There’s nothing worse than packing too much or forgetting to bring something you’re going to need on the trek. Here are the must-brings and wear to Rainbow Mountain to make sure you have an unforgettable time!
Feel free to download this list as a PDF file (which you can find at the bottom of this page) to use as a checklist before you leave for your trek!
Depending on the time of year, the skies while climbing Rainbow Mountain can either be a crystal-clear blue or a moody variation of grey shades. However, on both occasions comfortable, durable clothes are important.
Due to the altitude of the mountain, temperatures tend to be low and it can also be windy making the trek uncomfortable if you don’t have the proper clothes to keep you warm. We suggest having warm layers of clothes that you can easily take off since there might be parts where you will feel to warm from all the trekking.
As more travellers trek the path over time, the trail is becoming smoother. However, the varying weather can have an effect on the condition of the path and some spots can still be rough to walk through. We advise wearing a strong, durable pair of trekking shoes (or comfortable, sturdy sneakers) and thick hiking socks when taking on Vinicunca.
Chance of rain is always present, especially during rainy season. The journey up and down can be tough but twice as much if you’re damp and cold. With risk of rainfall, we suggest bringing waterproof material on you. If you have no waterproof material, a simple rain poncho bought in Cusco before the trek is often enough to help with this.
Sun hat and glasses are essential as the radiation from the sun at this altitude can be quite strong and the glare almost blinding. This lighting can be a great distraction which should be avoided when walking on rough terrain.
When you arrive at the base of the mountain, before starting the trek, there will be huts with toilet facilities available. However, fair warning, these toilets are not very well developed and don’t have any toilet paper so you better bring your own.
There are no more facilities as you progress on the route so be sure to also bring hand sanitizer if you think you may need to go again along the way.
As mentioned before, solar radiation is much more intense at higher altitudes. At 2500m it is 1.5 times the strength that it is at sea level and 2.5 times at 4000m. As well as this, Rainbow Mountain is often covered in a layer of snow which can reflect up to 80% or 90% of solar radiation rather than the 20% of solar radiation reflected from the rough surface.
It’s important that you’re covered in a strong layer of sunscreen, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Several of the things on this list are small essentials that can be packed in a small, convenient backpack to be brought up the mountain with any other things you may want to take. Try to only bring things you will need, as walking with a heavy backpack will get difficult quite fast at such a high altitude.
We recommend taking a backpack with a waist adjuster or hip belt as, without one, your backpack can tire you fairly quickly.
Coca leaves are one of the items on this list we would consider crucial. Used by the locals as a natural remedy to prevent altitude sickness, these leaves are the ideal aid to help with a throbbing headache and help with breathing difficulty. They can be bought in the markets of Cusco and all you have to do is chew on them (they can also be used to make coca tea).
Staying hydrated and drinking good amounts of water is a must. It is so important to keep your body hydrated to ensure you will be able to climb the mountain without tiring out quickly and easily.
We also suggest taking only small sips of water as you go rather than large gulps so you don’t burden yourself with a sudden urge for the toilet when trekking.
There is a 10 soles entrance fee for anyone entering the park. If you decide to visit Rainbow Mountain with an operator, the 10 soles entrance fee may or may not be included in your package, depending on the operator you choose to travel with.
It is not included with most tours so be sure to check before you leave.
We recommend these for anyone who thinks they might struggle while trekking Rainbow Mountain. They are mostly useful going uphill, downhill and are also often used on slippery ground such as mud, snow or loose rocks.
Having two extra points of contact helps your traction immensely so we would recommend them to anyone who feels they may have a difficult time with this trek.
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