Rainbow Mountain: A Backpacker’s Guide to Peru

Rainbow Mountain: A Backpacker’s Guide to Peru

We visited Rainbow Mountain as part of the longer Ausangate trek, but most tourists choose to do it as a day trip.

The Rainbow Mountain is located about a four hour drive from Cusco, so unless you have a car you basically have no choice but to do it through a tour agency. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, check out any of the Israeli agencies around the city – they usually have the best prices. Also, keep in mind that you have to pay a 10 soles entrance fee at the start of the trail.

Unfortunately for us, no one mentioned that the mountain is located at a staggering 5,000 m. The trailhead starts at nearly 4,500 m, and you follow the path all the way up. Apparently, I had lost a lot of my acclimatization from Huayhuash while we were in Lima, and I struggled to breathe as we climbed. The trail itself is not difficult, but we went slowly because of the lack of oxygen. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach the top, but if you’re fully acclimatized it should take you less.

From the top you have a great view of the mountain, which, as advertised, is striped with many colors. The downside was that the site had the most tourists that we’ve encountered so far on our travels, which slightly ruined it for us.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Roi and I at Rainbow Mountain

Going back down to the parking lot was much easier and only took about an hour, after which we drove another four hours to the start of the Ausangate trek. If you’re doing a day trip, the tour will take you straight back to Cusco.

Worth it? To be honest, we thought it was slightly overrated and the amount of tourists was insane, but if you have some spare time in Cusco it’s a nice place to see.

What to bring: warm clothes (it’s cold and windy at the top), sunscreen, hiking shoes, camera, water, snacks.

– Iris & Roi

Do you have thoughts or questions about Rainbow Mountain? Let us know in the comments!

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