Located in the Peruvian Andes in Cusco just 3 hours away from the historical center, Rainbow Mountain is becoming the main attraction to see after or before Machu Picchu. As you could guess, the mountain is famed for its natural, multi-colored beauty at a staggering 5,200m above sea level. This rainbow-like appearance is created by the sediment of minerals throughout the area giving the mountain the turquoise, lavendar, gold and other colors.
It was only recently discovered due to the snow melting revealing the hidden gem that’s still considered holy by many until this day. Since its discovery, Rainbow Mountain as slowly started gaining popularity and has even been listed in National Geographic’s “Top 100 Places To Visit Before You Die”.
Once the mountain’s existence was known outside of the local communities, it started attracting locals and travelers alike, first having a couple of dozen of people to now taking in hundreds of visitors a day. The first thing that caught everyone’s attention was, you guessed it again, the colors seen nowhere else. But that wasn’t the only thing. It’s one of those places where the whole journey is as amazing as the destination. Llamas, horses, and alpacas are dispersed all over the range, with local communities still living almost the same life as before but now also helping visitors discover the colored mountain. The scenery along the trek is just like the pictures and even they don’t do it justice sometimes. Add to this the geological and local history and it’s no wonder why it’s gaining popularity!
The best weather for trekking Vinincunca is between March and November with blue skies from June to August, whereas January and February are considered the wettest months. However, there are days without any rains during these months. Weather can change in seconds though, so always be prepared!
Unlike with the famous lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, there are currently no limits on how many tourists can trek to the stunning spot. It is becoming increasingly popular so we recommend going as soon as you can.
1. Does it actually look like the pictures?
Yes! And it’s definitely what makes the trek much more gratifying. There are unlucky days where the weather does ruin a little bit of the beauty but it adds a mystical effect.
2. What should I bring and wear if I were to do the Rainbow Mountain trek?
The most important things you should bring and wear are warm layers of clothes, good trekking shoes, suncream, and water. We go into more detail on our What To Bring page.
3. Are there chances of suffering altitude sickness during the trek?
Altitude sickness can catch many travellers off guard. Not everyone gets sick at high altitudes, and it is difficult to predict who is likely to be badly affected by it. For most people, it is nothing more than a mild headache and a dizzy sensation that diminishes over a short period of time (1-2 days).
We strongly recommend acclimatizing to the altitude before partaking in the trek. It could be done by taking it easy on the first day in Cusco (resting, eating small portions of food, drinking lots of water) or gradually ascending throughout other cities. If short on time, consult your doctor on taking altitude sickness (acetazolamide/Diamox) or go for the natural remedy used by locals, chewing coca leaves.
Check out our Safety Advice page for the best tips on how to not have any problems on the trek!
4. Which are the best operators to do the trek with?
Based on their standard of equipment, guides, customer service and overall experience, our recommended operators are:
To learn more about them, check out our Operators page.
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