How to get to the Rainbow Mountain

If you don’t know how to get to Rainbow Mountain or  Vinicunca Peru, we’ll tell you how we did it with information on everything you need to bring, the price of the tour, and how to climb it.

We recommend you visit it after spending several days in Cuzco to be acclimatized to the altitude and not have problems with altitude sickness. Think that Rainbow Mountain is the highest point where you will be on your route through Peru (and, in many cases, in your life), so the more time has passed, the better.

Where is the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?

Like Rainbow Mountain, you may find several, including the Cordillera de los Siete Colores, but we are referring to Vinicunca or Winicunca.

How far is Rainbow Mountain or Arcoíris from Cusco, and how long does it take to get there?

It is only 140 kilometers from Cuzco to Rainbow Mountain. Still, in terms of time, which is what matters, it takes about 2 hours to Quesino (at 4,200 ms), the first stop for breakfast, and another hour until the beginning of the walk to reach Rainbow Mountain (at 4,400 ms).

So with 3 hours there and another 3 hours back, plus the 4-hour trek to Rainbow Mountain, it’s a full-day trip. But highly recommended, don’t let these data back you down.

What to take to Rainbow Mountain?

All the outerwear you have; It’s cold up there, and you reach an altitude of 5,200 meters.

  • Coca leaves. If you don’t have any, take some of the ones they give for coca tea at breakfast, or buy them on the street. We explain in detail how to avoid altitude sickness in Peru.
  • The car leaves you at 4,400 meters, and you must climb on foot or by bicycle up to 5,200 meters, where you can see the mountain. This is the highest point of all the treks. Hiking time is 2.30 to 3 hours, depending on your pace, and you should have enough.
  • We advise taking soroche pills if we get a headache, but we chose coca leaves. We saw the tour guide put them on the bus half an hour before we arrived, and we did the same. We took a good handful, much more than the three leaves we had read about as a recommendation, and chewed them for an hour.
  • Sunscreen. It is recommended to apply it half an hour before. If you’re on a bus, it’s a perfect time.
  • Sunglasses. A must.
  • Mackintosh or one of those plastic ponchos that weigh nothing; they sell them there; you don’t have to bring them from home.
  • A very light backpack. Even if you don’t use it on the way up, leave it on the bus—the less weight you carry, the better.
  • Several layers to put on and take off on the way up. Gloves and hats are included because when you get to the top, it is so cold that your hands itch, although there are moments of the hike when you have plenty of everything.

Price of the tour to Rainbow Mountain.

  • We rented this bus tour that leaves Cuzco at 4 am and cost us about $25.
  • What is included in the price, and how does the tour to Rainbow Mountain work?
  • Pick up at the hotel and transfer back to the center of Cuzco.
  • Spanish-speaking guide.
  • Transportation in the minibus.
  • Entrance fee to the Mountain of Colors.
  • Buffet breakfast and lunch.
  • Trekking poles.
  • Emergency oxygen and first aid kit

This excursion to Rainbow Mountain includes a full breakfast with tea, coke and oatmeal, bread, and jam. And once you have regained your strength, again by bus for a one-hour ride, you are taken to the checkpoint, where you buy your tickets and start the ascent on foot.

TIPS: If you suffer from vertigo, if you are afraid on the road, or if you do not feel comfortable if you do not drive, do not choose the seats closest to the driver. During the bus ride, there are moments when you may have a heart attack when you see the unpaved road, the unprotected curves, and the abyss below.

How to get the Rainbow Mountain Trek

How far is it to walk to Rainbow Mountain?

At the beginning of the excursion to the Rainbow Mountain

The buses drop you at the ticket booth, which they call the “Checkpoint,” From there, you have to walk 5 km up a spectacular valley to reach Rainbow Mountain.

They told us it would take a maximum of one hour at a slow pace, but it took us 1 1/2. So don’t rush; everything is planned; no matter how run the guides are, stroll at your own pace. The important thing is that you arrive because the hiking trail is very hard. We have done the most challenging mountain trekking, although, as mothers say with their children, “it compensates.”

Help to climb Rainbow Mountain.

The trek through Rainbow Mountain is challenging since it is at a high altitude, reaching approximately 5,200 meters. But don’t worry, you have help to climb if you want:

You can ride a horse almost to the top of Rainbow Mountain. The price from the beginning is 70 soles (more than the excursion). And when you’re upstairs, if you look bad, they ask you for 10.

But we tell you one thing if you want to climb Rainbow Mountain on foot but you see that you can’t take it anymore, it’s worth doing that last ride on horseback for that price. We didn’t do it, but if we had to do it again, we would leave that last effort to the horse 🙂

Trekking poles, the agency that organizes the excursion, will leave you a stick that helps and comes in handy.

During the journey to Rainbow Mountain, people sell drinks, fruit, and bars; you don’t have to carry a loaded backpack foolishly. At most, some nuts that, in our case, came from pearls and weighed nothing.

  • There are also toilets along the way, don’t worry; everything has been thought of.
  • And if you get altitude sickness, it is assumed (because we didn’t see it) that the guides carry oxygen in case an emergency shot is needed. We saw an ambulance next to the buses at the beginning of the climb. So focus on enjoying the journey; the unforeseen is covered.

How is the climb to Rainbow Mountain?

Although the people of the area knew of its existence, it was not until 2016 that it became known to tourism, and today it is a daily pilgrimage that reaches the Rainbow or 7-Color Mountain.

Hiking scene in Vinicunca, Cusco Region, Peru. Montana de Siete Colores, Rainbow Mountain.

We were talking to a man who takes horses to the top, and he told us that the mountain was covered by snow, but with global warming, this beauty appeared.

Today, the municipality’s people carry out the exploitation with the horses and stalls along the way.

Walking through amazing valleys and colorful mountains along the 5 km until reaching Rainbow Mountain is worth it. In uppercase. Not only the Mountain of the 7 Colors is a spectacle. As much or more, all the way to get to her.

And the people who lead the horses, with traditional costumes made of alpaca and intense colors, different from those we saw in Cuzco, are also part of that picture that looks like a documentary. Great wherever you look.

Another cool thing is the alpacas, free, grazing, and running. Nothing to do with the ones that the women of Cuzco wear tied up for the photo that the tourist on duty pays for

If you want a good photo with an alpaca, wait until you get to Rainbow Mountain. The scenario you have in the background has no comparison, and it is responsible tourism with nothing to do with the other.

Recommendations and tips for climbing Rainbow Mountain

It is not easy; instead, it is hard. As we told you before, it is not the 5 km walk between valleys and mountains or the weather; more than anything, it is the altitude.

Rainbow Mountain is at 5,200 meters, and from the moment you start the trek, you find yourself at 4,600, much higher than Cuzco. But you also go up little by little until you reach the top through large slopes, so the effort combined with the lack of oxygen is even greater.

That is why it is essential to go loaded with coca leaves or have the Sorojchi on hand Pill, the pills sold in any pharmacy against altitude sickness.

Despite everything, and with coca leaves in our mouths at all times, it was hard for us, and although we reached the top without help or a horse, we warn you that it is not an easy walk.

But don’t let this turn you back either, because if everyone does it, you do too. And reaching the top is so unique that there are no doubts. You arrive safely

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