Palccoyo vs Vinicunca – What are the remarkable differences?

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca. These are two of the world’s most famous mountains! This should come as no surprise given that they are also “rainbow mountains,” attracting thousands of visitors each year. So, if you skip these rainbow mountains, your Peruvian trip will be incomplete.

But there are some debates about which one to visit: the all-mighty and well-known rainbow mountain Vinicunca or the alternative rainbow mountain Palccoyo? While comparing the striking differences between the two rainbow mountains, Palccoyo and Vinicuna, we will help you choose the best option in the sections below.

Peruvian Andes Palccoyo vs Vinicunca
Peruvian Andes

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca: The complexity of the hike

The complexity of the hike is one of the most significant differences between Palccoyo and Vinicuna. If you’re looking for something challenging, head to Vinicuna Rainbow Mountain. The hiking time for Vinicuna is usually 3-4 hours, depending on your fitness level. Some visitors even claim that the hike is tiring and that they did not have time to truly appreciate the views because it is so extensive.

The hike to Palccoyo Alternative Rainbow Mountain, on the other hand, is much easier, lasting only 45 minutes to an hour. Because of this, it is a great option for those who only intend to visit Cusco briefly or if you don’t enjoy hiking very much.

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca
Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca: The popularity of the hike

You may believe that because the Palccoyo Alternative Rainbow Mountain hike is much easier, it must be the more popular of the two. Not at all! Vinicuna Rainbow Mountain attracts over 1500 visitors per day. As a result, it is always crowded, and you will not be able to enjoy the breathtaking views on your own.

Palccoyo, on the other hand, generally receives 100 visitors per day, and you may be the only visitor there at times! So, you can really enjoy the tranquility, beauty, and nature all by yourself while taking some incredible photos of the mountains and surrounding areas.

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain
Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo vs Vinicunca: The altitude of the two rainbow mountains

The altitudes of the two rainbow mountains are nearly identical: Palccoyo is 4971 meters (16,309 feet) and Vinicunca is 5102 meters (16,731 ft). However, because Vinicuna Rainbow Mountain is so close to Ausangate Mountain, it is colder than Palccoyo.

So, whichever rainbow mountain you choose to visit, make sure you’re dressed comfortably and have hiking boots, raincoats, and plenty of water/food. Therefore, between April and October, during the dry season, when temperatures are generally pleasant, both the rainbow mountains—Palcoyo and Vinicuna—can be visited.

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain
Vinicunca and its surroundings

The Experience at the two rainbow mountains

There is only one rainbow mountain in Vinicunca, and on a clear day, you can see the Ausangate mountain too from here.  There are three rainbow mountains, one of which can be seen from the car park, another one about 20 minutes into the hike, and the third one from the final point of view, so Palccoyo’s experience will be a little different. The Red Valley, the Rock Forest, and incredible sights of alpacas, llamas, and local residents working the fields can also be seen from Palccoyo.

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