Rainbow Mountain 1 Day
Vinicunca or as it is more popularly known Rainbow Mountain, is located about three and a half hours from Cusco by minibus. Found in the Peruvian Andes, Rainbow Mountain – is famed for its natural, multi-coloured beauty caused by the sediment and atmosphere of the area. It has only recently been discovered but is fast becoming one of THE places to visit in South America.
Day 1,CUSCO – TRAILHEAD - RAINBOW MOUNTAIN - CUSCO.
We will pick you up at 4:00 – 4:30am from any hotel, Airbnb or hostel in Cusco. It will be a 2½ hour drive to the trailhead – we will arrive at around 7am. Here at the trailhead our chef will make a delicious breakfast including coffee, hot chocolate, teas, bread, fruit salad, eggs, and hot drinks. Cusco’s elevation is 3300m / 11,300ft and the trailhead, which is called Phulawasipata, is at 4200m/ 14,300ft. Cusco’s weather is usually quite cold and the trailhead is even colder, so early in the morning. Be sure to bring a warm jacket, scarf, hat and gloves. After breakfast we’ll hike about 2 hours uphill to the Rainbow Mountain range. At a slower pace it could be 2¾ hours, or if you are really fit, quick and acclimatized well, some people can do in 1½ hours. The hike up includes some short breaks where the guide will explain some important information about the mountains and the geography of the area. Perhaps you’ll have chance to catch sight of some of the locals, including llamas and alpacas that frequent this area. The trail itself is quite wide and so is helpful for those with vertigo or fear of heights. The trek is best during dry season as the trails are not paved, so it can be a bit dusty, and in rainy season it can be slippery since it may be wet, but with good waterproof hiking shoes and hiking poles, it will be just fine.
Upon your arrival to the top of Rainbow Mountain, around 9-10:00am, you will have about 1 hour to explore the amazing views of the surrounding areas – valleys, mountains and to view the highest glacial mountain in Cusco – Ausangate, whose summit is at an elevation of 6,384m / 20,944ft, making it one of the tallest mountains in Peru. After giving you a bit of time to take some treasured photos, your guide will give you some interesting facts about this fascinating place – like why the colors?! – and he will also share some detail about the Inkan history. A few last photos of this amazing mountain and we will begin our descent. We do this a little differently than other groups. Instead of hiking the same route as the others, we will hike to a lookout point to see the Red Valley and hike it. This valley is the icing on the cake – many of our hikers say that it is even nicer than Rainbow Mountain! It is about 2½ hours – mostly downhill – from Rainbow Mountain to the end of the trail, which is near where we started the hike. Here you will enjoy a fresh meal, prepared by your chef, which includes cold drinks, appetizers, soup and a main course. After lunch, it will be another 2½-hour drive to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel at around 5:30 – 6:00pm.
- Private transportation to the trailhead.
- Pick up from any hotel in Cusco.
- Breakfast at the trailhead.
- Entrance fee into the park and the Red Valley.
- English-speaking guide for the entire trip.
- Drinking water.
- Freshly prepared, hot lunch.
- First-aid kit.
- Trekking poles.
- Porters & cook.
- Dining tent, chairs & tables.
- Private toilet.
What to bring
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Vinincunca, the marvelous mountain of seven colors
Vinincunca or Vinicunca is a beautiful colorful mountain that became popular in networks and is currently one of the top attractions of Cusco and Peru.
Cusco, is one of the most splendid places in the world that every person should know, the historic capital of Cusco, has much to offer and entangle you in the magic that springs from its people, its customs, streets, history and its excellent gastronomy; really, visiting this beautiful city is one of the best investments you will make if you are a lover of adventure and contact with nature.
DESCRIPTION OF VINICUNCA OR MOUNTAIN OF COLORS:
The famous mountain of seven colors, is located more than 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco, in an altitudinal summit located at 5,200 m.a.s.l. Vinicunca is one of the most impressive mountains of the snowy Ausangate in the Andes of Peru, and is located between the districts of Cusipata, province of Quispicanchi and Pitumarca, province of Canchis.
The variety of colors that sprout from the Vinicunca mountain is the product of the erosion of minerals, then we have the description of the colors that can be noticed to observe carefully to the mountain 7 colors:
Pink color: product of red clay, fangolites (mud) and arilites (sand).
Whitish color, due to the quartz sandstone and marls, rich in calcium carbonate.
Red due to the claystones (iron) and clays belonging to the Upper Tertiary.
Green is due to the compound of phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian.
The earthy brown is a product of fanglomerate composed of magnesium-bearing rock belonging to the Quaternary era
Mustard yellow color is due to calcareous sandstones rich in sulfide minerals.
HISTORY TELLS US THAT VININCUNCA:
In ancient times the Incas, used to call as “Apu” to some mountains, and awarded mystical powers, most of these majestic mountains were covered with snow, among them one of the most outstanding since always was, the mountain of seven colors or vinicunca, which is part of the snowy Ausangate in the Vilcanota mountain range.
According to history, the Incas gave Vinicunca a masculine character, because it was considered that its foundations sprouted from a masculine energy, the same that fertilized the Pachamama. The district that hosts this natural wonder is Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis. The locals consider Vinicunca a “sacred mountain”, so they perform rituals such as the payment to the earth, which can make the visit an experience of great mysticism.
HOW DO YOU GET TO VININCUNCA, MOUNTAIN OF SEVEN COLORS?
To get to the mountain of seven colors, there are two routes: Pitumarca and Cusipata.
Pitumarca is one of the routes that will take you to the mountain of seven colors, you will leave from Cusco, taking public transportation from Huayruropata (near the Coliseo Cerrado del Cusco), the cost of the ticket is economic, with direction to Checacupe, you will pass the route through Andahuayllillas, Quiquijana and finally you will arrive to Cusipata. It should be noted that this route is quite demanding, for which it is necessary to be physically prepared.
The ATVs are a good option for some people who choose to reach the Seven Colors Mountain by the Pitumaca route. The rent of the ATVs is approximately 100 dollars, the rent is optional and will depend on the company that rents them.
THE ROUTE THROUGH CUSIPATA:
This route is recent and less demanding for visitors to the Mountain of Seven Colors, as in the Pitumarca route, you will leave Cusco, heading to Cusipata until you reach Phuluwasipata, place where you will start the hike, remember that you will ascend approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco, and you will ascend the altitudinal summit located at 5,200 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The Cusipata route has an option for visitors who feel they cannot continue with the hike.
If you consider that the hike in the Cusipata Route is quite tiring, we remind you that you can rent horses, which will help you to be able to transport yourself, you decide if you rent only for the ascent, descent or both, the idea is that you have a comfortable walk. The cost of renting a horse is approximately 30 dollars.
These are the two different ways to get to Vinuncunca, the wonderful mountain of seven colors, you choose, according to your costs, however we recommend you to have the service of an agency, because this will guarantee you a new adventure, at more comfortable prices, and you will not have to worry, just enjoy your hike.