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Cheap Rainbow Mountain Cusco

Cheap Rainbow Mountain Cusco

We know that there are mountains and amazing hills all over the world, but whoever looks at the Ausangate viewpoints, will discover the thousand colors that this unique mountain shows. A geological gem that is becoming very famous, very fast. Because of the incomparable nature of its landscapes, we do not doubt that this incredible mountain will soon be known, as the mountain of the 7 colors will be one of the most desired hiking routes in the world; The Rainbow Mountain  (Vinicunca) is located only 100 km from the city of Cusco and is the 4th highest mountain in Peru, it is nothing less than 6,372 meters high; Its exposed minerals (iron oxides, copper sulfates and others) are shown to form an almost surrealistic image.Climate change has discovered the multicolored beauty of these mountains located in the Vilcanota mountain range, in Cusco. The Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain are behind the imposing Ausangate, which is part of the Vilcanota mountain range in Cusco. It is a valley irrigated by the Pitumarca River that is born, precisely, in the lower part of the Ausangate and that flows into the great Vilcanota River. The massifs of Vinicunca belong to the peasant community of Pampachiri, which borders the districts of Pitumarca and Cusipata, in the provinces of Canchis and Quispicanchi. Its name comes from two Quechua voices: "Vini", for the rounded and heavy black stones that abound in the area, which they called "vini rumi" (stone). The second is "Kunka" which means neck, because the narrowness of the hill resembles a neck step. Initially, the muleteers of the high plateau and the settlers knew it like "Qolla Ñan" or "path of the Qollas". We start from the city of Cusco and pass through the towns of Andahuaylillas, Quiquijana and Checacupe. This last town preserves an interesting Inca bridge and in its church there are pictures of the Cusco school, especially one of its highest representatives: Diego Quispe Tito. Unfortunately, the temple is not always open to the public. The Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is surely the most popular single-day trek in recent years. It is located south of the city of Cusco, near one of the most important mountains in the country (due to its large size) and also very special for local inhabitants due to its connection with the Andean religion or philosophy: the Ausangate mountain, which its 6 390 masl is the highest in the Cusco region. Since centuries ago the local people, made these walks to reach the highest points near this great snow in order to worship and bring offerings to the mountains and the Pachamama.Ausangate is considered the most important mountain of the Andean cosmovision; in this tour will fill you with history, customs and culture, while enjoying this scenic beauty up the Rainbow Mountain.


Before you go

Quick Itinerary:

Full day: Cusco – Rainbow Mountain– Cusco


How to get? 

Ausangate is the fifth highest mountain in Peru, its maximum altitude is 6,372 meters above sea level. It is located about 100 kilometers southeast of the city of Cusco. You leave the city in a vehicle, the estimated travel time is 3 hours, when you arrive in Chilca, you will start the 3-hour walk towards the mountain of colors (you walk about 4 km ½ aprox.). It can be done in a private car or by hiring a tour. The road to Ausangate is one of the most amazing experiences you can have, enjoy the landscape, be accompanied by birds and native animals during the trip is only part of what this great opportunity offers, you can find yourself, where you will receive the protection and wisdom of what was once sacred to our culture.

Ascent on foot... 

After three hours by car or sightseeing bus we arrive at Pitumarca, where the community of Qheshiuno is located, starting point of the walk. The ascent on foot lasts about an hour, until you reach a horse station where the drivers are always willing to help with the ascent. The horses take us up to a certain point in the climb. Then we have to climb on foot to reach the peak, at 5,200 meters above sea level, where there is a viewpoint. From there we can observe in all its splendor the mountains in a 360 degree view. They are the domains of the great Apu Ausangate. In addition to the Ausangate mountain, in this landscape complex we can also contemplate the Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain, named for its resemblance to the colors of the rainbow.

Is it difficult to walk to the mountain of the 7 colors? 

Depending on the path of ascent, this hike has sections with a high degree of difficulty, so it is recommended to be in good shape. The locals usually offer their horses for rent, the prices is 80 soles approx. ( 25 US$), this will depend on the time you want to travel the road on horseback. On the other hand we remind you that you can find basic services, but very useful.The Walk to the Mountain of the Seven Colors has half difficulty. With a duration of 3 and a half hours at an average pace, this path requires an acceptable physical condition. The route includes slightly steep climbs and plains that rise progressively. The starting point is the area of ​​Quesiuno at 4200 meters above the sea. The final point, the Vinicunca mountain rises to 5000 meters above sea level. During the journey there are areas of ascent and others of light downhill. There are no risk factors such as cliffs or crossing rivers, so this walk is very safe. Although there are no signposts, the trail is very clear and you will always find other travelers either outbound or back. If you require assistance or rest, do not hesitate to go out of the way to sit down for a moment and enjoy the landscape and the pure air of the Andes. The cold weather is moderate depending on the season, but we recommend that you wear a coat, since on the top of the Vinicunca mountain you can feel freezing winds.

Singular composition...  

At the request of the community of Pitumarca, the Cultural Landscape office of the Decentralized Directorate of Culture Cusco, developed a study to obtain technical information about these mountains and offer them to tourists. The report revealed that the colors of the mountains are due to the mineralogical composition that has: 

  • the pink color is for red clay, fangolitas (mud) and arilitas (sand). 
  • The whitish, for the white quartzose sandstone.
  • Brown and purple, by limonites and marls, rich in calcium carbonate.  
  • The red is composed of the clay (iron) and clays belonging to the upper tertiary.
  • The green is due to the compound of phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian. 
  • The earthy brown is the product of the fanglomerate composed of manganese rock belonging to the Quaternary era. 
  • And the mustard yellow color for the calcareous sandstones rich in sulphurous minerals.

All these colors are a marvel of nature product of geological formations. At the same time, it is a magical spiritual place, surely admired as a sacred place by the inhabitants of the area. We observed that part of the Vinicunca mountains had a line of snow on top. The inhabitants tell us that these great hills were snowed in past decades. This would explain why it is only now known about them. Global warming has discovered them.


What should I bring?

  • Original identity document 
  • Personal medicine kit (bandages, cotton, bandages, alcohol, aspirin, pills for stomach problems, medicines to prevent altitude sickness). 
  • Camera, extra batteries 
  • Boots or shoes for hiking. 
  • Walking stick with rounded rubber tip. 
  • Hat or cap Long sleeve shirts Canteen 
  • Dehydrated fruits, candies and chocolates 
  • Gloves, scarf, wool stockings. 
  • Raincoats in the rainy season. 
  • Long pants.
  • Insect repellent. 
  • Sunscreen. 
  • Sweaters and a jacket Medium backpack (approx 40 liters) for walks. 
  • Towel and toilet paper. 
  • Warm clothes (sweater and jacket). 
  • Binoculars. 
  • Travel insurance.

What is the best time to go to Rainbow Mountain? 

The temperature in the Cusco region is extremely variable, during the day it reaches around 15 ° C, but it can be much colder, especially in the morning and night hours. But in times of rain it is less cold, known as "Summer height", the rise of the Vinicunca Mountains in the rainy season is impossible, in the period from April to November it is the recommended time. However, the weather can be very unpredictable at any time, as so many times in the regions of Cusco contain elements of climates that are always essential for mountainous geography, so a good combination of high mountain clothes.

How long is the trip to Vinicunca? 

Vinicunca is the name of a majestic mountain, which rises to more than five thousand three hundred meters. It is also known as the "Apu Ausangate" (Hill of Rainbow Mountain of Seven Colors). This trip is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular excursions in Peru after Machupicchu. The tour offered by the travel agencies is the day trip departing from Cusco, the tour lasts approximately 6 hours starting with the transfers from your hotel. The walk requires a relatively good physical condition since it must amount to more than 5000 meters. The bravest can undertake the 6-day trek to explore all the Ausangate mountains. Vinicunca only organized the tour since the end of 2015, now it is becoming very popular. 

Distance Cusco to Rainbow Mountain.

Vinicunca From the city of Cusco add 280 kilometers to the entrance of the Vinicunca community, from where the Hike begins, which is 12 kilometers round trip to the colorful mountain, during the journey small Quechuas, Andean community, a wonderful landscape of rocks, are appreciated. Rivers and on a large number of camelids, lamas, alpacas and others. 


Vinicunca Community 

They are Quechua inhabitants, who still maintain their customs the way of living in a natural organic way, although Peru is a country that is developing in education but unfortunately these communities are out of reach of basic services such as sewage, electricity, less in the education of their children. 
  • Livestock Vinicunca: The extremes of cold, constant rains in summer do not allow much work to be done in the Andean lands of the Winicunka community, for this reason the main source of income per capita is the breeding of Auquénidos, llamas, alpacas and a variety of sheep. families have at least one life worthy of taking their family forward, without any orientation less training on the part of the government in the care of hundreds of tourists who arrive daily at this mountain of colors.

More adventures:

rainbow mountain full day

Our expedition will start at 3:00 a.m. We will pick up all our passengers from their hotels in the city of Cusco. We will have two hours of travel in the private transport to Pitumarca, town where we will take our breakfast (included). At the end, we will continue to the town of Chilca, where we will begin our walk. We will have two to three hours of walking to the viewpoint of the Rainbow Mountain (the difference of time depends on the physical and climatological condition). On the way, you will enjoy the flora and fauna typical of the Andean area. We will also have the opportunity to see lamas and domestic alpacas. When we reach the Rainbow mountain, we will have an appropriate time to enjoy the view, take the best possible photos and eat snacks. After all this, we will start the descent to Chilca, where we will have our lunch (two hours). At the end, we will embark our car, which will bring us back to the city of Cusco. 


  • Transportation (round trip) 
  • 01 lunch 
  • Professional guide English - Spanish. 
  • Tickets
  • Paramedic First aid kit / oxygen / medication / tablet for height, etc. 




  • Tips
  • Extra expenses 
  • Air flights
  • Other not mentioned


Preparation for the Rainbow Mountain Tour 1 Day

The one-way leg from the camp in Quesiuno to the place is about 4 hours, with ascent parts, while the return takes almost 2 hours. One of the best advice is that you perform a simulation in your region of origin; find an area of ​​rural or mountainous type, bring clothes, backpack and hiking boots (the same ones that will bring to Cusco) and walk for said periods of time about 2 or 3 times in different days. You can take breaks to rest. Keep in mind that the 1 day Rainbow Mountain tour reaches heights of 5,000 meters above sea level. The amount of oxygen in the air will be quite less than usual. Therefore, it is necessary that you are in an adequate physical and mental condition, because you will have to make some effort to overcome the mountain range. If it is the case, reduce or eliminate the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, stimulants, very greasy food. Prefer healthier proteins such as fish, legumes, etc. In general it must be with very good nutrition and also an optimistic mental state, patient and able to overcome challenges.

Tips for your arrival in Cusco

  • If you come from a place of low elevation above sea level, your body is accustomed to a higher density of oxygen in the air. The city of Cusco is located at 3,400 meters of altitude. But the excellent news is that it is good for you to arrive about 2 or 3 days before going to the Rainbow Mountain, to make your adaptation or acclimatization. This process starts automatically in the body, but it is enormously helpful that you progressively increase physical effort, drink plenty of bottled water (without gas) and consume the millennial Andean remedy, coca leaf tea, which covers all possible symptoms of altitude sickness: headache, tiredness, nausea, poor digestion. Some people will eventually need pills for this problem, but they are a minority; These pills are a combination of natural stimulants such as guarana, muña and of course, coca leaf. 
  • Avoid alcohol completely, smoking, very heavy meals, a lot of physical exhaustion and use of any stimulant except for coca tea. The city of Cusco offers many attractions to have fun while it is in the process of adapting to the altitude.


Tips for the Rainbow Mountain Tour 1 Day

  • The trip by bus from Cusco to the Quesiuno region lasts three hours, you can take advantage of sleeping, relaxing or socializing. That your backpack is not too heavy, bring the essentials. A walking stick is always very useful and recommended, you can rent it with us. (Do not forget your camera for spectacular photos!) 
  • In any month of the year, wear thick clothes for the cold, including scarf, gloves, hat. If you are going to visit Cusco between the months of November and March, also bring a waterproof jacket or similar because it will be rainy season (although they are brief and not daily). 
  • However, solar brightness is very present, should bring sunscreen and sunglasses. 
  • Do not forget to drink still water and optionally coca tea constantly


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