A fantastic day tour of trekking through lands of wild desert to the 7 Color/Rainbow mountain (5100m).
Rainbow mountain is located close to the peak, Ausangate (6,385m/20,945 ft), which is the highest mountain in the Cusco region and considered a holy mountain or mountain spirit by local people.
This route will take you through stunning landscapes with glaciers, snowcapped mountains, and crystal-clear rivers and lakes. You’ll pass by local Quechua and campesino villages and explore the breathtaking nature all around, filled with llamas and alpacas.
You will be picked up from your accommodation around 5:00 a.m. and we will start making our way to Arco (on the road to Puno), continuing on to Pitumarca and a number of small villages, until we reach the community of Hanchipata-Quesuno (approx. 3-hour drive total), where we will begin our hike.
The whole trek lasts approximately 5-6 hours, beginning at 4250m and ascending to Vinicunca-Rainbow Mountain-Cerro Colorado at 5020m for roughly 3-3.5 hours of that time. We will follow a lovely stream on the ascent whilst being surrounded by the stunning mountainous landscape and local wildlife including different camelids. You will also gain a better idea of how local communities have adapted to live in this impressive mountain range. As you get closer to Rainbow Mountain, you will begin to see the first signs of the colored minerals that formed the painted hills, and your guide will have explained how Rainbow Mountain was formed along the way. Once we reach Rainbow Mountain, we will spend about an hour relaxing, taking photos and taking in the stunning views including the Ausangate glacier. Afterwards, we’ll hike back to the starting point of the trek and return to Cusco, arriving at approximately 05:00 p.m..
Daily Departures and hotel pick-up
Advance bookings are highly recommended
Duration: 16 hours
This tour involves at least 5-6 hours of high-altitude trekking, so you should be reasonably fit!
Starting altitude: 4,256m/14,189 ft
Highest altitude: 5,020m/16,466 ft
Length of hike: 15km/9.3 miles
Elevation gain: 685m/2,250 ft
Despite the gradual climb and wide valley walk, this is a challenging day of hiking due to the elevation. We recommend spending at least 3 days in Cusco or somewhere with a similar elevation, to give you enough time to acclimatize.
Keep in mind that Rainbow Mountain’s colors are only bright on sunny days.
We require at least 2 people to confirm before we can run this tour, but there are usually two people as it is a very popular tour.
This may just be a day trip to Rainbow Mountain, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, we rate this trek as moderate. (See how we rate all of our treks in the Cusco region!)
There are two factors that affect the difficulty of this day hike: the altitude and the steep uphill climb.
Your Rainbow Mountain 1 day trek starts at an altitude of 4650m (15,255 ft). That’s already very high up and you must be well acclimatized before beginning the hike (more on altitude below).
From there, you will hike for 1.5h to 2h up to Vinicunca Pass, the classic viewpoint for Rainbow Mountain. While Rainbow Mountain itself has an altitude of 5200m (17,060 ft), Vinicunca Pass is located at 5040m (16, 535 ft), the highest point you will actually reach on this hike. That’s enough to take your breath away – literally!
While the hike is only a couple of hours, it is a very steep, uphill climb, with an elevation gain of nearly 400m (1312 ft). This can be very strenuous for most people. Of course, others will find the return trip down even harder! Steep inclines can be very hard on the knees.
Make sure you are prepared for the strain on your lungs and your knees for this trek, and that you know your body can handle it. We recommend walking sticks!