Rainbow Mountain Peru is accessible from Cusco, however the only way to access Rainbow Mountain is if you are with an official tour company who have permissions to access the mountain.

Top Companies to Travel to Rainbow Mountain with:

  1. Rainbow Mountain Travels: Biggest tour operator, strong online presence, hundreds of Tripadvisor reviews and a very modern and clear website (see here). Not the cheapest company but not the most expensive either.
  2. Kantu Peru Tours: One of the main competitors of Rainbow Mountain Travels. More expensive and a lot less reviews but a company who could be a good option if Rainbow Mountain Travels have no more spaces.
  3. Alpaca Expeditions: Machu Picchu experts, much higher prices than normal although a very reputable tour operator.

Again, be VERY careful with what company you travel with as this is a once in a lifetime experience. Avoid booking on Viator or GetYourGuide as they charge tour operators up to 40% commission and often have higher prices than on the operators own website.

Full Day Trek

This is the most popular option when it comes to trekking up to Rainbow Mountain Peru – particularly if done with an operator.

An early start from Cusco is advised, driving for roughly 3 hours to Pitumarca. Then it is suggested to travel to Qesoyuno for the start of the trek. It takes roughly 3 hours to get to the top and 3 hours back down.

Most operators will have you back in Cusco Plaza by 19:00pm – this is a good guideline for solo travelers also

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Getting from Lima to Cusco

To get to Rainbow Mountain, you first need to get to Cusco, the gateway to the colorful hills. There are 2 ways to go from Lima to Cusco: bus or flying. Bus is the preferred choice for travellers due to all the scenery and destinations that you’ll be able to visit along the way, while flying is the best option for those short on time.

Peru Hop bus

This is our number 1 recommendation for getting to Cusco from Lima.

Altitude Sickness is an issue that effects many people in Cusco, stopping them from being able to climb Rainbow Mountain Peru. Peru Hop’s hop on hop off system is the perfect way for travellers to gradually adjust to altitude while travelling through Peru.

As Vinicunca is at an altitude of 5,200m, it is essential travellers are adjusted before trekking.

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Local buses

The next best option is for travellers to catch a local bus from Lima to Cusco.

These journeys are often direct, so can be very long, sometimes up to 26 hours. Several local companies use shortcuts on roads that go through the Andes to reduce this time. However, These roads can be very, very dangerous and buses sometimes even get hijacked so be extremely careful when choosing a company.

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We would only ever recommend flying from Lima to Cusco if you are incredibly short on time.

Not only do you miss seeing all of the other amazing destinations in Peru, but you are also putting yourself at high risk of Altitude Sickness.

Going from sea level to 3,400m in such a short space of time does not allow your body to adjust – this affects the majority of travellers who decide to fly direct so we strongly advise against it.

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