Rainbow Mountain Cusco
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Rainbow Mountain Cusco

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Rainbow Mountain Cusco

The mountain of the 7 Colors (also called Vinicunca or simply Rainbow Moutain Cusco) is one of the new and best attractions of Peru. Located more than 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco, on an altitudinal summit located at 5,200 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) It is a mountainous formation dyed in various shades product of the complex combination of minerals. The slopes and summit are dyed in various shades including red, purple, green, yellow, pink, and other variations. This tourist attraction was surrounded by ice not many years ago. Since 2016, this place has received hundreds of visitors a day becoming, along with Machu Picchu, one of the most visited places in Cusco-Peru. Now discover the famous Rainbow Mountain and start planning your next vacation in Cusco. Below is all the information about the 7 Colors Mountain:


Where is the Rainbow Mountain Cusco Peru?

The Winikunka or Vinicunca mountain is behind the imposing Ausangate, which is part of the Vilcanota mountain range in Cusco. It is a valley irrigated by the Pitumarca River that is born, precisely, in the lower part of the Ausangate and that flows into the great Vilcanota River. The Vinicunca massifs belong to the peasant community of Pampachiri.


Origin of the Rainbow Mountain Cusco:

Its name comes from two Quechua voices: "Wini", for the rounded and heavy black stones that abound in the area, which they called "wini rumi" (stone). The second is "Kunka" which means neck, because the narrowness of the hill resembles a neck step. Initially, the muleteers of the high plateau and the settlers knew it like "Qolla Ñan" or "way of the Qollas".


How to get?:

It starts from the city of Cusco and to the towns of Andahuaylillas, Quiquijana and Checacupe. After three hours by car or tour bus you will arrive at Pitumarca, place where the community of Qheshiuno is located, starting point of the walk. The ascent on foot lasts one hour, approximately, until arriving at a horse station, where the arrieros are always willing to help with the ascent. The horses will take you up to a certain point in the climb. Then you have to climb on foot to reach the peak, at 5,200 meters above sea level, where there is a viewpoint. From there you can observe in all its splendor the mountains in a 360 degree view. They are the domains of the great Apu Ausangate.


Cusco to Rainbow Cusco


The climate, typical of the highest areas of Cusco, is cold. Rain, wind and altitude sickness (or soroche) can be the biggest obstacles for travelers. Temperatures can drop zero degrees centigrade. The best time to carry out this adventure is during the dry season (from April to October) when fluvial precipitations are less likely. If you plan to visit during the rainy season (November to March) bring a rain poncho with you.


Flora and fauna:

The incredible geography of the place is the scene of typical animals from high Andean areas such as llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. The inhabitants of the area raise horses to offer them as transport to visitors. Due to the height of this region, the ichu or natural boil of the Andes abounds.


Rainbow Mountain Peru from Cusco

You can find Minerals at Vinicunca:


The Rainbow Mountain Peru or Vinicunca is due to "a complex geological history of marine, lake and river sediments," according to a report from the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco.These sediments, transported by the water that once covered the area, date from between the tertiary and quaternary periods, that is, from about 65 to two million years ago. Over time, the sediments were forming layers (with different sizes of grains) that today are seen as the fringes that attract tourists so much. The movement of the tectonic plates of the area elevated these sediments until they became mountains. Muñoz and the study of the Cultural Landscape Office detail the composition of each strip according to its color.


  • Pink or fuchsia: mixture of red clay, fangolitas (mud) and sand.
  • White: sandstone (quartz sand) and limestone.
  • Purple or lavender: marga (mixture of clay and calcium carbonate) and silicates.
  • Red: argillites and clays.
  • Green: clays rich in ferro magnesia (mixture of iron and magnesium) and copper oxide.
  • Yellowish brown, mustard or golden: limonites, calcareous sandstones rich in sulfur minerals (combined with sulfur).


Trip to the Rainbow Mountain Peru: 

Tour of the Rainbow Mountain Cusco. This picturesque summit used to be an attractive road to the 7-day Ausangate mountain. Over the years, this mountain gained popularity on its own. Today, the most extended way to visit this summit is through a tour. Most include transportation, food, tickets and professional guide. In the city of Cusco there are many tourist agencies offering these services.

Travel on your own?

It is also possible to visit the Rainbow Mountain on your own. To do this, the visitor must take a bus to Sicuani from the city of Cusco (2 hours and 40 minutes away). Once there, take a bus to the town of Quesiuno. Then start a walk (you can also hire a horse transport) to the Mountain of 7 Colors. The price of the entrance ticket is 10 soles (10 PEN).

Difficulty of the Rainbow  Mountain:

The walk of 3 or 4 hours (depends on the physical condition of the tourist) is not dangerous and demands a moderate-high physical effort. There are sections of considerable slopes in ascent and descent. However, one of the biggest difficulties is the cold weather and the icy wind. The altitude of the area can cause altitude sickness or soroche. It is recommended a previous acclimatization of 1 or 2 days in the city of Cusco (highly suggested to take a city tour).

Recommendations - Rainbow Mountain Cusco:

  • Spend a day or two acclimating in the city of Cusco. 
  • Wear warm clothes to do the walk. 
  • If you do not consider yourself in good physical condition for the walk, rent a horse to one of the locals. 
  • That day, do not forget a hat , sunscreen, jacket, pants, shoes ideal for trekking and a poncho for rain.

Cusco RainBow Mountain

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