Getting from Lima to Rainbow Mountain

How to get from Lima to Rainbow Mountain: 2024 updated information about all the options to help you choose the one that fits your travel plans best!

In the past years, Rainbow Mountain has become one of Peru’s best attractions due to its unique beauty. For many travelers visiting Peru, the journey begins in the capital city. Luckily our travel experts have made this guide to help other travelers out.

Lima to Rainbow Mountain – What to know!

  • To get to Rainbow Mountain, you first need to get to Cusco from Lima
  • Flights are recommended for those short on time (LATAM is the best option)
  • Bus is a great option to slowly acclimatize and enjoy other great destinations along the way (avoid direct bus if possible, check out different options like Peru Hop
  • From Cusco, you’ll need to go to Rainbow Mountain with a tour operator
  • Official tour operator: Rainbow Mountain Travels

Now that you’ve seen the quick summary, let’s go into more detail of each option.

Getting From Lima to Cusco

Cusco is considered to be one of the most important cities in Peru, not only for being home to Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World but because of its history and cultural expression. Cusco is located at 3,399 meters above sea level, and it’s only accessible by plane or bus from Lima.

Flights to Cusco

The fastest, but also the most expensive way, which is why it’s mostly recommended for those short on time. The best option is LATAM Airlines, other low-cost options are unreliable and can cause unnecessary stress.

Keep in mind that you would be traveling from sea level to a high-altitude destination. Therefore, you’ll need to spend at least 1-2 days to rest and acclimatize your body before committing to any physically demanding activity. Otherwise, you could experience mild to severe altitude sickness symptoms, which could force pausing your plans for a few days, or in the worst case, cancel your trip.

Bus to Cusco

The perfect way to slowly acclimatize and save you a few days in Cusco for more activities. Only downside for bus travel is the time it takes on a direct journey, which is 22 hours. This bus option is not recommended, but if prefer a direct trip make sure to check out Cruz del Sur or Civa. Keep in mind that these buses are mostly focused on the local market, with basic customer service available (in some cases with no English).

Peru Hop would be the best bus option for travelers. Its unique and flexible travel passes include stops at incredible destinations such as Huacachina and Arequipa. Apart from this, they have bilingual guides onboard every bus, discounts across many hotels/hostels, and you get to travel with people from all over the world! You can check them out here.

red valley vinicunca

Getting From Cusco to Rainbow Mountain

Although Rainbow Mountain is only 3 hours away from the City of Cusco, there is no public transport to this attraction. Therefore it is advisable to take a guided tour to visit the Vinicunca Mountain.

In Cusco, you’ll find different tour operators that could take you on a day trip to the Rainbow Mountain. Keep in mind that not all the tour operators are reliable in terms of safety and experience.

We recommend taking the necessary time to know and compare different tour operators before making a decision. Since the Rainbow Mountain receives more than 1,500 visitors per day, prices may vary between the different operators, which is why you need to be careful.

If it is too cheap, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Most cheap tour operators don’t mention what they include in the package, and you could end up paying more than you’d want.

Rainbow Mountain Travels is one of the companies we recommend for visiting this astonishing natural wonder. Besides offering an early start in the morning, this company guarantees the arrival before the crowds, breakfast, lunch, an optional visit to the Red Valley, and assistance along the way. Make sure to know everything about the best Rainbow Mountain trek in Cusco while you’re here!

Lima to Rainbow Mountain

Tips for Travelers

We have gathered some recommendations that you should take into account before and during your visit to the Rainbow Mountain:

  • Choose wisely. As aforementioned, you will find a variety of tours to Rainbow Mountain. Therefore, make sure to take time to analyze and compare before making a decision.

  • Listen to your body. The Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley have an elevation of 5,200 meters. Be aware of your physical condition before committing to this trek. If arriving by flight, we recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Cusco before attempting any physically demanding activity.

  • Keep yourself hydrated. This is one of the recommended ways to avoid altitude sickness before or during your trek to the Rainbow Mountain. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day.

  • Protect yourself from the sun. Try to apply sunscreen every 45-50 minutes and use sunglasses throughout the trek.

  • Be prepared for the cold. Use layers of warm clothes, something easy to take off in case of getting warm from trekking. During the rainy season in Cusco, we also recommend bringing a rain poncho.

  • Bring cash. There are public toilets on the way to the Rainbow Mountain which can cost 1-2 soles. Also, if you want to visit the Red Valley you must pay the entrance fee which could cost between 10-20 soles.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. You could use either trekking shoes or sneakers. However, during the wet season, the path becomes muddy and often slippery.

These are a few of the many recommendations we have for visiting the Rainbow Mountain. Make sure to know everything about safety advices and what to bring while you’re here.

Rainbow Mountain Tour

Unquestionably, Rainbow Mountain is one of the best things to do in Cusco and South America. Choose the best option to get there and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience!