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Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting the Rainbow Mountain?

What is the Rainbow Mountain we will visit?

In this particular tour, we will explore the most famous and popular Rainbow mountain in Cusco: Vinicunca. Although there are other Rainbow mountains in the Cusco region, Vinicunca stands out for its unique colors and popularity among visitors.

Can we do the half day tour, but with the other Mountains?

Yes, it is entirely possible to do a half-day tour that includes the other mountains besides Vinicunca. Among these options are Palccoyo and the Mountain of Love. If you are interested in these unique excursions, do not hesitate to contact us via email for more details and to book your tour.

What other attractions or tourist activities can be combined with a visit to Vinicunca to make a more complete trip?

Although the half-day tour has its limitations, this does not mean you are limited to exploring only one attraction. In addition to Vinicunca, you have the opportunity to discover other fascinating destinations such as Palccoyo, the Mountain of Love, or the Ananiso Canyon. This variety of options allows you to make the most of your time in the region and enjoy a complete experience full of natural and cultural wonders in one day.

Why is it called Vinicunca?

To understand the meaning of its name, let’s break down its parts:

‘Vini’ comes from the Quechua term ‘Wini’, which translates as ‘Andean weaving’. What does this have to do with the mountain or its colors? Well, the explanation lies in the fact that the formation and tones of the mountain bear a surprising resemblance to the Andean textiles woven by textile artisans. Long before the mountain appeared, these textiles already existed.

‘Cunca’ also comes from the Quechua term ‘kunka’, which translates as ‘neck’. This is due to the resemblance of the surroundings of the mountain to the shape of a neck.

In summary, the Rainbow mountain, ‘Vinicunca’ or ‘Winikunka’, means ‘weave in the shape of a neck’. However, it gained the name ‘Rainbow mountain’ thanks to its resemblance to the rainbow and the diversity of minerals that compose it.

Who discovered the Rainbow Mountain?

In the case of this particular mountain, its existence was not discovered by explorers, but was known only by the local inhabitants of the area. It was in mid-2015 when it came to light and has since continued to amaze the world with its beauty and mystery.

What elements or minerals does the Rainbow Mountain have?

The Rainbow mountain exhibits a rich palette of shades that come from various minerals. These minerals have formed over millions of years due to erosion caused by wind, rain, glaciers, and oxidation from exposure to the sun. Among the most prominent minerals we find:

Red: Caused by oxidized iron.
Green: Resulting from copper.
Yellow: Coming from sulfur.
Black: Caused by zinc.

Where is the Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca located?

Vinicunca, the popular Rainbow mountain, is located south of Cusco, about 100 km away, between the communities of Pampachiri and Chilliwani.

At what altitude is it located?

Vinicunca is located at 5200 meters above sea level, around 17,060 feet.

Best time to visit the Mountain?

To make the most of your visit to Rainbow Mountain, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from May to August. During these months, the weather is more stable and there is less chance of rain or storms, but since the weather cannot be controlled or intervened by humans, there is a minimal chance of rain in those months or in any season of the year.

How long will it take me to reach the top of the Mountain?

First, let’s talk about the 3 options you can choose to reach the top:


The time it will take you to reach the mountain on foot will be approximately 2 hours. You start your excursion from the bus stop at an altitude of 4650 meters above sea level and ascend to an altitude of 5200 meters above sea level.

Difficulty: Medium
Physical level: Challenging
Type of route: Natural


The time is significantly reduced if you opt for a quad bike, as the time it will take you to reach the top of the mountain is about 25 minutes. You start driving the ATVs at the same altitude of 4650 meters above sea level and ascend to the summit 5200 meters above sea level. It’s worth noting that you’ll also take a hike, but a short 5-minute walk and you’ll be at the mountain.

Difficulty: Easy
Physical level: Normal

Horseback riding:

If you opt for the horse instead of the other options, the travel time is also reduced. You start your journey from the same altitude as the others and ascend to the mountain on horseback, reaching the summit in just 45 minutes.

Difficulty: Easy
Physical level: Normal

How to get to the Rainbow Mountain mountain?

To get to Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca, it will take you approximately 4 hours one way and another 4 hours to return. Vinicunca colored mountain has two main accesses, known as the Pitumarca and Cusipata routes.

The Cusipata route:

Among travelers, this route was very popular because it was easier to reach the mountain and the journey to the base (bus station) took about 3 hours and 30 minutes by bus. From there, you walked about 2 more hours to reach the summit.

The Pitumarca route:

Previously, this route was the most used until recently and it still is because when the mountain was revealed to the world, this route took the credits, although it is a bit longer than Cusipata. It will take you approximately 4 hours to reach the base by bus.

The current route where tourists are going is through Pitumarca since the route through Cusipata is closed indefinitely until further notice.

What animals are there along the way?

During this half-day excursion, you may encounter some of the most famous animals in the region, the South American camelids! We will be surrounded by alpacas and llamas as we travel. And if we’re very lucky, we may even spot the majestic vicuña in its natural habitat.

Availability of the tour?

We offer both group and private service.

Group service:

We are known for taking small groups unlike other agencies, we, to provide you with a more comforting and comfortable experience, take a maximum of 7 people per group.

Private service:

If you want a more personal and much more personalized experience to your liking, you have this option, the tour leaves immediately you put the time the date and we take care of it.

Detailed itinerary of the half day tour to vinicunca

  • You will depart from Cusco at 02:30 AM aboard a comfortable tourist bus, embarking on a scenic ride that lasts approximately 3 hour and half to reach our starting point at 4650 meters above sea level.
  • During the bus journey, you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenic views, including lush green valleys, majestic mountains, serene lakes, meandering rivers, and charming colonial towns. As we draw closer to Rainbow Mountain, the landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation. Now, we’ll behold mountains adorned with agricultural terraces used for growing potatoes, while llamas and alpacas graze peacefully on the terraced slopes. Traditional Andean houses dot the landscape, adding to the picturesque scenery.
  • Upon reaching the trailhead, we’ll pause to prepare ourselves and inhale the crisp Andean air. As we’re already at a high altitude, we’ll provide you with coca tea before commencing the hike. Coca tea not only boosts energy but also helps counteract altitude sickness, ensuring you’re ready for the adventure ahead.
  • But before reaching our starting point, we will make a delightful stop for breakfast. Fueling up with a nutritious meal will provide us with the energy needed to kickstart our adventure on the right foot.
  • Following our breakfast stop, we’ll resume our journey by bus, heading towards the starting point where our trekking expedition begins. Over the course of approximately two hours, we’ll trek towards the lookout point of Rainbow Mountain at 5100 meters above sea level. From this vantage point, we’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of Rainbow Mountain itself, as well as the majestic Ausangate snow-capped peak towering at 6375 meters above sea level, adorned in its natural splendor, surrounded by breathtaking mountain vistas.
  • You’ll have ample time to soak in the extraordinary beauty of this remarkable location before we commence our descent, lasting about an hour, back to the departure point. Here, our private bus will be waiting to whisk us away to a delightful lunch spot. After enjoying a satisfying meal, we’ll make our way back to Cusco, arriving at approximately 12:30 PM.

Services Included in Your Mountain Trip Package

Professional and Experienced Guide

Expert Guidance: Led by a seasoned guide with extensive knowledge of the local terrain, flora, and fauna.
Safety Assurance: Trained in first aid and emergency response to ensure your safety throughout the trip.
Informative Experience: Provides historical, cultural, and ecological insights to enrich your adventure.

Private Tourist Bus

Comfortable Transport: Modern, well-maintained bus with ample seating and legroom.
Convenience: Direct transportation to and from the mountain trailhead, avoiding the hassle of public transport.
Scenic Routes: Enjoy picturesque views along the journey, with stops at key vantage points for photo opportunities.

Pick-Up and Drop-Off at Your Hotel

Seamless Service: Convenient pick-up and drop-off right at your hotel doorstep.
Personalized Scheduling: Arranged according to your itinerary to ensure punctuality and comfort.


Nutritious Meal: A hearty breakfast to fuel your day, typically including a selection of fresh fruits, eggs, bread, cereals, and beverages.
Local Delicacies: Opportunity to taste regional specialties, adding a cultural flavor to your meal.
Dietary Accommodations: Options available to meet various dietary preferences and restrictions.

Not Included in Your Mountain Trip Package

Entrance Fee to Rainbow Mountain

Cost: 25 soles per person.
Payment: Payable on-site or included as an additional charge to be settled separately.

Horse Rentals from Locals

Cost: 90 soles per person.
Availability: Horses can be rented from local people along the trail for those who prefer or need assistance with the ascent.


Not Provided since we are back in Cusco at around 12:30pm.

Tips for Our Crew

Gratuities: Tips for guides, drivers, and other crew members are not included.
Suggested Amounts: While tipping is at your discretion, a common guideline is to tip 10-15% of the trip cost or a flat rate based on your satisfaction with the service.

USD 149.00 per person for a Group of 2 people (prices reduce if there are more people in your group).
USD 129.00 per person for a Group of 3 people.
USD 109.00 per person for a Group of 4 people.
USD 99.00 per person for a Group of 5 people.
USD 89.00 per person for a Group of 6 people.
USD 69.00 per person for a Group of 8 people.

Essential Items for a Mountain Trip

Warm Clothes

Jacket: Insulated or down jacket for warmth.
Fleece: Lightweight but effective for layering.
Woolly Hat: To keep your head and ears warm.
Gloves: Insulated gloves to protect your hands from the cold and wind.

Sun Protection

Sun Hat: Wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun.
Sun Cream: High SPF (30 or above) to protect your skin from UV rays.
Sun Glasses: UV-protective sunglasses to protect your eyes from intense sunlight and glare.

Rain Gear

Waterproof Jacket and Pants: To stay dry during unexpected rain showers.

Hydration and Nutrition

Water: At least 1.5 liters per person to stay hydrated.
Snacks: High-energy snacks such as chocolates, quinoa bars, nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars for sustained energy.

Additional Essentials

Extra Money in Cash: Useful for unexpected expenses or emergencies.


  • If you decide to cancel your tour less than 5 days before it begins, unfortunately, we won’t be able to offer any refunds.
  • If you cancel between 5 to 7 days before your tour starts, we’ll refund 50% of your payment.
  • Now, if you cancel more than 7 days in advance, we’re happy to refund 90%, but we do need to keep a 10% fee to cover some administrative costs.
  • Changing the date of your tour is possible, but it does come with a fee of $20 per traveler, and it’s subject to availability.
    Now, when it comes to unforeseen circumstances like delayed flights, train schedule changes, bad weather, or sudden strikes that impact the tour, unfortunately, we can’t issue refunds in those cases. We’re really sorry for any inconvenience they may cause.

Can I do the rainbow mountain in half day?

Absolutely! Opting for a half-day visit to Rainbow Mountain allows you to experience its breathtaking beauty while still leaving ample time to explore other attractions in Cusco during the afternoon. From visiting historic sites like Sacsayhuamán or exploring the vibrant local markets, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make the most of your time in this culturally rich city. Additionally, you can indulge in delicious Peruvian cuisine or unwind with a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Cusco. With the flexibility of your schedule, the possibilities for adventure and discovery are endless!
Furthermore, if you opt for a half-day excursion to Rainbow Mountain, you’ll have the flexibility to catch a flight later in the afternoon from Cusco. This allows you to maximize your time exploring the wonders of the Andes without feeling rushed. Whether you’re heading to your next destination or simply extending your stay in Peru, having the option to schedule a later flight provides added convenience and freedom. You can use this extra time to soak in the captivating views, savor a delicious meal in Cusco, or even squeeze in some last-minute souvenir shopping. With the ability to tailor your itinerary to suit your preferences, your journey through Peru becomes even more memorable and enjoyable.

What is the process for booking the Rainbow Mountain 1-day trek with Rainbow Mountain Expeditions?

Booking your Rainbow Mountain 1-day trek with Rainbow Mountain Expeditions is simple! You can start by visiting our website or giving us a call to check availability for your desired date. Once you’ve confirmed availability, you’ll typically need to make a reservation by providing some personal information and possibly a deposit. From there, they’ll guide you through the remaining steps, which might include completing a booking form, signing any necessary waivers, and arranging payment for the trek. If you have any specific preferences or questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask their friendly staff for assistance.
When is the deadline for paying the outstanding balance for the Rainbow Mountain 1-day trek with Rainbow Mountain Expeditions?
You’ll usually need to settle the outstanding balance for your Rainbow Mountain 1-day trek with Rainbow Mountain Expeditions before the trek departure date. We provide this information during the booking process, so be sure to ask about the deadline when you’re finalizing your reservation. 

What makes your tours more expensive than those offered by other travel agencies?

We understand that you might notice a price difference between our tours and those offered by other travel agencies. Our pricing reflects the quality and value we strive to provide throughout your experience. We focus on ensuring that you receive top-notch service, knowledgeable guides, comfortable transportation, and memorable experiences. While you might find cheaper options elsewhere, we believe that the extra investment in our tours pays off in terms of the overall quality and satisfaction you’ll experience during your journey with us. If you have any specific concerns or questions about our pricing, feel free to reach out, and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you further.

Do I have to carry my original passport when going on the Rainbow Mountain Peru tour?

Yes, it’s essential to bring your original passport with you on the Rainbow Mountain Peru tour. This is typically required for entry to the site and may be necessary for registration purposes with local authorities. It’s a good idea to double-check that you have it to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Would it be feasible to stay in the Sacred Valley while planning a trip to Rainbow Mountain?

Absolutely, you can choose to stay in the Sacred Valley for your Rainbow Mountain trip. Many travelers opt for this option as it allows for a more relaxed and scenic journey to the mountain. Plus, staying in the Sacred Valley gives you the opportunity to explore its stunning landscapes, charming towns, and fascinating Inca ruins before embarking on your adventure to Rainbow Mountain. Just make sure to plan your accommodations accordingly and factor in the travel time to the trailhead when scheduling your visit to Rainbow Mountain.

Can I rent a horse for the Rainbow Mountain trek?

Yes, you can rent a horse for the Rainbow Mountain trek. Local people at the trailhead offer horse rental services for those who prefer not to hike the entire way. You can inquire about renting a horse when you arrive, and they’ll typically arrange it for you. Keep in mind that availability may vary depending on demand, so it’s a good idea to confirm this option in advance if you think you might need it.

What’s the recommended season for trekking Rainbow Mountain?

The best time to hike Rainbow Mountain is typically during the dry season, which runs from April to October. This period offers more stable weather conditions and clearer skies, making for better visibility and a more enjoyable hiking experience. However, if you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder months of April, May, September, or October. Just be prepared for cooler temperatures, especially in the mornings and evenings. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences and tolerance for weather conditions, but aiming for the dry season generally ensures a more favorable trekking experience.

Is the weather cold at Rainbow Mountain?

Yes, the weather at Rainbow Mountain can be quite cold, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. Due to its high altitude, temperatures can drop significantly, even during the warmer months. It’s essential to dress in layers and bring warm clothing to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your visit. Additionally, be prepared for unpredictable weather changes, including strong winds and occasional precipitation, regardless of the season.

If someone suffers from altitude sickness, what are the recommended actions?

If you experience altitude sickness, it’s important to address it promptly. The first step is to rest and allow your body time to acclimate to the altitude. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid alcohol and strenuous activity. If symptoms persist or worsen, it’s advisable to descend to a lower altitude where you can seek medical assistance if needed. Our tour leaders are trained to recognize and assist with altitude sickness, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them for help if necessary.

Do you carry oxygen for altitude-related issues?

Yes, we do carry oxygen for altitude-related issues. Our guides are trained to recognize the symptoms of altitude sickness and will provide oxygen if needed to alleviate discomfort and help you acclimate to the high altitude. If you start experiencing symptoms such as headache, nausea, or dizziness, don’t hesitate to inform your guide so they can assist you accordingly. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities, and we’re here to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your time at high altitudes.
In addition to carrying oxygen for altitude-related issues, we also bring oximeters to monitor your blood oxygen levels. This allows us to provide personalized assistance based on your oxygen saturation levels, ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the trek. If you’re feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness, our guides can use the oximeter to assess your condition and take appropriate action. Your well-being is our utmost priority, and we’re equipped to provide comprehensive support to make your journey as enjoyable and worry-free as possible.

Could we arrange for a drop-off at the airport on our way back to Cusco?

Absolutely, we can arrange for a drop-off at the airport on your way back to Cusco. Just let us know your flight details, and we’ll make sure to coordinate the timing to ensure you arrive at the airport in plenty of time for your departure. Your comfort and convenience are important to us, and we’re here to help make your journey as smooth as possible.
Are there any attractions or Inca sites we can visit on our way back from Rainbow Mountain?
Certainly! We’re flexible with our itinerary, so if there’s a specific attraction or Inca site you’d like to visit on the way back from Rainbow Mountain, just let us know. We can discuss the options and make arrangements to include it in our journey back to ensure you get the most out of your experience. Whether it’s exploring a nearby archaeological site or stopping by a scenic spot along the route, we’re here to accommodate your preferences and make your trip memorable.