The Vinicunca Mountain, better known as the Rainbow Mountain Peru, is one of the most popular attractions today, is visited by thousands of tourists every day, in fact, is the second most visited destination after Machu Picchu.
Located more than 90 kilometers from the city of Cusco, at an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.).
It has a mountain formation, naturally dyed in various shades of a complex combination of minerals.
The mountain and the summit of Vinicunca are dyed in various shades, including red, purple, green, yellow, pink and other variations.
This tourist attraction was surrounded by the imposing Apu Ausangate, not many years ago. Since 2015, this place receives thousands of visitors a day, and along with Machu Picchu, one of the most visited places in Peru.
The Rainbow Mountain is located in the Vilcanota mountain range, on the border between the provinces of Canchis and Quispicanchis. More specifically, between the districts of Cusipata and Pitumarca. It is also located southeast of the city of Cusco, about 110 km, and has an altitude of 5040 meters.
Altitude in the Rainbow Mountain
Vinicunca is at 5,200 meters above sea level, compared to Cusco which is at 3,399 masl. Machu Picchu is at 2,430 meters above sea level.
How to get to the Rainbow Mountain Peru?
If you can get to this place on your own, it is something we do not recommend, unless you go with someone who knows the route or hire a cab from Cusco with round trip service.
Going on your own
For this, visitors must take a bus from Cusco to Sicuani to the town of Cusi Pata (approximately 2 hours away) there, take a bus and / or cab to the hiking point called Phuluwasipata.
Then you will begin a walk of approximately one hour (The muleteers of the area will offer you to rent a horse, up to a strategic point where horses are allowed to arrive).
The price of the entrance ticket is 15 soles.
Routes to Rainbow Mountain
There are 2 routes of easy access and 1 day to get to this mountain of the 7 colors.
1. Pitumarca Route
The route by Pitumarca, is the easiest, besides that the time is short, since this access is closer than Cusipata of Cusco. The hike is 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your physical condition.
2. Route through Cusipata
This route by Cusipata was for some years the most popular, but it was a very challenging hike, it took about 3 hours to reach the top, but since the Pitumarca route was created, the people of Cusipata cut that distance, which is now about 1 hour.
Tour to Rainbow Mountain Peru
We have a special tour for you with new routes and better service, which includes entrance and more.
The hike lasts between 1 or 2 hours, depending on the physical condition of the tourist, it is not dangerous and demands a high moderate physical effort. There are stretches of considerable ascents and descents.
One of the biggest difficulties for the visitor is the altitude and the cold weather and icy winds. The altitude of the area can cause soroche. It is recommended a previous acclimatization of 1 or 2 days in the city of Cusco.
Wear warm clothes for the hike. If you are not in good physical condition for the hike to the Seven Colors Mountain, it is recommended to rent a horse.
Do not forget to bring a hat or cap, sunscreen, jacket, trekking pants, appropriate shoes for trekking and rain poncho.
What is the shortest route to go to the mountain of 7 colors “Vinicunca”?
There are 2 routes to go to the mountain of 7 colors. In general the difference is in the distance, time and difficulty of the hike.
The short route is the one that only takes about 2 hours of walking, it is the most preferred among foreign tourists.
The long route is still an alternative way to go, although it takes about 3 to 4 hours of walking.
If you want to take a tour to this mountain you can contact us by WhatsApp or book the Rainbow Mountain Tour.
When does it snow on Seven Colors Mountain?
First of all, let’s talk about the weather in the mountains. In the region where the Seven Colors Mountain is located, there are only two well-defined seasons that characterize these regions: the dry season and the rainy season. The former should be enjoyed to the fullest, during the dry season the whole landscape manifests itself in a multicolored field, so you can safely see the Seven Colors Mountain as it really is.
In the rainy season, the chances of seeing the mountain as it is in winter are much less. In addition, it is not known if the colors and the mountain are visible or if they are covered with snow. Finally, there is the possibility of seeing the mountain partially covered with snow.
Rainbow mountain and deglaciation
Geological experts rule out the possibility that the place where the mountain now stands was once a glacier, as some want to interpret the argument that it was deglaciation that exposed the mountain and its colorful bands. At the same time, locals point out that some 70 years ago the mountain was partially covered with snow. Even today, when the snow falls heavily during the rainy season, it covers the area again, but in winter, due to the lack of snow, the opposite happens and the landscape is picturesque, colorful and wonderful.
What colors make up the Rainbow Mountain?
The soil of the mountain has 7 colors according to the SGP (Geological Society of Peru) mineralogically present:
- Pink or fuchsia A mixture of red clay, mud and sand.
- Whitish sand of quartz and limestone.
- Lilac or lavender A mixture of clay, calcium carbonate and silicates.
- Red clay and clay.
- Green clays rich in iron magnesium, (mixture of iron and magnesium and copper oxide).
- Golden sandstone, yellow-brown sandstone and mold combined with sulfur.
How was the Vinicunca mountain formed?
The question of how the mountain arose takes us back millions of years. When the earth’s crust was forming and the different types of minerals, soil and sand were forming layer after layer, each with its own weight. When the Nazca and South American tectonic plates collided, all the sediments broke, fell and formed ridges, hills and slopes, exposing the layers vertically. The passage of time, winds, rain and all other atmospheric phenomena oxidized the minerals so that today it can be seen as it is and is known by many as the Mountain of the Seven Colors.
When was the Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca discovered?
Previously, only those who traveled the Ausangate route had the opportunity to see Winicunca, as it is known locally and in the indigenous language, Quechua. They got there and took pictures, and then hikers started visiting it.
Not long ago, in early 2016, the mountain became very popular. Then, thanks to social networks, it was shared hundreds and thousands of times and tourism agencies began to promote it. The municipalities of Checacupe and Cusipata opened roads to facilitate access. Thus, despite the weather conditions and the altitude, more than a thousand visitors a day were able to arrive.
Frequently asked questions
It is located only 100 km from the city of Cusco, in the province of Canchis, district of Pitumarca, very close to the Ausangate snow-capped mountain.
The colors are pink or fuchsia, whitish, purple or lavender, red, green, yellowish brown, mustard or gold and others in smaller proportion.
It was not discovered, it became known and viral in early 2015.
It is not attributed to one person, but thanks to social networks its existence was discovered.
By car it is about 4 hours, then you will have to walk for about 1 hour.
The hike takes about 1 hour, depending on your pace may vary, and there are also 2 routes.
Vinicunca is located at 5,200 meters above sea level. (+17000ft)
Do you have any doubts or questions about this destination?
Do not hesitate to contact us, in Carmen Tours we will be happy to help and guide you in everything you need.