Explore Rainbow Mountains - Nature’s Gift To Peru
Yesss!!! They look unrealistic but they are rainbow in color for real.
Probably it’s the first time you'll ever experience walking over the rainbow, not quite literally but real for sure.
Located near the Ausangate Mountain in Cusco. It is one of the places that is still being discovered by travelers. Though it is amongst the 100 places you must visit before you die by National Geographic due all because of its beautiful colors!
They represent one of the most astounding spots of the Cordillera Vilcanota as it has a natural color given by the sedimentary eroding rocks. They look attractive because of its colorfulness as they are formed by seven different colors. The Reds are because of rust blends, yellows because of iron sulfide, purples from goethite or oxidized limonite, and the greens from chlorite.
Some facts about Rainbow Mountains:
- Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) is in the Willkanuta Mountain Range, nestled in the greater Andes Mountains, just 3 hours away from Cusco.
- Starting altitude: 4,326 m / 14,189 ft (Cusco altitude 3,399 m)
- Max. Altitude: 5,200m / 17,060 ft
- The walk to and from Rainbow Mountain is a day-long stagger at over 14,000 feet, tracing a dirt path between looming peaks of green and startling red rock.
- The best time to hike Ausangate is during the dry months between May and September. The shoulder months of April and October are also pleasant
- It's a gorgeous route, passing local villages built from stone and glittering mountain streams.
- The Ausangate local community is one of the only few shepherding (raising llamas and alpacas) communities left in the world.
It's an absolute high altitude adventure that will keep you begging for oxygen as you will strut above a constant altitude of 14,000 feet. Unlike the Inca Trail, no permit is needed. In fact, it’s one of the quietest in the region and you’ll likely see only a few hikers. You will pass thousands of alpacas and llamas roaming here and there. You will get to walk through beautifully diverse landscapes varying from snow-capped peaks through neon red desert mountains to marshy pampas. The real reward, however, will be your arrival at those painted-like hills hidden deep in the Andes. Resembling a rainbow, the mountains require an extremely good sight to discover a route along with a strong determination to reach to it, but will definitely not leave you disappointed at all!
Although it’s also important to note that the weather makes a big difference in your experience there. It’s best to plan your trip when it's unlikely for there to be rain or snow because it will make the trail even more difficult to hike and the colors get duller too, as experienced by our travelers. At the same time, taking pictures on super sunny days especially around afternoon will probably wash out all your photographs due to the excess sunlight. Therefore, the best time to visit is in the morning or evening hours, either right after the sun rises, or right before the sun sets.
What to Pack for Rainbow Mountain?
It’s impossible to dress appropriately for Rainbow Mountain. If you leave early morning then you’ll definitely have to wear a few layers, gloves and you’re most likely going to be freezing. However, later in the day, the sun bears down bringing skin to the boil and it gets too sunny. But there are times when hikers have experienced snowstorm, so everything is possible. So we’ll recommend you to pack these things before you leave for your trek:
- Small Backpack
- Comfy Shoes
- Warm clothes
- Rain jacket or poncho – In case of a snowstorm.
- Hat and sunglasses – For the sun and snow.
- Lip Balm with Sunscreen
- Lifestraw Bottle – this would be of much help at the painted hills of Vinicunca, as there’s no source of water anywhere.
- Chocolates - To get more energy
- Toilet paper - Only Mother Nature’s toilets are available on the mountains
Recently, the Rainbow Mountain trail became so popular that locals and tourist organizations around the world are worried that it could soon be completely destroyed.
Ausangate mountain itself is considered a holy mountain by Peruvians and it’s been a place of worship since pre-Inca times. The mountain is also notable for the Qoyllur Rit’I or Star Snow Festival held at the base at the end of May.
This is an annual pilgrimage that lasts for 24 hours, but the whole celebration usually takes three to four days. About 90,000 people come to visit the sanctuary in a Sinakara hollow. The festival is a result of interlace between Christian and pre-Columbian pagan beliefs which go hand in hand as far as modern Peruvian culture is concerned.
We hope we could put some light on your Rainbow Mountain trek planning and with the resources provided in this blog, you can make a fantastic Rainbow Mountain itinerary. But what if you could just kick back and relax and leave all the hassles of planning an exciting Rainbow Mountain journey on us?
Our travel team at GoDiscoverAbroad are hands at the ready to build a super awesome itinerary for you and also to make your Peruvian journey a bombastic affair!
Book yourself an adventure with us TODAY!