If you’re the adventurous traveler type, you surely can’t miss the famous Rainbow Mountain in Peru. It is located within the Peruvian Andes, at only 2 hours away from the Imperial City of Cusco. This outstanding natural wonder sits on an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest mountains of Peru.
The unique coloration of this mountain is caused by it’s mineral-rich soil. Due to its rainbow-like tones, locals started calling it “Vinicunca” a Quechua word that means “Mountain of Colors.” However, it wasn’t until 2015 that the so-called Montaña de Siete Colores went viral since it used to be covered in snow that later melted away revealing its natural beauty.
In addition to this dream-like mount, the authentic scenery of the region has captivated each and everyone of its visitors since it is surrounded by the imposing Ausangate mountain and the Red Valley. Thereby, the Rainbow Mountain receives over 1,500 travelers per day, making it one of the unmissable things to do in Cusco.
Attractions Near the Rainbow Mountain
The region is surrounded by an impressive natural scenery with valleys that seem out of this world and snow-capped mountains that welcome you all the way to the top!
1. Red Valley
The Red Valley lies just behind the Rainbow Mountain. This reddish esplanade owes its tones to the iron concentration in its soil. To visit this authentic scenery is as easy as following the marked path on the side of the mountain, it takes only 25 minutes to get there.
However, the trek to the Red Valley may not be so complicated, though it will mainly depend on your physical condition and how your body reacts to the high altitude.
2. Ausangate Mountain
This imposing snow-capped mountain is located 100 km from the city of Cusco, significantly near to the Rainbow Mountain. From the summit of Vinicunca, you can glance at this beautiful mountain since it is located at 6,385 meters above sea level. Making it the 5th highest mountain in Peru.
Keep in mind that if you want to visit this natural wonder, you’ll have to commit to an 8-day trek going through altitudes over 5,000 meters. It is a physically challenging trek so you better be prepared.
Rainbow Mountain Weather
The Andean region has two distinctive seasons and this colored mountain doesn’t stand too far from this. Due to its high altitude, the climate condition changes drastically in this area, which is why you must check the weather before adventuring to this natural wonder.
- Rainy Season: It starts in November and finishes around April. However, rainfall intensifies between the months of December and February, being this the rainiest period of the year. It is worth mentioning that it’s not advisable to visit Rainbow Mountain during this season since snowfall is expected throughout the region.
- Dry Season: It takes place between May and October, this is considered the coldest time of the year and the best season to visit the Vinicunca Mountain. Rainfall is nearly nill during this period but temperatures can drop below 0°C.
Dealing with Altitude Sickess
We’d like to highlight that altitude sickness is very common among the Rainbow Mountain visitors. therefore, we have gathered a few recommendations to help you prevent it and how to deal with it:
- Keep yourself hydrated. This is the first step to avoid any altitude sickness symptoms.
-Take at least 2 days to get used to the altitude in Cusco before committing to any physically demanding activity.
-Eat a light but high-calorie diet.
-Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking for the first days.
-Chew Coca leaves or drink Coca tea. This medicinal plant has shown successful results by helping with acclimatation.
-As a precautionary measure, you can buy Diamox or “Soroche” pills in any drugstore in Cusco.
Make sure to follow these recommendations and remember to take a short break if experiencing any altitude sickness symptoms.
Quick Tip: For those who may have trouble trekking to the Rainbow Mountain, locals rent horse rides until the last 15 minutes of the trek. From there, you’ll have to continue by foot. That is arranged upon arrival, ask your tour guide for more information.
How to Get to Rainbow Mountain?
To visit this attraction, one must be in Cusco, which is easily accessible by plane, bus, or train. Here are some recommendations to help you make your way to Cusco and later visit the Rainbow Mountain:
-To Cusco by Bus: For those with a flexible itinerary and plenty of extra time, we encourage you to take bus rides to the principal destinations of your itinerary. This way, you’ll get to experience even more of the Peruvian lands and get to know the culture of the region in-depth. Get more information here →
-Flying to Cusco: If you’re on a tight schedule and your main travel destination is Cusco, then we encourage you to fly directly to this city. However, we advise you to take it easy on the first days and leave Rainbow Mountain for the end of your trip. Learn more about this adventure here →
-Train Ride to Cusco: Live an authentic experience on board of the luxurious Belmond Andean Explorer train. A railway that connects Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco passing through the visually striking scenery of the Andes. Find out more →
Once in Cusco, you can easily visit this painted mountain. However, make sure to book your day trip to Rainbow Mountain in advance since this is one of the most in-demand attractions in Cusco. In case you haven’t decided yet, contact your travel agent for information about availability.
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 Peru travel packages and start organizing your trip!