Kondor Path Tours

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain (2024) -The Ultimate Guide

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain (2024) -The Ultimate Guide

Palccoyo’s Rainbow Mountain is the new hidden gem south of Cusco in the Ausangate Andes. With less than 40 minutes of walking to the top, three beautiful rainbow mountains are scattered around the central mountain. The Cusco South Tourist Route is a new alternative to the ever-famous Rainbow Mountain Tour at Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain.

One of the must-visit mountains in Peru and South America is Rainbow Mountain (Palccoyo), which especially appeals to all explorers exploring its unique landscape. For all travelers who want to know more about the incredible tours of Palccoyo Cusco, in this article you will find some ideas to help you make the best decision for your next vacation in Peru.

What is the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo?

Peru’s incomparable Cusco region offers impressive hiking routes with colorful scenic landscapes that mesmerize with their stunning beauty. Remarkable for its natural beauty is the Rainbow Mountains range in Palccoyo.

Palccoyo’s Rainbow Mountain is located south of the city of Cusco. The tourist route is the jewel of the South Peruvian Andes. It consists of three colorful mountains and offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped Ausangate.

The Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour is not physically demanding. It is about a 45-minute walk, so it is a recommended spot where you can casually stop by with your family. If you’re not used to long walks on your next vacation, the Palcoyo Trail is for you.

What is the detailed information on the Rainbow Mountain of Palcoyo?

  • Driving distance: 125 km or 76 miles from Cusco
  • Driving time from Cusco to Palccoyo: 3 hours and a half.
  • Cost of the entrance ticket to Palccoyo: S/ 15. A proximate of $5
  • Elevation of the beginning of the Palccoyo Trek: 4,700 meters (15,400 feet)
  • Hiking difficulty: relatively easy due to the short distance to walk and the semi-flat tourist circuit.
  • Type of walking path: The semi-flat hiking path is made up of dirt by sectors, and for short moments it is paved. The Palccoyo trail extends to the three viewpoints along one side of the Arcoiris mountain.
  • Distance to walk from the Palccoyo Trail: 4 km, 2.5 miles round trip.
  • Horse rental: There are none in the Palccoyo area because the walk is short and classified as easy.
  • The walking time to reach the three viewpoints is approximately 35 minutes one way, and the return takes about 20 minutes. “The descent is easy.”
  • Palccoyo trekking circuit maximum elevation: 4,900 meters (16,076 feet)
  • Tour duration: one full day. We start the adventure at 05:00 a.m. and return to Cusco between 03:30 p.m. and 04:30 p.m.

Where is the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo located?

The Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo is located about 10 minutes from the community of Palcoyo. The Palccoyo tourist circuit is situated in the Palccoyo neighborhood in the Combapata district within the Canchis region of Cusco, Peru.

When was the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo discovered?

Palccoyo became famous for local and international tourism in 2018. Thanks to the visitors, they are recommending an alternative tour of Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain.

Today, it’s part of a tourist circuit with short activities to three viewpoints on Rainbow Mountain in Palcoyo.

How was the mountain of Palcoyo formed?

The formation of the Rainbow Mountain of Palcoyo is due to marine sediments, lakes, and rivers in the water that once covered the Andes Mountain range. The age of these sediments dates back to the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, about 65 million years ago.

Over time, these sediments were formed in layers today known as the color layers of Palcoyo. The movement of tectonic plates in the area raised the sedimentary deposits that became the mountains. After that, the Andes mountains got their bright colors due to the oxidation and erosion of the soil minerals.

How many hours of travel does it take to get to the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo?

The trip starts from Cusco at 05:30 a.m. We head south of Cusco; the trip lasts three and a half hours, “2 and a half hours by road and 1 hour by dirt road.” After the Palccoyo experience, we arrive in Cusco between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The easiest way to explore the areas of the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo is on a guided day trip from the city of Cusco.

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

How do I get to the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo?

The city of Cusco is the starting point for a trip to Rainbow Mountain, Palcoyo. We travel by private transport on the Cusco-Sicuani highway.

At Combapata, before crossing the bridge, we turn left to ascend a dirt road until we reach the beginning of the Palccoyo walking circuit.

Note: The vehicular trip takes 3 hours and a half to Palccoyo; visitors will have plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the landscape of the Ausangate Andes.

How long is the hike to Rainbow Mountain from Palccoyo?

It’s a 30-minute leisurely walk to reach the third observation point of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain for incredible panoramic views of the Andes and other Palcoyo Rainbow Mountains.

The hardest part of the hike is the Inca Rock Forest, which takes about 20 minutes to reach the top. Stone Forest offers stunning views of all of Palccoyo’s Rainbow Mountains. Visitors can return through the same hiking trail or the back of a rocky area.

It should be noted that the different hiking routes through the Stone Forest are optional. The three views of Rainbow Mountain in Palcoyo are the most important and attractive.

Which of the 03 Rainbow Mountains of Palccoyo has the best views?

The first view of Palcoyo is a 7-minute walk, with a beautiful panoramic view of the majestic Rainbow Mountain from the parking lot. On the other side, we have Rainbow Hill with the spectacular backdrop of the Andes.

After walking for about 10 minutes from the first observatory, you will reach the second. The second Belvedere offers panoramic views of the inter-Andean valley with its unique landscape in the distance. The third viewpoint has a picture of Palcoyo Hill and the largest rainbow mountain with a panoramic view.

After 10 minutes of walking, we will find the third observation point. In short, the three views of the three rainbow mountains have their characteristics. Everyone is beautiful in different ways. For landscape lovers and photographers, find a new photo every minute to feed your social networks.

What colors make up the Rainbow Mountain of Palccoyo?

Palcoyo’s natural color composition has a colorful pattern that produces a beautiful scenic landscape.

The colors that make up the rainbow mountains of Palccoyo are:

  • The green color contains clays rich in ferromagnetic and, finally, copper.
  • Pink or fuchsia color: produced by red clay, fangolitas (mud), and arilitas (sand).
  • The white quartz sandstone has a whitish color.
  • Purple or lavender color: mixing clay with sodium carbonate and silicates
  • Red color: Thanks to the clays and argitites
  • Yellowish brown color: produced by calcareous sandstones, limonites, and sulfide minerals. by siltstones and marls, rich in calcium carbonate

What is the best time to visit the Rainbow Mountains of Palccoyo?

The best time to visit Peru’s Palcoyo tourist circuit is during the dry season, from April to November. From April to November, there is little rain, making Palcoyo a pleasant visit.

However, the weather is unpredictable in the Peruvian Andes and can change at any time. Therefore, you should be prepared for several situations. We always recommend bringing mountain gear for cold and rainy days.

It is recommended to check the weather in Palcoyo before booking a tour of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain.

What is the clothing needed to hike the Rainbow Mountains of Palccoyo?

It’s impossible to dress appropriately for Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain. If you leave Cusco around 5:30 AM (05:00 AM), you’ll want to wear a few layers of gloves and probably be cold.

When the van dropped us off at the beginning of the Palccoyo Trek, we were still shaking, and when we saw some visitors in shorts and t-shirts, we thought they were crazy; however, later in the day, the sun bore down, bringing skin to the boil, and those hikers in shorts were adequately dressed.

We were still shaking when the van dropped us off at the start of the Palcoyo hike. When we saw other hikers in shorts and t-shirts, we thought they were crazy. But the sun was setting on our boiling skin later that day, and the hikers were in shorts. It was about our visit, but other visitors had a snowstorm the day before, so anything was possible.

Can children and the elderly access the Palccoyo tourist circuit?

Walking through the Palcoyo Mountains is perfect for ages 7 to 65. The tourist circuit of Palcoyo is suitable for children and the elderly traveling with family, friends, or teams.

A hike along the Palcoyo Trail takes you to three viewpoints in Palcoyo centered around three different Rainbow Mountains in an easy 30-minute walk.

How are the flora and fauna of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain?

The wildlife in its natural habitat on the Palccoyo hiking trail is alpacas and llamas, making the landscape unique in the Andes. “The higher the elevation, the happier the Andean camelids are because they are used to the Andes, Peru.”

Explorers may even spot condors soaring over the Rainbow-Palcoyo Mountains. Some Andean foxes, chinchillas, Cara-Caras, and Huallatas are rarely seen.

The fauna of the Palcoyo circuit presents a rich Andean flora; the grassland of the Andes is excellent food for the Peruvian camelids of the south of the Cusco, Andes.


Heading south of Cusco, we find the district of Checacupe. In Checacupe, travelers can see three bridges over the Pitumarca River; each bridge represents a different stage of Peruvian generations, such as the Inca, Colonial, and Republican periods.

Inca Bridge of Checacupe

The Inca Bridge was built at the beginning of the 13th century, during the reign of the eighth Inca emperor, Wiracocha. The bridge is made of wild straw from the Andes. “Essentially, it is a hanging or suspended bridge.” The Inca bridge of Checacupe was part of the great Inca Trail that led to Lake Titicaca and Cusco.

Colonial Bridge of Checacupe

The colonial bridge was built in the 17th century by King Carlos III of Spain’s order between 1759 and 1788. The colonial bridge of Checacupe Colonial is built of ashlar stone joined with cement, adorned on its surface by a layer of small rocks. The construction of the Checacupe Colonial Bridge allowed the colonial authorities to travel to both sides of the city to collect taxes (the city of Checacupe is divided into two neighborhoods divided by the Pitumarca River).

Republican Bridge of Checacupe

The republican bridge of Checacupe dates from the 19th century. The bridge is made of iron from the railway track. Currently, it is the alternative route to travel to Checacupe. The Checacupe colonial bridge is well preserved, with an excellent connection for vehicular traffic.

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