There are some places in the world, that as long as you don’t see them with your own eyes, you can’t believe they’re real. The Rainbow Mountains in Peru, are for sure one of them. Are they photoshopped? – I couldn’t stop asking myself while I was watching the pictures of this incredible 7 Colors Mountains, so there was no other solution- I had to check it by my own and… I have to tell you that I wasn’t disappointed at all. They are truly magical!
As most of the information about getting to Vinicunca – The Rainbow Mountain, that you can find in internet, are written by travel agencies which invite you (with pleasure of course) for a 1 to even 8 days trekking (all of them are a bit pricey in my opinion) and it’s not easy to get an information how to get there by your own, I decided to share my tips for 1 day self-guided trip. I don’t doubt that a few days adventure in the area of Asungate Mountain (the highest one here!) is a great experience, but what if you don’t have so much time? And what if you don’t want to pay 150$ for a one day trip? Then you’re in a right place!
How to get to the start point of Rainbow Mountain trek?
The start point of Rainbow Mountain trek is located 3 hours drive from Cusco, so you will need your own car for that, rent a taxi (to save money try to find other travelers to split the cost) or you can try your luck in hitch-hiking (just remember, that in Peru mostly drivers expect that you will give them some money). To get to the start point you have to drive from Cusco South East by the road PE-3S, till the small village Checacupe (it’s about 100 km) where you should turn left and continue straight. The last bigger village you will pass is Pitumarca, then you will drive by the small road for around one hour (the last small village I’ve noticed on this way is Hancipacha). Just before the final destination (around 3 hours from Cusco) you will have the feeling that you should turn right- don’t do it! Even the road on the right seems to be main, you have to continue straight till you get to the big valley with the parking for the Rainbow Mountain trekkers. The road ends a few hundred meters from here and at this end we’ve found a perfect place to camp (don’t forget warm clothes and good sleeping bag if decide to camp here cause nights are very cold). As I don’t wanna you get lost, I’m giving you GPS coordinates: 13°52′13.67″S 71°14′32.3″W and I’m highly recommending using Maps.me app for this trip.
How the trek to Rainbow Mountain looks like?
It looks stunning! And now seriously: this trekking starts at around 4300 m and ends at 5020 m so if you didn’t acclimatizate for a high altitude it can be hard or even dangerous for your health. Please don’t head here straight from the sea side. After a few days in the mountains region trekking to Rainbow Mountain should be easy for you, as it’s not long: from 2 to 3 hours (2 if you’re in good shape and did some high mountains already), not steep and path is very easy to find. On your way you will see traditional shepherd’s houses, a lot of lamas and alpacas with their funny (a bit lost?) faces and all your effort will be rewarded by the magnificent view on the Asungate Glacier (6385 m) and colorful mountains around. There is also a solution for an extremely lazy ones: you can rent a horse which will take you to the top (you don’t need to know horse riding for that, horse is coming in a set with a horse-guide).
What should I take for a 1 day trek to Rainbow Mountain?
Good trekking shoes, solar cream, sunglasses and lots of water are must. Dress comfortable, take some warm polar, winter cap (even if in Cusco is very warm), windproof jacket (as at 5000 m wind can be cold and strong), hiking poles and some snacks.
How much does this trip cost?
Going to Rainbow Mountain by your own, you have to count costs of transport, food, water and 10 soles per person for an entrance to the National Park (don’t be surprised that you will be asked to buy a ticket not at the begin, but in the middle of the trek, anyway, tickets are beautiful!).
When is the best time to visit Rainbow Mountain?
The best time for activities in Cusco region is from March to November, especially June-August when you can be sure about the blue sky. Just remember it’s winter in Peru then, so don’t expect tropical temperatures.
That’s all folks, enjoy and if you’re wondering what’re the paragliders doing at my pictures, check a Facebook Page of Mountain Wings.