Planning a trip to Peru can be tough when there’s so much to see and do. It can make choosing activities and tours a difficult task. In recent years, the different ‘rainbow mountains’ have become very popular with residents and visitors alike.
The popularity is due to the unique color formations on the side of these mountains that make them ‘literally’ look like a rainbow in the middle of the Andes. The different shades and tones are made from natural minerals in the earth, including sulfur, calcium, and quartz.
On any one of these hikes, you get to see some wonderful landscapes and soak up the fresh air of the Andes. They can all be done on a day trip from the city of Cusco, so are easy to fit into any schedule.
- Witness a once in a lifetime view of the spectacular mountains and their stunning mountainous backdrop.
- Travel through the hills and get a glimpse of local life in the small villages along the way.
- Spot llamas and alpacas on your hike.
- Take some of the best photos you’ve ever snapped to remember your trip for a lifetime.
- Enjoy a real adventure in one of the most stunning places on Earth.
By far the most popular up til now, because it was the first to open to the public, is Vinicunca. It’s a few hour’s drive from Cusco and an early start, but well worth it. Along the way you can enjoy a picturesque journey through the hills as you spot small villages and locals going about their daily lives as you head up to 5,200 masl.
There are 3 different routes to the mountain, and each takes you on a walk in the wilderness as you look out for llamas and alpacas. The highlight of the day is, of course, when you get to the summit of Vinicunca. From here you get the most fantastic panoramic view with the rainbow mountain taking center stage. This is an exciting option for any visitor to Peru.
Another option is the Palcoyo Mountain, visited by far fewer tourists than Vinicunca. It’s an off the beaten path hike that’s excellent for those who like to get away from the crowds. This doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful. You get some fantastic views of the mountains and the rolling hills that surround it. There are actually 3 mountains to observe on this route.
You can take a day trip to Palcoyo, which is a 3 hour drive from Cusco. As with any high altitude hike, you can expect to get a little chilly. You’ll go up to 4,900 masl on this trek. The walk itself is easier than the others as it’s relatively flat, making it perfect for any level hiker.
Pallay Punchu Mountain
This mountain is also just a few hours from Cusco, so can be visited in a day. The hike is a little tough, so we recommend getting some practice in at home before you come. The mountain itself looks like a person wearing the traditional Andean poncho, which is where the name comes from.
On this hike, you’ll head up to 4,700 masl and get to witness some amazing sights of the landscape around you. The mountain looks incredible with all its colors. You’ll also get to see a beautiful lagoon and experience the local culture on the route. This is the perfect day trip for those who like a challenge and want to get away from the city and crowds.