Our trek to Vinicunca: a step-by-step guide to trekking the Rainbow Mountain
2 October 2019
Of Cusco’s many surprises for adventurous travelers, Mt. Vinicunca , also known as Rainbow Mountain and the Seven-colored Mountain , is among its most outstanding natural attractions.
Located near sacred Mt. Ausangate southeast of Cusco city, Vinicunca is an essential destination for those looking to be amazed and delighted by Peru’s awesome landscapes.
The Rainbow Mountain
Vinicunca is renowned for its astonishing colors. The mountain’s ancient soil strata, wide bands of sedimentary mineral deposits, exhibit hues ranging from ochre red, to green, to mustard yellow and white. The bands of color were formed by tectonic plate movements around 24 million years ago (yes, millions of years!).
Few places in the world are remotely similar- it is a geological formation that astonishes, in a dazzling colorful landscape to be admired and photographed.
Tours to Vinicunca
Hikers have different options for Vinicunca tours . Yes, one-day hikes are available from a number of local tour agencies. But that kind of trip really can be rushed and tiring.
It takes a few hours to get there by bus. The hike can be long, and by going in a large group just to stay for an hour or so before returning to Cusco, well, you might feel like you’re on mass tourism express.
The Andean Lodges way
Instead, a much better choice is to go to Vinicunca by trekking with Andean Lodges, Cusco’s most experienced professional adventure outfitter. For over 10 years, we have specialized in treks on the Route to Ausangate. Most of our trekking programs include stops to delight in the vistas of Vinicunca.
If you’re short of time while in Cusco, our two day/ one night Vinicunca, The Rainbow Mountain program is a very good option. This private departure takes you in our private vehicle to the Japura Canyon and the town of Osefina, hometown of our partner llama herders.
How do we make it?
As we begin the gradual hike, you’ll see herds of llamas and alpacas grazing in the mountain meadows. Our llama caravan carries most of our gear. Lovely views captivate all along the way, especially as we reach Anta Pass (16,000 ft. / 4,900 m.). Soon, we reach Huampococha Lodge, the first of our four cozy, delightful ecolodges.
At quiet Huampococha Lodge you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner by candlelight prepared by our chefs, experts in Andean fusion cuisine. Relax with hot drinks and tasty snacks by the fireplace before enjoying a hot shower and a good night’s sleep.
The next day, following a hearty breakfast, the hike begins by going through red sandstone formations, until we reach the Rainbow Mountain. One advantage is that we get there fairly early in the morning, long before the crowds of day hikers. No rush! You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the views and take perfect photos. On the hike back to our vehicle we’ll have a nice picnic lunch, before returning to Cusco.
As mentioned, this is our shortest trek- we have six other more complete trekking programs that include visits to Vinicunca, and much more. Our treks include full-service overnights at our other first-class ecolodges, all located in completely natural settings, and each hosted by our friendly local staff. Each of our treks features limitless spectacular views- tall snowcapped peaks, unique rock formations, glacial lakes, waterfalls, and of course, so many charming llamas and alpacas!
Start your next adventure!
You’ll enjoy stops at Rainbow Mountain on our 3 day/ 2 night Pururaucas, Guardians of Ausangate program, on our 4 day/ 3 night Three Tambos trek, as well as on our three longer programs. Our best and most complete trek is the Trail of the Apus trek, 7 days and 6 nights of absolute Andean wonderland, with overnight stays at all four of our mountain ecolodges, among the highest and best in the world.
You really need to see Vinicunca up close to experience its special beauty. Please check out our website at andeanlodges.com to choose your own Journey of Discovery to Peru’s magnificent Rainbow Mountain.