Appreciate the natural Rainbow-like colors of the newly discovered Rainbow Mountain Trek, hiking through some secluded communities, in which you may interact with the indigenous people who are still keeping the culture alive!
You will see snowcapped peaks, herds of llamas, glaciers and turquoise lakes, all set within an incredibly colorful mountain range. The Rainbow Mountain trek offers a selection of wildlife including soaring condors, cara cara falcons, and perhaps bobcats or pumas, if you’re lucky. The colorful sandstone mountains in the area are probably the coolest and most unique natural phenomenon you will ever see.
Where is Rainbow Mountain?
The Rainbow mt is located about 3 ½ hours from Cusco by minibus. Found in the Peruvian Andes, Rainbow Mountain – as you could probably guess – is famed for its natural, multi-coloured beauty. It has only recently been discovered by trekkers but is fast becoming one of THE places to visit in South America.
Best Itinerary for the Rainbow Mountain trek
Cusco – Cusipata – Llacto – Rainbow Mt – Llacto – Cusco
The trekking agency will collect you from your hotel foyer at the delightful hour of 4am. Be careful! Some agencies will pick you up at 3am. Check the details of the itinerary before paying for your trek. Regardless of the agency, you will have an early start for your incredible Rainbow Mountain Trek Adventure. You will have a 3-hour scenic drive through the South Valley, there are amazing views of farming Inca terraces, valleys and rocky mountains.
Once you reach the trailhead (beginning of the trail), you will have breakfast before beginning your hike along a flowing stream. Some agencies will bring a cold picnic breakfast and some will cook you a hot breakfast. You will see herds of alpacas and llamas all around you as you have breakfast. You will also have continuous views of the Ausangate Mountain as you hike through different villages and interact with the indigenous people, who are still living their traditional lifestyle.
You will reach your destination – the Rainbow Mountains (5,020m /16,466ft) after a short 1.5 hour hike up. The distance is not great, but the high altitude forces everybody to walk slowly. Don’t be deceived by how easy the trail looks. Even those who are acclimatized to Cusco have to walk slowly. After being awed by their beauty, you will have time to explore the area. You can take pictures and savor the environment. You will spend approximately 30 minutes at the top.
At this point, you hike for another 1 hour back down the way you came. The agency will have private van waiting for you when you return.
You will begin your scenic 3-hours drive back to Cusco and drop you off at your Cusco hotel, arriving around 5:00pm – 6:00pm, depending on how fast you hike and how long you wish to stay at the Rainbow Mountain site.
Check the prices, itineraries, group sizes and meals before you pick an agency. I hiked with Orange Nation which had a very good price to hike the Rainbow Mountain in a small group.
|No. People||1 Person||2 to 3 People||4 to 5 People||6 to 8 People|
|Price||170 USD (per person)||77 USD (per person)||60 USD (per person)||50 USD (per person)|
My Top Tips
- Weather can change in seconds when you’re high up – so be sure to pack sunblock, sunglasses, a rain jacket, a hat and wear some thick hiking socks – but also bring a spare pair of socks just in case!
- Try and beat the altitude with coca tea for breakfast, staying hydrated and maybe taking ibuprofen.
- Be sure to bring a small backpack with lots of water, snacks and toilet roll.
- The entrance fee to the park is 10 Soles and usually isn’t included in most Rainbow Mountain Tour packages.
- Visit the Orange Nation web page for more information to help you prepare.
To get here you need to travel (by your own or with a tour) to the starting trail in the town of Pitumarca, which is not the trailhead. From Pitumarca will walk approximately 3 hours until you arrive to the beginning of the mountain. Then you have to walk about 1.5 to 2 hours until the top, and enjoy one of the best views of the Apu Ausangate.
The walk to the Rainbow Mountain is about 1.5 to 2 hours and it can be a little tricky but is not extremely demanding. (This depends on your physical state).
The entrance is 5 soles for nationals and 10 soles for tourists.
If you’re travelling alone, we recommend starting the trip really early (3 or 4 am)
If you are not sure of making it alone we recommend you taking a tour. It’s not that expensive and most agencies include all the costs.
¿When it’s the best time to see it?
In the dry season from April to October.
¿What should I bring?
- Rain gear
- Hat, gloves, sunglasses
- Water (2 liters)
- Trekking pants and jacket
- Trekking shoes
- Snacks, IDS, cameras and cash
We also suggest visiting the Red Valley in Pitumarca, really close to the Rainbow Mountain, which is starting to get more popular.