Peru is recognized for its vast diversity, where each region has something unique to offer to every traveler. The Peruvian Andes are one of the most visited destinations in South America because of the many natural attractions it gathers and the adventure sports it offers.
Now, other natural beauties have been revealed due to climate change, these colorful mountains hidden in plain sight were covered in thick layers of snow and ice that later melted away uncovering an impressive natural masterpiece.
The first viral rainbow mountain is called Vinicunca, which was “discovered” in 2015, later an alternative to this 5,200-meter peak appeared, called Palcoyo. However, we thought that would be all but turns out that during the pandemic in 2020, another colorful mountain came to the surface with distinctive sharp edges.
The particular coloration of these mountains are caused by the concentration of sediments and minerals in its soil. It’s part of a geologic process that takes millions of years to form. There are six documented rainbow mountains in the world and Peru owns three of them!
Therefore, Cusco is the destination for those travelers looking for everything in one place, here you’ll have historical monuments, pre-Columbian attractions, a vast cultural expression, and astonishing natural wonders. Add a little spice to your travel plans and make sure to visit any of these mountains during your trip through Peru:
It is the first ever commercialized rainbow mountain in Peru, and as aforementioned, it was unveiled to the public in 2015, but it wasn’t until January 2016 that they started operating tours to this natural beauty.
The so-called Montaña de Siete Colores has become one of the most visited attractions in Cusco, following Machu Picchu, since it receives over 1,500 tourists per day. However, there’s another side of this mountain that not many people seem to know.
At a only 25-minute walk from the famous Rainbow Mountain lies the Red Valley, an outstanding esplanade with an authentic red coloration that covers almost the entire valley. It is easily accessible though not many tour operators include it on the tour.
The Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is located 2-3 hours away from the city of Cusco, at 5,200 meters above sea level. The trek to its summit takes almost two hours depending on your physical condition. Although the trail isn’t very challenging, the altitude makes it difficult to complete it, which is why we always recommend taking the necessary time to finish it.
To learn more about the classic Rainbow Mountain in Peru, make sure to read this travel guide while you’re here and make the most of your experience!
If you’re looking for a less crowded colored mountain with a much easier trail, then this is the place for you! The Palcoyo Mountain is located 3 hours away from Cusco and the trek takes about one hour to complete.
In addition to the Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain, this region gathers even more attractions like Red Valleys and Stone Forests that surely complements its natural beauty. Therefore, if you’re planning to travel off the beaten path, this location must be on your bucket list.
The trek is considered to have an easy to moderate difficulty and only takes from 45 to 60 minutes to get to the summit, where you’ll have an incredible view of this authentic scenery. Some tour operators include breakfast before doing the hike.
Would you like detailed information about this attraction? Don’t forget to read the Palcoyo full guide here!
It is the newly discovered Rainbow Mountain located in the outskirts of Cusco at 4,700 meters above sea level near the town of Sicuani. Unlike the others, this rainbow mountain has a particular sharp shape due to wind and rain erosion. However, that’s what makes it stand out from the rest.
This dream-like scenery owes its colors to the mineral concentration in its soil which grants different tones to the sandstones. The Rainbow Mountains in Peru are surely geology gems hidden in the heart of the Peruvian Andes.
We highly recommend taking a guided tour to this location, where you can have an exclusive experience through this and maybe other sites along the route. For more information, please contact our team.
During the high altitudes of these locations one may experience altitude sickness symptoms which are common in elevations that supasses the 2,500 meters of elevation. Therefore if you’re up to these adventures, make sure to follow these recommendations:
- Upon arrival in Cusco, make sure to rest and listen to your body. It is not advisable to commit to a physically demanding activity on the first 2 or 3 days of your stay.
- Keep yourself hydrated, this way you can avoid feeling sick during your trip.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking since these can cause dehydration and shortness of breath.
- Eat a light but high-calorie diet.
- Drink coca tea. The famous medicinal plant is known for its healing properties and for helping with acclimatization.
Likewise, make sure to always check the weather conditions so you can pack accordingly for your trip. The weather in the Peruvian Andes tends to change drastically, especially during the rainy season.
Viagens Machu Picchu provides everything you need to have an authentic experience through Peru. If you wish to know more about all the different things to do in Cusco and to travel off the beaten path, then check out our travel packages and start organizing your trip!
Cusco has many adventures for you and we'd love to show you everything about them! If you're planning the perfect itinerary through this magical region, don't miss this blog about the best 10 day trips from Cusco so you can make the most of your experience.