check out Flashpacker Connect for prices and availability. I can’t recommend them enough, and our guide Abel was amazing. He was well versed on the area.
However, there are reports out now of people doing self-guided hikes up here. If you are experienced and understand the dangers involved I could see that doing this on your own would be a good option for you. But realize that this is at a fairly high altitude and this is a very delicate landscape up here. Don’t ruin it for everyone else by being an asshat.
Still in Planning mode?
Read my Rainbow Mountain post here. There are even some tips on what to bring and what to be prepared for.