Rainbow Mountain Tours
The Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) has three different access points for viewing
Which trail is more crowded today? The tour operators of Cusco constantly vary their programs and sometimes one trail is more congested than another trail. The description of our programs (generally speaking) is similar in name, distance and times. this allow our operator to explain the customers before the departure day which trail is more convenient for us (the best alternative for a better experience). They constantly evaluate which of the trails is in better condition and which they will use. The timing they do (schedules) is to try to be different from that of the other operators. Then their clients can walk among less people. We charge same rate for a full tour for any of three routes.
Itinerary Via Checacupe- Pitumarca
Day 1: At 4:30 am we will collect you from your hotel in Cusco for the drive south. We will turn off the main highway at the picturesque small town of Checacupe, with its famous bridges, before continuing to Pitumarca (105 kilometers / 65 miles), through dramatic towering rock formations, passing deep canyons. At the end of the road, we will stop for a nutritious hot breakfast.
As the sun comes up, it will be time to start the 8.25 km / 5.1 miles uphill walk to Rainbow Mountain. This is a gradual ascent through pastureland, passing small settlements and herds of alpacas, accompanied by your guide, who will greet local people in their native Quechua language. Our spectacular route offers fine views of snowcapped Mount Ausangate and other peaks of the Andes.
With its beautiful rainbow colors spread across the horizon, Vinicunca is a spectacular sight. At 5100 meters / 16,732 feet above sea level, you will have a 360-degree view of snowcapped Mount Ausangate to one side, and multi-colored Vinicunca on the other – pure magic!
The descent will be easier and as the oxygen returns to your lungs there will be time to breathe deeply and reflect on the amazing experiences during the day. A wholesome, hot lunch will await you at the base of the mountain, after which we will board our vehicle for the return drive to Cusco, arriving in the city at around 7pm.
see the map
Green lines = paved road (road Cusco-Puno)
Brown lines = dirt road
Yellow lines = hiking trails to access Vinicunca
On Palccoyo mountain the hiking trail is green
Driving travel time:
Cusco–Pitumarca: 105 km / 65 miles; 2 hours. Pitumarca– to the end of the road 22 km / 13.6 miles; 1 hour.
Cusco 3400 m / 11159 feet;
Pitumarca: 3574 m / 11725 feet;
Machupitumarca 3757 m / 12326 feet;
End of the road 4170 m / 13681 feet.
Vinicunca 5100 meters / 16,732 feet
Hiking distance/ Trek length:
End of the road - Rainbow Mountain 8.25 km / 5.1 miles (uphill); 3.5 hours, plus, return via the same trail.
• Private transport (minivan)
• First aid kit and emergency oxygen bottle
• English-speaking guide
• All meals as described in the itinerary
• Drinking water to fill your water bottle (from natural sources, filtered and boiled)
• Snacks in the morning and afternoon (fruit, biscuits, chocolate and energy bars)
• Hot drinks such as tea and coffee
• Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
• Personal items, including personal medical supplies
Horses are available for hire for those who may need them.
The route is not demanding, but the high altitude can affect some travelers as they ascend to more than 5000 meters / 16,404 feet above sea level
2021 Price per person in US$ for private tour: $247 with 2 people, $174 with 3 people, $161 with 4 people, $139 with 5 people