Why you should visit Vinicunca, the majestic rainbow mountain?

Deep in the Andes, a short drive southwest of Cuzco, lies an impressive mountain, often called Rainbow Mountain. Although its official name is Vinicunca, its colorful terracotta, lavender, turquoise and rust hues make «Rainbow Mountain» a more appropriate moniker. This natural wonder is a must-see on any personalized travel plan to Cuzco.

Located in the Vilcanota mountain range, southeast of the city of Cusco, Vinicunca offers a wonderful spectacle, even from the road leading to it. It is a journey of about five hours by car and on foot, although physically demanding, culminates with an image worthy of a postcard engraved forever in the memory of the traveler.

Vinicunca, the rainbow mountain

Vinicunca: Nature’s Masterpiece or Human Creation?

Rainbow Mountain firsthand

The vibrant hues of Rainbow Mountain are not the result of human ingenuity, but the result of millennia of geological processes orchestrated by Mother Nature herself. The subduction of tectonic plates, coupled with incessant weathering and mineral composition, has created this breathtaking spectacle in the Andes. Thus, although the hand of man has not directly painted this landscape, the work of natural forces is equally, if not more, remarkable.

Mother Nature, or Pachamama as she’s known locally, took charge of crafting the unique color palette of Rainbow Mountain over thousands of years. Through relentless weathering by rains, snow, winds, and extreme temperatures, the mountain’s mineral layers underwent gradual transformation. Iron oxide layers adopted a stunning red hue, while goethite or oxidized limonite layers turned brown. Chlorite layers transitioned into green, and iron sulfide layers contributed a vibrant yellow stripe. The resulting blend of colors is truly remarkable, making Rainbow Mountain a must-see destination despite the challenging conditions.

Must-Visit Destination: Rainbow Mountain Adventure

Rainbow Mountain Peru

Embarking on a trek to Rainbow Mountain is an essential part of your Peru adventure. As you ascend to its impressive altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level, just 180 meters from Everest’s southern base camp, ensure adequate hydration and acclimatization. Spend a few days exploring Cuzco and the Sacred Valley before embarking on this unforgettable journey. Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions, from rain to snow and everything in between.

Rainbow Mountain’s popularity emerged only five years ago, captivating hikers and mountaineers en route to Mount Ausangate. Its majestic colors and unique landscape became a social media sensation, appearing on platforms such as Instagram and being recognized by publications such as Business Insider as one of the world’s must-see destinations.

Know Before You Go: Recommendations for Your Journey

To get to Vinicunca it is necessary to take a transport from the city of Cusco to the town of Checacupe. From there, continue the trip to the town of Pitumarca, to finally reach Pampachari. This whole journey will take between two and three hours. In Pampachari you can buy the entrance ticket to the Vinicunca area, see prices below in the table.

Price in soles (S /.)Price in dollars ($)
National tourist S /. 154 USD
Foreign touristS /. 257 USD
* Tickets are purchased in the same Mountain of 7 Colors.

Pampachari is the starting point for a three-hour hike. It is essential to do cardiovascular exercises in the days prior to the trip to withstand the physical demands of the hike.

Remember that the Vinicunca mountain is located at an altitude of more than 5000 meters above sea level, so it is advisable to acclimatize the body. Also, do not forget to bring non-perishable food and a bag to store your waste. Follow these tips or more with Atika and you will live an unforgettable experience.


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