The Seven Colors mountain (Vinicunca) is one of the majestic places on the way to the Apu Ausangate. It's named one of the places you need to go before dying by National Geographic. The Rainbow Mountain, “Vinicunca” or Ausangate is a height of 6384 meters in altitude which makes it the 5th highest in Peru. It’s located in the Pitumarca district, the providence of Canchis, region of Cusco, in the south of Peru at 6.372 AMSL.
You need to take a bus from Cusco to Pitumarca (it lasts 3 hours approx.). After that, you need to go to Ocefina Town (Chillca) and this is the starting point to reach the vicuna. You need to walk 4 hours to reach Machuraccay Town from where you can finally descend to the Apu Vinicunca. From this part of the trek, you can appreciate the Valley’s beauty like little lakes, streams, etc.
The colors of the mountain area due to its mineral composition: The pink color is because of the red clay, mud, and sand. The white color is because of the white quartz sandstone. The brownish-gray, brown, and purple color because of the limonite and marl (rich in calcium carbonate).
The Peruvian Andes Mountains usually produce their climate. Rainbow Mountain is located at 5,000 AMSL so climate changes can happen at any moment.
Depending on the descent path, the trek has sections with high degrees of difficulty so it’s recommendable to have a good physical condition. The locals offer their horses for rent and the prices go from 30 to 80 soles (10 to 25US$) and this will depend on the time you want to travel by horse. On the other hand, you could find other basic but helpful services.
Keep in mind that everything mentioned in this article is based on the short route to the 7-colored mountain, the one-way walk is a maximum of 40 minutes, and the return is about 30 minutes, the walk is a hillside, and it does not include a lot of climbing.
There is the long route that includes a 4-hour walk in total, which we do not recommend because it is too tiring, take the short route that starts from the Llacto community.
Vinicunca: The rainbow mountain
The way to get to this majestic place allows you to delight your eyes with beautiful landscapes. You also get to know beautiful birds and native animals. Coming up next we give you some advice to reach Rainbow Mountain without any problems: You need to take a 3 hour trip to reach Chilca, a place where you start a 3 hour trek (4 km ½ approx.) until you get to the Rainbow Mountain. You also can avoid the trek by hiring a particular car or a tour.
To travel to the Rainbow Mountain you need to get prepared physically because you’ll accomplish a long trek. Don’t forget to carry out the following things:
Between April and August, there is a dry season with warm temperatures in Peru. This time is considered the most popular time to visit Rainbow Mountain and you could combine a visit to Cusco city with a walking tour, discover the Sacred Valley or add a few extra days for your hike to Machu Picchu. The most popular in Peru is the Inca Trail tours. But you should remember that the Inca Trail only allows a certain number of tourists, so book early!
It's sold out! Don´t worry, you can reserve the alternative hike to the Inca Trail such as Salkantay Trek tours, Lares Trek, Inca Quarry Trail, Inca Jungle Trek and others, these trails are not popular, but you will have the best experience.
In case you want a relaxing trip to Machu Picchu. There are Machu Picchu tours from Cusco and you can choose the best option for you.