TRAVEL STYLE: Full day Tour
MINIMUM GROUP: 02 persons
DEPARTURES: Subject to availability
See the amazing VINICUNCA RAINBOW MOUNTAIN in a one day hike!
The RAINBOW MOUNTAIN is a spectacular natural wonder boasting colorful striated mountains. Surrounded by glacial mountains, this one-day hike is 10km/6.2 miles roundtrip and goes from 4326m/14,189ft to 5050m/16,568ft.
This day hike is moderate to strenuous and can be very crowded. We leave early in the morning (3am) to beat the crowds and arrive at the top first. We also hike to the Red Valley Pass (weather/time permitting) to see the deep red hues of the mountains on the other side of Vinicunca – a stunning example of mother nature at her finest!
A less strenuous day hike to another section of the Rainbow Mountains (Palcoyo) is the Three Rainbow Mountains Palcoyo Day Tour, suitable for all fitness levels. Another exceptionally beautiful day hike is the Lake Humantay One Day Hike.
The Rainbow Mountains are composed of stratified layers of sandstone. These fine-grained rock layers contain large amounts of iron and other minerals, which give the mountains the pigments for the various colored stripes. This is a moderate to challenging day hike, with a steep climb to the high pass and is subject to unpredictable weather. This trail is very popular and crowded and has suffered from a lot of erosion. It is not safe to hike in heavy rain. We recommend a 2, 4 or longer multi-day trek to truly appreciate this region. It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. Minimum passengers necessary for tour departure: 2 people (small group, 1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
DAY 01: CUSCO – ALQATARI – RAINBOW MOUNTAIN – RED VALLEY PASS – ALQATARI – CUSCO
We will pick you up very early from your Cusco hotel (3:00am) and set out on a drive through the South Valley. The drive to the trailhead at Alqatari (4326m/14,189ft) is about 3.5-4 hours. Once we reach the trailhead we will have our box breakfast with hot drinks. After breakfast, we start on our day hike, following a lovely stream until we get to the checkpoint that is the trail entrance. You will pass by beautiful herds of alpacas and llamas and along the way we will have distant views of the Ausangate Mountain. We will hike through villages and see the local residents. If we are very lucky we may see some chinchillas and vicuñas. Vicuñas are the only non-domesticated animal of the llama family in Peru and are very skittish. After a total uphill hike of approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, we reach the incredible Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain (5050m/16,568ft). After taking pictures you have approximately 45 minutes to explore (depending on walking speed) the area and enjoy the stunning views. If we have time and weather permits, once we are done enjoying the scenery, having snacks, resting and taking pictures, we hike along the right side of the Rainbow Mountain to the Red Valley pass where you will see the beautiful, deep red hues located in this area. We take pictures here and then hike back down the way we came, taking approximately 1.5 hours to the trailhead where we started. Here we will have a box lunch and then we will take our private transport back to your hotel in Cusco (about a 3.5-4 hour drive).
Approximate departure time: 3:00 AM – we leave this early in order to be the first people at the top and avoid the crowds
Approximate arrival time in Cusco is around 5 PM
Walking distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles
Approximate walking time: 2 ½ hours up; 1 ½ hours down (total ~4 hours)
Meals: box breakfast, snacks, box lunch
Dietary needs: we can cater to any dietary restriction
Level of difficulty: moderate to strenuous, high altitude
* Please note the driving and walking times, time at each site, and departure/arrival time are approximate and depend upon many factors such as road conditions, weather, van size, group pace, etc.
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your Cusco hotel in the morning
- Private transport to the starting point of the trek
- English speaking professional guide
- Box breakfast, snacks, and box lunch at the end of the hike
- Dietary needs: able to cater to any dietary preference/need
- First-aid kit including an emergency oxygen tank
- Toilet tent with toilet and toilet paper
- Entrance to the Ausangate/Rainbow trail
- Private transport back to your hotel in Cusco
- Water for the first part of the hike – please fill your bottles/bladder before you depart
- Walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Horse to ride – you can add a horse to ride if you prefer (if it is rainy or slick this may not be possible or there may be areas where you will have to dismount and walk)
- Items of a personal nature and souvenirs
- Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
- Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
- walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots with good, grippy tread
- Hiking pants (or shorts) and shirts (layers)
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping (USD or Peruvian Soles are fine),
- Insect repellent if you plan to visit Machu Picchu
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want/need
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and solar panel/power bank
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power plug adapter
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or compostable wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
A minimum of 2 hikers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group.
- Price for 6-10 trekkers: 150 USD per person
- Price for 3-5 trekkers: 200 USD per person
- Price for 2 trekkers: 275 USD per person
Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
What to carry – Daypacks
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, hand sanitizer, face mask, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) .
- For more information you can write to us by email [email protected].