Visiting Rainbow Mountain?! Here’s What You Need to Know

Known best in Peru as VINICUNCA

Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors) or most popularly known as Rainbow Mountain is located near Ausangate in Willkanuta Mountain Range, which is part of the Andes Mountains

TOURS

Scheduled in Cusco, should cost between 80-100 Soles (March 2019)

TRAVEL

The tour agency picks you up from your hostel between 230am and 330am
After everyone is collected, travel by car takes 3-3.5 Hours to reach, stopping along the way for bathroom breaks

Try to avoid the back row of the bus… The road is bumpy and the ceiling is not that high, the most banging around happens back there

ARRIVING

Breakfast is served – Fried Plantains, Eggs, Bread with Butter and Jelly, as well as Hot Water/Tea

BATHROOM?!?

Don’t expect these to exist on the side of a mountain…
Remember… you are in Nature…

They did however manage to wrap a nice tarp around a hole in the ground, so remember to bring toilet paper

HIKING UP

After breakfast everyone is transported to the base of the mountain

They will offer option to take a horse/pony or donkey for 70-80 Soles, please decline, the animals are not in the best shape and we shouldn’t exploit them
Some of their backs, literally looked like they were seconds of collapsing

Starting altitude is 4,326 m/ 14,189 ft (Cusco- highest altitude 3,399 m/ 11,152 ft)

The top of Rainbow Mountain sits at 5,200 m/ 17,060 ft, which is almost as tall as the Everest Base Camp, at 5,389 m/ 17,680 ft

Talk about an accomplishment to add to your list!!!

WHAT TO BRING

Keeping altitude and distance in mind, it’s useful to bring Healthy Snacks and Coca leaves

I do not suggest doing this tour if you just landed in Cusco due to the altitude. You may find it hard to breathe and can get nauseous or sick. We didn’t believe when we heard that could happen but we passed an occasional puker…

There are no trees or structures to block the wind, so it can get chilly quick

It helps pack some Warm Clothes, such as a hat and gloves, although if you’re looking for some new ones, there are local villagers selling some at the base
Prices were cheaper than what I had found in Cusco

While it is chilly, the sun is STRONG!!! Bring Sunscreen!!! Do not underestimate the power of the sun, when you are this high!!

TRAIL

The trail is about 5 km taking 1.5 hours or so each way to reach, then spending 30-45 mins atop the mountain to capture photos before hiking back down

Enjoy the beauty of the land, it’s truly a wonder of the world this place!!!
In all my years of traveling the world, this landscape is extremely unique

QUICK LIST OF THINGS TO BRING

  • Warm Layers of Clothes
  • Hat and Gloves
  • Trekking Shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Coca Leaves
  • Toilet Paper
  • Water

BEST TIME TO VISIT

It’s not advised to go during poor weather. Especially while raining and in the winter months of November to March due to the mudslides that can occur
It can be very dangerous and slippery a lot with having poor visibility

LEARN MORE

Want to know more about what makes this landscape possible and causes these color patterns?!?!

Over time, as the subduction/sinking of the Nazca plate under the South American Plate, the Andes Mountains had begun to form

The reason we are able to see such beautiful colors on the Ausangate Mountain is due to mineralogy and weathering. When the weather shifts and snow melts, water gets mixed with the various minerals that are found in the ground

This soil is called Claystone

Red areas are from the mix of Iron present in the soil. Iron reacts with water to form a Rust color

Yellows are due to the iron and sulphur mix, forming Iron Sulphides

Greens are Chlorite and Phyllites which are sheet silicate minerals that form during the early stages of metamorphism of the earth, rich in Iron and Magnesium

Purples formed another type of Iron compound called Ferric Iron or Goethite, also known as Oxidized Limonite which is another fancy word for Oxidized Rust, also rich in Magnesium and Iron

White is Quartz and Sandstone which are rich in Calcium Carbonate

Talk about AS ABOVE, SO BELOW….

So crazy how the same elements that make the earth are the same elements that keep our body function at its peak… its no wonder we feel so grounded when we’re enjoying the outdoors~!

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