When you hear ‘Peru’, the first thing that comes to mind are famous places such as Machu Picchu, Lima, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Ica and many more. Have you heard of Rainbow Mountain? Only a few people have, and an even smaller number of people have visited the place. However, Rainbow Mountain is fast gaining popularity as a preferred travel destination for anyone with wanderlust.
Rainbow Mountain also known as the Vinicunca Mountain is located in the beautiful Ausangate mountain range, just south from Cusco, in the Quispicanchis province. Rainbow Mountain is inhabited by herding communities who trade with agricultural communities that live at lower altitudes. It is considered a sacred mountain by the locals. The worship of the mountain, dates back to pre – Inca times, a tradition which continues till date.
This magnificent trail is comprised of amazing geological features, which include the hanging glaciers, the divinely beautiful erosional valleys, the Rainbow Mountain Hiking Trail Peru uplift created with granite and the stunning Permian formations that come in vibrant shades of red, blue, ochre and turquoise.
In the course of the day, the colors of the Vinicunca Mountain, change, giving the traveler a dynamic viewing experience. On the trek, one can witness villages comprised of adobe houses, and herds of Llamas and Alpacas.
Things to do to prepare for the Rainbow Mountain trek
- Know that you are in for a long, adventurous haul as the altitude can reach 16,000 feet.
- Make sure you are rested before you begin the hike as it is quite challenging.
- Drink plenty of water and eat healthy food a day or two before your hike.
- Stock up on easy to carry food and water supplies.
- A first aid kit may not be necessary but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Things to pack
- Stock in adequate camping material. (In case you plan on staying longer than a day)
- Carry adequately charged batteries for your camera or camera phone.
- Wear comfortable trekking shoes.
- Dress in comfortable clothing as the climb can be a bit difficult. The temperatures can vary a lot due to the altitude, so bring both light and warm clothing.
How to get to Rainbow Mountain
First get yourself to Cusco from the capital city of Peru, Lima. This is possible either by taking the scenic bus route or direct flight (just over 1 hour). Scheduled flights begin as early as 5am and tickets vary from $90 to $170 for a one-way ticket. For the adventurous who opt for the scenic bus route, the journey can last anywhere between 21 to 27 hours, depending on the route. Average bus ticket price would be between $50 and $60.
Once in Cusco, the Rainbow Mountain is a short three-hour car drive. You can stop for a meal, take beautiful pictures, trek and return in the same day. However, people who visit the Vinicunca Mountain, do camp out for a two-day trek because one day just isn’t enough to take in this spectacular gift of nature.
Rainbow Mountain of Peru (Vinicunca Mountain) is definitely one of the items to add to your travel bucket list.
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