Planning is one of my favorite parts of a trip since/when I discover everything I want to do at a particular destination. I love planning a trip!

  1. However, planning a trip can be a daunting and overwhelming task, especially if you are busy with school/work or haven’t done it often. Where should I go?
  2. How long should I stay?
  3. When should I book hotels, flights, and tours?

I prefer to book everything in advance, so I won’t be worried and waste time once I get to my destination.

How many days should I stay?

Many people believe that two days in Lima is enough. I mainly decided to stay for three days because I also want to go to the beach and ride my bike in some parks, weather permitting.

Where should I stay?

Lima’s best places to stay are the city center, Miraflores, and Barranco.

The center offers cheaper accommodation and the advantage of being close to many tourist attractions.

Miraflores is an upscale neighborhood and high-end business district. It has hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping centers. Accommodations here tend to have higher prices.

La Puerta Verde in Barranco is considered the most romantic and bohemian part. It has many houses and palaces in colonial and republican styles, parks, a lovely promenade to the beach, numerous clubs, bars, restaurants, the famous Bridge of Sighs, and a beautiful bay view. Accommodations here are reasonably priced.

Therefore, this article will describe how to plan a trip to Peru: Lima, Cusco, Chinchero, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu). If you plan to go to the Peruvian Amazon or any other place in this country, you will need more information.

How to organize and how much does a trip to Peru cost on your own

Everything you need to know to travel to Peru on your own with requirements, best time, places to visit, number of days required, tips to avoid altitude sickness, how to get around, recommended tours and guided visits, and a lot of information to organize your trip. Trip to Peru.

Shall we start? What is needed to travel to Peru?

People with passports from Spain and the European Union do not need a visa to travel to Peru, as long as the visit is exclusively for tourism and they stay up to a maximum of 90 days. We always recommend checking with your embassy to avoid problems upon arrival.

The countries that do not need to process a tourist visa are those that are part of the European Union, Oceania, the United States, Canada, and the following American countries: Antigua Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

What is the best time to travel to Peru?

You can travel to Peru throughout the year, but to visit Machu Picchu (see our post), you have to take into account the different seasons,

How to get to Peru

The most crucial airport in Peru is Lima. You can get here from Europe by direct flight with Iberia, Air Europa, LATAM, or a more economical stopover, like Avianca.

Tips for a trip to Peru on your own

Travel insurance

Essential on every trip. We tell you from experience that we have used it a lot of times, and the peace of mind that comes from not having to look for your life if something happens, that the doctor comes to your hotel or they indicate the nearest clinic.

There are a lot of clinics, and if you don’t know which one to choose! Here we leave you the one we use, which we know from experience works spectacularly; from medical tests, etc., in Latin America. We have used it many times, traveling worldwide, and the response has always been outstanding.

Hiring travel insurance here gives you a 5% discount. If you have doubts about which modality to employ, contact us.

One of the best options is to have the internet on your trip to Peru. You receive the card, and once at your destination, you will have data by simply inserting the SIM card or activating the eSIM on your mobile, in addition to data roaming.

In Peru, you have 5 GB, and 12 GB plans from 34 Euros with a 5% discount with our Organizotuviaje code.

In this way, you can navigate WhatsApp and social networks or the GPS or browser without worrying.

It only works with mobile phones that are unlocked and compatible with the country you are traveling to :-). Today, most mobiles work without problem worldwide, but just in case, confirm it.

Altitude Sickness in Peru

On a free trip through Peru, the places where you can have problems with altitude are Cuzco, Arequipa-Colca Valley, and Puno. And if you travel to Bolivia, in La Paz, and the Salar de Uyuni.

Cuzco does locate at 3,350 meters. You will be above this height in the excursions made from Cuzco to see the Sacred Valley and various Inca ruins. On the other hand, Machu Picchu is at a lower altitude, only at 2,400 meters.

To cope with the altitude, we only used coca leaves. No medication. Also, we drank coca tea (infusion) daily for breakfast or tea directly. We made the tea with 3 or 4 coca leaves in boiled water, letting it rest for a few minutes and releasing the essence. With that, we had no problems.

We also didn’t notice anything strange in the body, which you asked us a lot through the Instagram Stories while we were telling you about the experience. We left it all saved, so you can still see it on our profile.

Chewed coca leaf is very bitter, but you can add sugar to the infusion. It will taste much better for you.

As for advice for the first few hours, it is best to rest the first day and not make any effort. And if you go out, stroll, drink tea and chew coca leaves.

Recommendation: At the airport, there is a basket with coca leaves. Take several that will serve you for the first hours.

Places to visit on a trip to Peru on your own

We spent a month and a half in Peru, with 15 days of volunteering in Cuzco, so we can recommend very well how to get around and what to see. And even with so many days, we didn’t have time to visit areas like Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, or Paracas.

These are some ideas about “what you can do and see in Peru for free.” Everything depends on how many days you have available, but it is best to travel for at least 15 days to know the most important things.

Lima “The Capital”

Lima is a city that is well worth walking around and getting to know. Do not miss its historic colonial center, a World Heritage Site, with its beautiful Plaza de Armas and its cathedral, as well as the Barranco neighborhood and the Puente de los Suspiros.

And of course, do not forget to try the best Peruvian cuisine. Exquisite!! Take note of the cevicherías Beto; there are several in the capital.

Huacachina

The Huacachina lagoon and desert, one of the few natural oases found on the American continent and an essential stop on a trip through Peru. Do you want to know how to get to Huacachina? Check our post.

Arequipa and Colca Valley

The white city of Arequipa and the Colca Valley (see our post) with its condors is another essential place on a trip to Peru.

Huchuy Qosqo is one of the best alternatives for those travelers who love adventure and want to take a short walk—through unchallenging terrain, heading to the majestic Historic Sanctuary of Machu-Picchu. Undoubtedly, reaching this point will be most comforting for your soul, body, and memory.

The trek to Huchuy Qosqo 01 day is not very popular with tourists. However, the view gained from natural landscapes is truly irreplaceable. Due to the presence of all the beautiful Sacred Valley, the Vilcanota mountain range, and the sacred snow-capped mountains that protect the city of Calca.

Inca Trail 4 Days

Inca Trail 4 Days

During the hike, you will have the opportunity to interact with local people. In this way, you will learn a little about their daily lives with great pride. Also, they are willing to share their experiences charmingly with their visitors.

WHERE IS HUCHUY QOSQO FOUND?

The Archaeological Center of Huchuy Qosqo does locate in the district of Lamay in the Calca, Cusco region. Particularly on a plain, they face the best known snow-capped mountains of the Sacred Valley, Pitusiray and Sahuasiray.

WHAT IS THE HEIGHT IN HUCHUY QOSQO?

The Archaeological Center of Huchuy Qosqo is located 3600 meters above sea level. In an area called a subtropical montane moist forest, descending in this way, towards the warmest heights of the town of Aguas Calientes.

Throughout the trek, we will appreciate the different altitudes of the Quechua and Suni region, but on the last day of the hike, we will descend to 2000 meters above sea level.

The minimum height is 2050m / 6725 ft – (last day) Aguas Calientes

The maximum elevation is 5020m / 16470 ft – (first day) Abra Qoriccocha

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN HUCHUY QOSQO?

The district of Lamay does locate within the Sacred Valley. That is why the weather is not as cold as in the city of Cusco. Most of the time, the weather is cool and warm, except for the rainy season.

While we are on the route to Machu Picchu, we will go through different weather changes. Therefore, we will take care of the surprising weather changes.

Rainy season:

From October to April, temperatures fluctuate from 0 °C to 18 °C. They are showing cloudy skies, most of the time during January and February, as well as some rays of sunshine. The most significant amount of accumulated rainfall is 108 millimeters.

Dry Season:

It covers from May to September, and the temperatures range from -2 °C on average and rise to more than 21 ° C in June and July. The presence of the sun is notorious, but at night and early in the morning, the cold and frost are present. The most considerable amount of accumulated rainfall on average is 03 millimeters.

The humidity level does not vary much throughout the year; it remains at 0% most of the time.

ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN HUCHUY QOSQO

The Huchuy Qosqo trek 02 days / 01 nights is a short and little-known route to Machu Picchu. During the 02 days of walking, you can perceive the change in altitudinal floors. Most of these are natural landscapes accompanied by the visit’s archaeological centers.

Tambomachay – 4100m / 13451ft:

It is an archaeological site built by the Incas; its name comes from Quechua, meaning ‘Place of Rest.’ It did intend as a resting place and worship for water. This site has a large room with niches and another that resembles a bathroom with a system of aqueducts, waterfalls, and channels finely worked in stone, which continues to function today.

Open Qoriccocha – 5020m / 16470 ft:

This point is an Abra or natural pass at the top of the mountain; it is close to the Qoriccocha lagoon (from Quechua and means Golden Lagoon) and to the community of Qenqo. This sector is the highest point to which you ascend on this route. You have a great view of the mountains and the Qoriccocha lagoon from here.

Qenqo Town – 3600m / 11811ft:

The Qenqo or Qoriccocha community is the first resting point on this route. It is a typical town with a cozy atmosphere; today, the community maintains ancient customs and traditions. The people do mainly dedicated to raising llamas and alpaca and making textiles from the llama of these camelids.

Open Siwar – 4000m / 13123ft:

You can find native plants, flowers, crops, and many birds. The mountain pass does locate near the community of Siwar. This small valley shows a landscape different from the previous ones due to its particular microclimate.

Huchuy Qosqo – 3600m / 11811ft:

The ruins of Huchuy Qosqo were built by the Incas and located on a small plane above the Lamay rock wall. This set presents stone and mud buildings such as a Kallanka, terraces, houses, and irrigation canals. In addition, from the place, you have a fantastic view of the sacred valley and the mountains. It mentions that it was the place of retirement and rest for the last years of Wiracocha’s life in the past. And that is not all; there is information that confirms that Huychuy Qosqo is also one of the metaphysical archaeological sites such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo, but they are many years old. It was a unique construction for the time in which it made it.

FLORA AND FAUNA IN HUCHUY QOSQO

The flora in the Huchuy Qosqo Trek is characteristic of the high Andean zone or the Quechua and Puna altitude floors. On this route, the flora is varied but not so leafy. Likewise, we will also see the traditional fields of cultivation.

In the area of ​​Machu Picchu, you can find another type of flora, which is more characteristic of the jungle. In other words, abundant vegetation; and even more, the great variety of orchids, such as:

More than 500 species of orchids have been registered in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Here are some that you can appreciate:

Does the trek to Huchuy Qosqo 2 days/ 1 nights include the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu?

The permit or ticket to enter the citadel of Machu Picchu is included in the price of the tour. But not to the different walks that can find outside the main concourse.

Tickets to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain have an extra cost of USD$85.00 per person. Therefore, to obtain one of these additional tickets, it is necessary to buy another type of entrance ticket that contains one of these.

Necessary documentation for Machu Picchu

Documentation is essential for entering Machu Picchu, as well as for train tickets. In this case, it is crucial to carry the documents that you provided to your sales agent for purchases. Since they are the ones, they will use to verify personal data information. There should be no errors:

Remember that if the information is not correct with which made the purchase, you will not be able to enter, much less board the trains.

Note: If you have renewed your passport days before the trip, it must be updated before the first day of the trek. For this, you must send a copy of your old and new passport to the corresponding agency that will make the arrangements.

How long can I be in Machu Picchu?

The visit time in the citadel of Machu Picchu is an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. This time is the maximum used to carry out the primary circuit that contains the most outstanding sites of the entire Historic Sanctuary.

You should know that there is no free time after the guide to visit the site independently. Unless you buy one of the extra hiking tickets (Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain) so you can re-enter the attraction.

Huayna Picchu: The average time is 1 hour up and 45 minutes down. The path is steep and has small steps, so traveling with minors is not a good idea. We would say that it is somewhat risky and not recommended for people with vertigo or heart problems. In addition, once you reach the top, you will only have an average of 3 – 9 minutes to take the respective photos, then you will have to keep going.

Machu Picchu Mountain: The average time is 1 hour and 30 minutes to climb and approximately 1 hour to descend. It does more recommended for people traveling with minors. What should note is that the path is much broader and not as risky as the previous one? Also, the time to take the photos at the top is a little more than that of Huayna Picchu.

Where to leave my belongings while I visit Machu Picchu?

Within the prohibitions by the state for entering Machu Picchu, we find that luggage or backpacks that exceed 8 kilos or measure 40 x 35 x 20 cm are not allowed.

In such a case, you have the option of leaving your belongings in the luggage storage place of the hotel where you stayed the night before you visited Machu Picchu. You can consult this with the reception of the establishment. In this way, you will only take what is necessary for the great adventure.

On the other hand, at the entrance gate to Machu Picchu, the state provides a place to store your belongings at no cost. There is also another place where you can do it, it does locate next to the toilets, but it costs S/ 5.00 per person.

Most visitors prefer to store in this second option since they think there will be much more security than the free one if they pay. However, both places are suitable for keeping your things safe.

Regulations in Machu Picchu 2022

Machu Picchu has certain restrictions that visitors must meet like any place or archaeological center. Otherwise, they will be sanctioned by the security guards or park rangers who take care of the Historic Sanctuary.

Bags or backpacks with dimensions no greater than 40 x 35 x 20 cm are not allowed; therefore, they must be stored in the luggage store located at the entrance door.

Typically, the agencies that provide a complete service offer you certain facilities in the equipment. When your briefing, who will provide you with a specially designed duffel bag or backpack to have the appropriate weight? These items can be 5 or 6 kilos. It would be best if you considered that, within this weight, the sleeping bag, the thermal insulation, and your belongings for the 03 days of the walk must be included. Therefore, you should pack only the essentials.

We can openly say that this is the most common question among travelers so we will give you some guidelines. Remember that the porters will carry this; therefore, you will not have access to this luggage during the trek, only in the camps.

Relate with the Andean Culture

This hike to Rainbow Mountain offers you to know the traditional experience of the local people. In addition, you will be able to socialize with the tour guide, as well as with the muleteers, who accompany you throughout the tour. You can also learn about their beliefs, traditions, customs, and others.

Year after year, this hike is becoming one of the most visited in the city of Cusco. Also, an obligatory stop for all foreign tourists walking on this top of the mountain of the seven colors.

Fun on the mountain

Boredom is not allowed during the whole route because the trail is full of curious things, like Andean plants (Llaully, Ichu, Iru), small rodents, and Andean birds species (hawk, condor, etc.). South American camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, etc.), and Andean hunters (fox, puma).

Observe the High Andean Agriculture

From the moment we leave, towards the mountain of the 07 colors, we can observe the agriculture of different products, such as potatoes, aba, tarwi, olluco, oca, etc., and cereals such as aba, peas, quinoa, quiwicha, barley, wheat, among others. Peruvian agriculture; was inherited from the time of the Incas; agriculture is practiced for self-consumption and marketing or for barter to exchange products.

Appreciate all the Natural Beauty

This trek offers attractive, surprising, and unmissable landscapes, such as the fourth most prominent peak, “Ausangate,” mountains with lagoons of different colors, and not to be missed, the rainbow mountain, among others.

There are no risks during the trek.

The trek to the mountain of colors presents slightly steep ascents and downhill plains; it is not dangerous. To make the mountain of the seven colors, you must necessarily acclimatize your body in the city of Cusco for at least 01 days to not have problems with altitude sickness. The mountain of the seven colors is 5200 meters above sea level.

A hike accompanied by Andean fauna

Throughout the hike, you will be accompanied by South American camelids (llama, alpaca, vicuña, among others), Andean bird species; if we are lucky, we will run into (condor, hawk among others), Andean hunters (fox, puma).

Breathing Pure Air

A hike to the colorful mountain will be something that your body and health will thank you. The cellular oxygenation of the organism reduces stress, eliminates toxins accumulated in the organism, improves our anemic state. It is perfect for getting away from all the polluted air of the city and spending some time enjoying all the benefits of nature.

Enjoy the Rainbow Mountain Hike

When you arrive at the Mountain of Colors, appreciate the perfect combination of colors, different soils, or layers of sedimentary rocks, such as sandstone, gravel, halite, limestone, and limestone. As well as other, green and yellow with the combination of more minerals, this makes its formation in layers.

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

Enjoy the Andean gastronomy.

Gastronomy is one of the things enjoyed more in the region of Cusco and throughout Peru. It is an art that transcends from generation to generation. This adventure makes unique to the city of Cusco, for the originality of its typical dishes and showing a great experience, its foreign tourists enjoy new flavors, for many palates.

We are happy that you have decided to venture to fulfill one of your dreams that few hikers around the world achieve: to make that legendary journey, walk the Inca Trail 4 days to the Inca citadel of Machu-Picchu.

Kondor Path tours offer you these 05 tips before doing the Inca Trail, thinking it should be an unforgettable experience for all the good things you will live. Therefore, we want to leave you here with these simple and practical tips so that nothing interferes with that goal you set.

Book in advance

Once you have decided, do not let yourself be with the reservations: flights, accommodation, or group outings to do the Camino Inca. Thousands of people around the world seek this route. In general, there is usually a lot of demand at almost any time of the year.

Inca Trail Availability

Acclimatization for the Inca Trail

For several days you will be at a high altitude above sea level. Your body needs to acclimatize slowly to avoid annoying altitude sickness.

It is advisable to stay in the city of Cusco for at least 02 days before the trek to acclimatize properly. What can not change the date of the Inca Trail, and the absence is not refundable, so you must take precautions to be in the place indicated on the start date.

Appropriate clothing and footwear for the Inca Trail

The weather in the Andean zone can suffer abrupt changes. The sun can be pretty intense, but the temperature can drop once it hides behind a cloud. It is essential to bring a coat for the night as the cold can be harmful.

It is vital to wear the shoes you will use for the hike, taking care to cover your ankles to maintain better stability. It is necessary because your shoes must withstand 8 hours a day of walking, and the terrain is often tricky and slippery. Another essential tip is not to use new shoes, as these can cause injuries to the foot because they do not adapt to their owner; after a few days of use, these will be better adapted to your foot.

Carry walking sticks

Walking poles will help you a lot during the whole Inca Trail. If you do not have practice with them, you will soon become friends with your walking sticks. They will help you advance more safely and comfortably, unloading part of your weight and giving you stability. You can also buy them in Ollantaytambo.

Inca Trail regulations

Essential items to bring on the Inca Trail

It is not advisable to drink the water from the springs you will see during the Inca Trail. Bring your thermos or canteen with mineral water, which you can buy in the towns you pass through.

Be sure to bring insect repellent, flashlight, sunscreen, extra batteries for your devices. And, just in case, check all the necessary international vaccinations.

Short Inca Trail

The second day, depending on where you have spent the night, continue your adventure to Choquequirao.
The distance from Capuliyoc to Choquequirao is 22 km and the walking time varies between 10 to 12 hours each way.

To get to Choquequirao through Huanipaca, follow the same directions as in the route through Cachora and head towards Curahuasi or Ramal de Cachora. From there take an express to Tambobamba (punta carretera). There is no cab service from the Huanipaca branch, so you will have to get off at the Cachora branch and take an express cab from there to Huanipaca, Tambobamba or Punta Carretera.
From Tambobamba descend to San Ignacio beach (on the banks of the Apurimac River) and begin the ascent to Choquequirao through the winding road that winds its way through the steep slopes of the rugged mountain.

Hiking time through Huanipaca varies between 10 to 12 hours one way.

Cusco – Santa Teresa – Yanama – Maizal – Choquequirao

It is the longest route and only traveled by lovers of long walks. The travel time for this route varies between 8 to 9 days. It can be traveled in both directions: entering from Santa Teresa and leaving to Cachora, or the other way around.
If you want to get to Choquequirao by this route, it is best to hire the services of your trusted travel agency. Since, the distance you will walk (more than 70 km) will be much greater than the previous routes. In addition, the road passes through dangerous and little-traveled places. Therefore, you will need a guide and muleteers to accompany you during your trip.

Travelers who go through this route mainly visit the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and the Choquequirao Archaeological Complex. Passengers who have completed this trip say it is the best experience of their lives. The most popular route is entering through Cachora and ending the journey in one of the wonders of the modern world, Machu Picchu.

Cusco – Mollepata – Hornopampa – Yanama – Choquequirao

This route is of recent creation and is little frequented. It offers the best views of the Apurimac Canyon. But, it is the least recommended, because there are no services on the route and the road is very precarious.
To get to Choquequirao through Mollepata, you go by private car to the town of San Francisco (road end). And from there you start walking through a narrow path that meanders between the slopes of the snow-capped Padreyoc and joins in Marampata to the road of the Cachora – Choquequirao route.

Through Mollepata, the distance to Choquequirao is 32 km. And the travel time varies between 13 to 14 hours one way and an equal amount of time to return.

Cable car to Choquequirao

At the moment, the cable car to Choquequirao is only a project that is in the study phase. But, once it is built. The cable car will connect the Kiuñalla viewpoint (Huanipaca district) with the Choquequirao archeological site.
This new access road will cross 1,400 meters above the Apurimac River. The distance of the road to Choquequirao will be reduced to only 5.1 kilometers and the travel time will be only about 15 minutes. It is one of the most ambitious projects for the archaeological center to boost tourism in the southern region of Peru.

The difficulty of the Choquequirao Trek

The trek to Choquequirao has a MEDIUM-HIGH difficulty. It is much more demanding than other trekking routes in Cusco, such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Salkantay. Therefore, before traveling, you should consider many aspects: time, distance, physical condition and other factors.
The difficulty of the hike lies mainly in the rugged geography through which the winding road runs, from 3000 meters above sea level descends to 1500 meters above sea level and again rises again above 3000 meters above sea level. And to this is added the remoteness, since the trail passes through remote places where there is no human presence.

The Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca is one of the mountains located in the Vilcanota mountain range, and from this place, you can see the snow-capped Ausangate. Visitors are attracted to this place by the colorful natural landscape due to stones and minerals sedimented by wind and water erosion. Here is some helpful information about what you should carry in your backpack and enjoy this impressive attraction.

What to bring to enjoy the adventure to the fullest

The first thing to keep in mind is that the tour of the Seven Colors Mountain is only one day, and therefore it is NOT necessary to bring too many belongings and or too much luggage as backpacks, or large luggage stays at your hotel.

Bring a day pack with the following items:

Warm clothing: The Rainbow Mountain tour is NOT that frigid; especially if we get a sunny day; however, remember that the cold does feel at the top of the mountain, and for this, you should bring: a light but warm jacket, a sweater or sweater, a scarf, a cap and the wool gloves that will help protect you when you are taking your best pictures or just enjoying the Vinicunca mountain scenery.

Food: take mineral water to keep you hydrated; some snacks include nuts, chocolates, candies, cookies, etc. These will help you to recover the energy demanded by the hike.

Other personal items: Rain poncho, sunglasses or sunglasses, sunblock, hiking shoes, extra shoes, and or sandals to rest your feet on the bus.

Money: Don’t forget to bring some extra cash in Soles for your expenses for snacks, mineral water, soft drinks or sodas, horse service, and tips.

IMPORTANT: Remember that many of these products are also available locally, so if you prefer to support the locals, you can buy them from them on the spot and avoid carrying them from Cusco.

Get ready for the rainy season!

For the rainy season: November, December, January, February, and March, it is recommended to include a pair of slippers, shoes, or sandals in addition to the ones you will use for the hike; these can be left in the vehicle (Van, Bus or Car), until your return after the wet walk; also take with you an extra sweater, sweater or polo shirt and thus avoid the possibility of catching a cold or similar.

Surely you have heard of a mountain that has the colors of the Rainbow, or you have seen on social networks the stock photo of hikers on this incredible mountain. But haven’t you had the chance to visit it yet? Well, here I leave you all the information you need to know so that your visit to Vinicunca is one of the best experiences of your life.

The Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca is one of the most beautiful natural attractions you can appreciate on the way to Apu Ausangate. It does say that the energy of the Mountain of Seven Colors is so great that it represents a new opportunity for all who visit it.

The majesty of this mountain is so incredible that it does list by National Geographic magazine as one of the 100 tourist places you must visit before you die 🙂

Vinicunca: History of Rainbow Mountain

The geographical feature (also known as Rainbow Mountain) that represents this magical mountain is the snowy Ausangate, present in the Cordillera of the Vilcanota River.

Previously, this mountain did cover by a glacier, which resulted from global warming, melting until ultimately discovering the entire mountainous structure.

When you arrive at the place, you will be able to appreciate a great mountain formed of sediments or layers of different colors that have been superimposed one on the other to make a magnificent geological formation.

The slopes stain in various hues, including red, purple, green, yellow, pink, and other variations. Since 2016, when this incredible mountain became famous through social networks, it has received hundreds of tourists a day.

How high is Rainbow Mountain?

The Mountain of 7 Colors or Vinicunca is one of the enormous mountains in Peru and does locate at more than 5,200 masl (17060 feet).

The uphill walk can be a bit challenging, but once at the top, I assure you that your steps will have been worth it, and you will feel proud to be able to reach one of the main tourist attractions of Cusco and Peru.

How to get to the Rainbow Mountain?

Rainbow Mountain has located 140 km. Southeast of Cusco. To reach the destination, you must travel for three hours to a small town called Pitumarca, situated in the province of Quispicanchi. Once in Pitumarca, you must take a trail route to the peasant community of Pampa Chiri, where you will start the exciting hike.

After a 1-hour walk, you will arrive at the town of Machuraccay, a point where you can appreciate the colors of the mountain and other beauties such as lagoons and streams.

The journey’s end will be the top of the Mountain of Seven Colors at an altitude of approximately 5033 meters above sea level. At this point, it is common for travelers to take beautiful photographs to immortalize the moment.

If you are one of those people who have difficulties walking, you will find villagers who rent horses and take you much of the way along the way.

Is the hike to Rainbow Mountain Colors challenging?

In reality, the walk is not challenging; however, the difficulty lies in the altitude of the natural site. At the beginning of the walk, you will find yourself at about 4,980 meters above sea level and then ascend to more than 5100 meters above sea level.

Suppose you are looking to go up to Vinicunca at your own pace. In that case, we recommend doing the excursion in a private group, since otherwise, it is challenging to climb coordinated next to many participants.

In addition, another vital factor to consider is traveling with children or older adults because they may be more vulnerable to walk conditions.

What is the best season to visit The Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca?

In Cusco, there are two very marked seasons, the dry season and the rainy season.

The best season of the year to visit the mountain is in August since it is the dry season, and you will be able to visualize the colors of the hill perfectly due to the clear weather.

It is crucial to avoid the rainy months (December, January, and February) or times when snowfall has fallen since the visibility of the mountain does reduce.

In any case, the photographs that you manage to take in this magnificent place will be evidence of having reached the goal.

What to do in the Rainbow Mountain?

Vinicunca or the Mountain of Seven Colors is a magical place to do various activities.

Recommendations before visiting the Rainbow Mountain Treks

Spend one or two days acclimatizing in the city of Cusco. Bring warm clothes for the hike. If you do not consider yourself in good physical condition for the walk, rent a horse from one local. You won’t have to worry about anything, enjoy your trip.

Being at the top of this incredible mountain is something you will remember for the rest of your life, not only for its beauty but also for the unique satisfaction you will feel when you reach the finish line.

Seven Colors Mountain is open all year round, so get ready to discover it!

The Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca visited by tourists

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There are so many beautiful destinations to explore outside of Cusco, Peru.

You can enjoy various adventurous day trips, such as a hike to Laguna Humantay, a walk to Rainbow Mountain, or a trip to the Sacred Valley. We visit the Sacred Valley on our second day in Cusco, and we highly recommend including it in your itinerary. It is the perfect way to explore beautiful Inca sites while acclimating to the altitude and avoiding altitude sickness. That said, there are so many things to see in the Sacred Valley that most tour companies offer two different day trips. A tour will take visitors to know Pisac, Chincheros, and Ollantaytambo.

While the other tour will take visitors to see the salt mines of Moray and Maras, it is tough to find a company that creates a special full-day tour of the Sacred Valley that includes all the most popular sites and affordable prices. Luckily for us (and you), we found the best private excursion of the Sacred Valley to fit any Peru budget!

This post will find a list of things to see in the Sacred Valley and the best Sacred Valley private tour company to book. My goal is to provide you with all the information you need to help you plan a successful trip to the Sacred Valley.

The best private tour of the Sacred Valley

Economic

A group tour to the Sacred Valley and or the Salt Mines of Moray and Maras costs $ 40 per person. Making these tours private costs $ 80 for two people, $ 70 for three people, and the price keeps dropping as the number of people in a personal group increases “private.” Isn’t that a fantastic price or what?!?! We also did our research, and you are not likely to find better prices than these. So whether you’re backpacking South America or enjoying a luxury trip to Peru, these prices are hard to beat and for everyone.

Meet the needs of guests

We knew there were so many things to see in the Sacred Valley. However, we had very little time in Cusco, so we could not make two trips to the Sacred Valley. If you want to create your special tour, do not hesitate to ask them, they will help you!

Things to see in the Sacred Valley

There are five things to see in the Sacred Valley that you cannot miss during your visit: Pisac, Chincheros, Moray, Salineras de Maras, and Ollantaytambo. To see the beautiful sites of the Sacred Valley, you must buy tickets, so we recommend that visitors buy a Cusco Tourist Ticket.

Tourist Ticket Cusco

The Cusco Tourist Ticket is a great way to save money on tickets to some sites in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. If you plan to visit at least three places in the Sacred Valley, the Tourist Ticket Cusco Circuit III – Sacred Valley is your best option. If you plan to visit the sites offered for Cusco and the Sacred Valley, then the Complete Cusco Tourist Ticket is highly recommended. What must pay Cusco Tourist Tickets in person and cash at one of the eligible sites

Pisac

Pisac is a beautiful town with an attractive market for tourists, but the Inca fortress’s best-known feature. The beautiful Inca fortress towers over the city from a mountain. Leading up to the defense are large semi-circular terraces. The terraces & the Inca fortress are available for visitors; to explore on their own and marvel at the work of the Incas. Pisac is a top-rated destination with tourists and an easy day trip from Cusco.

Our private tour of the Sacred Valley took us to a particular market away from the main town square to the “Awac Nusta” Textile Center. Visiting this market in Chincheros is fascinating to see in the Sacred Valley, and we recommend you visit it as well. We did introduce to a local woman who demonstrated the entire process of creating alpaca textiles. It was an incredible demonstration, and we learned a lot. The locals use only natural ingredients, such as flowers and roots, to create their colorful ink. At the end of the demo, we were able to look around his market and buy one of his masterpieces.

Tip:

While you’re in the Chincheros markets, don’t be afraid to try to negotiate fair prices.

Some physical stores accept credit cards (sometimes with a 5% fee), while stores that sell blankets accept soles. Centro Textil “Awac Nusta” accepts credit cards free of charge.

Moray (Inca Ruin)

There are so many Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley, and the Moray Inca Ruin is one. It is by far one of the most incredible things to see in the Sacred Valley for its sheer beauty and ingenuity. These are essentially several large circular depressions known as agricultural terraces.

The Incas were undoubtedly remarkable engineers. They created each terrace level for different crops and varied in temperature. From the upper terrace to the lower one, there is a temperature difference of 59 ° F / 15 ° C. Pure genius of the Incas! And did you know that at least 60 percent of the world’s food crops originated in the Andes? It is not surprising at all when you visit Moray Inca Ruin.

Salineras de Maras

If you visit a site in the Sacred Valley, it must be the Maras salt mines, one of Peru’s hidden gems! The Maras salt mines were what we liked the most to see in the Sacred Valley. After seeing several Inca ruins, the Maras salt mines were refreshing to visit. There are six thousand shallow pools filled with saltwater that are visually stunning and impressive. The salt flats completely captivated us with their unique beauty and history. The Salineras de Maras date back to pre-Inca times and produced salt for more than 500 years. Our guide, Susana, was able to take us to the storage facility; we were shocked by the magnitude of the stored salt.

Visitors impressed by the salt mines can happily purchase a variety of salts produced in the shallow pools on their way out. We certainly buy our fair share of pink cooking salt and a variety of therapeutic bath salt.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is another beautiful town in the Sacred Valley with an incredible Inca archaeological site known as the Ollantaytambo fortress. Ollantaytambo Fortress does locate on the city’s outskirts of Temple Hill. Inside the fort are some of the most extensive Inca terraces and a Temple of the Sun. Like its predecessor, Pisac, this Inca site also boasts magnificent views from the top of the Inca terraces.

Final notes

I hope this post helped get an inside look at the many things to see in the Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley is extensive, and there is no infrastructure on the roads that lead to each site. So, plan your trip accordingly based on how much time you have.

When in doubt about the Short Inca Trail, the best thing to consult a travel expert. Kondor Path Tours has assembled his team to put together the Frequently Asked Questions about the Short Inca Trail, which includes information about the route, the itinerary, material to bring, details of the previous preparation, and many other details.

Is your question not on the list? Well, do not hesitate to contact our experts and they will answer your question immediately.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SHORT INCA TRAIL

Why is it called the Short Inca Trail?

The Short Inca Trail is the fastest route to Machu Picchu in the Inca Trail network. Unlike the Traditional Inca Trail, this route lasts two days and is a private tour.

This route is ideal for passengers who have less time to visit Machu Picchu or who do not have the necessary physical condition to face the other ways of the Inca trails.

What are the differences with the 4-Day Classic Inca Trail?

The Classic Inca Trail lasts 04 days. It has a medium difficulty level and includes camps along the route. Around 6 Inca archaeological remains are visited, and we will visit the citadel of Machu Picchu on the last day. It does usually done in groups of several passengers.

The Short Inca Trail lasts 2 days. Being a private tour, the groups are small. In addition, the difficulty of this route is much less and does not include outdoor camping when you spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes. The archaeological sites of Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna, and IntiPunku are visited. Finally, we will end on the guided tour of the Machu Picchu Citadel.

What should I bring to this tour?

The climates you will experience are not as extreme as the traditional route; however, we always recommend packing warm clothing such as jackets, gloves, warm pants, and more. Our travel experts prepared a list of items for the Short Inca Trail. We recommend that you follow it and have no problems packing your backpack.

How many days is this adventure? What is the itinerary?

The Short Inca Trail lasts 2 days.

During the first day, we will travel the route from Chachabamba, Wayllabamba, and Intipunku. You will be able to appreciate the wonder of Machu Picchu from the first day. You will spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

During the second day, you will visit the wonder of Machu Picchu with a professional guide. You will learn all the secrets of the citadel and have free time to explore at your leisure before returning to Cusco.

You can review the detailed itinerary on the Short Inca Trail tour page.

What places will I visit?

A few minutes from the starting point, you will be able to appreciate the ruins of Chachabamba. Then we will pass through Wayllabamba. Finally, we will arrive at the entrance door to Machu Picchu: Inti Punku, or the door of the sun, from where you can appreciate the first views of the Inca citadel.

What is the best time to go to the Short Inca Trail?

We recommend making the Short Inca Trail during the dry season, from April to November. During these months, sunlight is appropriate for the best photographs of Andean landscapes.

Do not forget to check the availability of spaces before making your reservation. We recommend that you separate your room at least four months in advance.

Is there an age limit for the short Inca trail?

No. People of any age are suitable to make the Short Inca Trail. Happy families or groups of friends walk this adventure step by step without problems.

What documents do I need?

You can review what papers you need to visit the Inca Trail in our guide on documents necessary to enter Peru.

Is physical preparation or acclimatization necessary?

Yes. If you live in a low-altitude place, we recommend doing previous training to complete the route without complications. We suggest you take walks for half an hour or more to increase your endurance and workouts with cardiovascular exercises.

Do not forget to ask your doctor about particular indications for the Short Inca Trail and review more suggestions for your health on the Inca Trail 2 days.

Will we spend the night in camps?

No. During the 2-day Short Inca Trail, the first day, you will spend the night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu. On the second day, you will return to Cusco.

How is the food?

On the first day, you will receive a box lunch. You will eat with your travel companions with the view of the Wiñaywayna ruins. In Aguas Calientes, you will have a delicious dinner. Finally, you will receive breakfast on the second day, before the Grand Tour of Machu Picchu.

Is there drinking water and electricity on the route?

We recommend bringing a water bottle to hydrate yourself during the walk. You can have drinking water and electricity in Aguas Calientes at the end of the first day.

Why trust your agency for this tour?

Kondor Path Tour is an agency authorized to operate the routes of the Inca Trail.

 

For nature and adventure lovers, especially those who want to get to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail, which by the way, will transport you to a new world where you will change the noise of the city for the beautiful singing of birds and the most beautiful landscapes you can imagine.

Review the Inca Trail Permits

However, doing this trek is not easy, especially for those who are not usually used to exercise or physical effort. That said, the Inca Trail route exceeds 4000 meters above sea level in some areas, so what must take some precautions that CuscoPeru.com will describe below.

Remember that the shorter your hike, the fewer objects you should carry so that the weight of your backpack does not interfere with your transfer.

ABOUT THE CLOTHING:

It does not matter how many days you are going to hike; the truth is that you will go from one altitude to another, and this implies that the weather (climate) will change; For this, the most convenient thing will be to wear comfortable clothes and in little quantity. For example:

Early morning in incredible Machu Picchu

ON HEALTH:

ABOUT THE LUGGAGE:

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