The Epic Mountains of Cusco Trek
The Rainbow Mountain of Peru, Vinicunca, has grown increasingly popular with visitors over the last few years. This great spectacle of nature is located in the Vilcanota mountain range, near the highest snow-capped peak in the Cusco region, Ausangate (6,372 m / 20,905 ft), which is considered an important sacred deity for the Andean cosmovision. From pre-Inca times until today, this mountain has been a place of worship and offering.
If you want to visit the colorful mountain of seven colors but love the idea of a 3-day trek to maximize your experience, then the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain 3-day trek is for you. You’ll enjoy trekking through some of the most stunning Andean mountain scenery and get to visit the highest mountain in the Cusco region as well as the colorful Rainbow Mountain, all in one epic trip!
- Before You Go
- Packing List
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The Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain Trek 3D offers you an unforgettable experience in just three days! If you like to get off the normal tourist routes and are excited to explore some unique, rural parts of the Andes, this trek is for you. Book now as a couple, with a group of friends, or as a family. Let yourself be enveloped by this surreal landscape in the Andes of Peru in the company of the best adventure travel specialists in the city.
You’ll travel deserted roads and deep valleys on this route. You’ll enjoy the company of herds of alpacas and llamas while you gaze across crystalline lagoons at the foot of the imposing sacred mountain Ausangate. You’ll also challenge your physical resistance to reach the majestic Rainbow Mountain—a destination that so many travelers wish to visit.
You can picture it now: Hiking among glaciers and barren landscapes to suddenly see a mountain covered in many different colors appear in front of you! It’s not a dream; it’s a true natural wonder!
You’ll also be able to get up close and personal to small communities in these faraway regions of Cusco and see how they go about their daily lives and live off the land. So get ready for an amazing trip on a route not yet saturated by travelers.
Itinerary at a Glance
Cusco | Upis - Arapa Pass - Hatun Pucacocha
This morning, hike through glorious landscapes and observe the Ausangate mountain. This afternoon, you can enjoy a visit to a crystal clear lake before spending the night at the foot of the mountain.
Hatun Pucacocha | Puca Pass - Anantapata - Warmisaya Pass - Surinecocha
Hike to Puca Pass and witness stunning lakes before lunch. This afternoon, ascend to Warmisaya Pass before coming downhill to our camp in Surinecocha.
Surinecocha | Rainbow Mountain - Llacto - Cusco
This morning, make your way to Rainbow Mountain to witness stunning landscapes and learn all about the region. You’ll descend to our lunch from there, and then catch our private transport to continue on to your accommodation in Cusco.
What's it like
- This area is simply stunning, with sparkling lagoons, Mars-like red valleys, and dramatic landscapes that’ll feel like something from a dreamland.
- If you enjoy hiking, this region will whisk you off of your feet with the outstanding beauty of Rainbow Mountain and Ausangate.
- Wander away from the traditional tourist routes and discover some of Peru’s most beautiful hidden gems.
- Hike among herds of llamas and alpacas in remote native Quechua villages and appreciate the local inhabitants’ colorful clothing and daily rhythm.
Why Travel with us
Cusco | Upis - Arapa Pass - Hatun Pucacocha
Highlight of the day: Being accompanied by the enormous Ausangate Mountain all day.
Wonder at the Majesty of the Ausangate Glacier
We’ll collect your bright and early and transport you to the small town of Upis to begin our hike. You’ll hike for 3 hours to the lunch spot while you enjoy some beautiful scenery along the way, including the majestic Ausangate mountain.
This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a short rest before continuing on our way on an uphill climb to Arapa Pass. Then we’ll descend to our camp, Hatun Pucacocha, where you’ll enjoy some hot drinks and a delicious dinner. You’ll spend the night at the foot of the mighty Ausangate mountain!
Your exciting experience begins today at 5:00 am. We’ll stop by your hotel to pick you up and transfer you in our private transport for 3 hours to the starting point of our trek in the small town of Upis. There you’ll enjoy the first breakfast prepared by our talented chef, and you’ll be able to look out in wonder at an amazing landscape. This meal will give you all the nourishment and energy you need to get hiking.
After a short time, we’ll be on our way, and the adventure begins. We’ll gradually ascend over 3 hours towards the place where we have lunch. During this part of the journey, we’ll be able to observe the majestic Ausangate Mountain in the distance, so be sure to have your camera to hand. Our team will be waiting for you at our first stop with a hot herbal tea before you indulge in a delicious lunch. You’ll have time to enjoy a short rest and recuperate your energy before continuing the day’s hike.
After lunch, we’ll start a two-hour uphill hike towards the Arapa Pass (4,800 m / 15,748 ft). Then we’ll descend for three and a half hours to Hatun Pucacocha lake, where our camp is located. On the way, we’ll appreciate Yanacocha Lake as well. You’ll be at the very foot of the mighty Ausangate Mountain! You’ll be amazed at the size and sheer beauty of this icy peak.
Once in the camp, you can serve yourself some hot chocolate or coffee, and then a little later, dinner will be ready. It’ll then be time to retire to your bed for some well-earned rest.
Hatun Pucacocha | Puca Pass - Anantapata - Warmisaya Pass - Surinecocha
Highlight of the day: Observing the astoundingly beautiful lagoons among the snowy peaks.
Glorious Glaciers and Lavish Lagoons
Start your day with a hot coca tea and tasty breakfast before we begin our day’s walking. We’ll head up to the Puca Pass and enjoy some gorgeous scenery and perhaps even a condor in flight. You’ll also get some fantastic photo opportunities of the glacial lagoons before we make our way to Anantapata, our lunch spot.
We’ll hike up to the Warmisaya Pass in the afternoon to enjoy new views of the Ausangate Mountain, Rainbow Mountain, and other peaks. It’ll then be time to descend to our camp in Surinecocha for a delicious dinner and some rest.
We’ll wake you up this morning with a hot cup of coca leaf tea to help you acclimatize and start the day in the best way possible. Did you know that this leaf has been used for centuries for the same purpose? As soon as you open your tent, you’ll get to observe the magical lights of dawn on the huge glacier that glistens and sparkles in the sunlight. Then we’ll enjoy a delicious and nutritious breakfast to help us on our way.
Our walk will start with a two-hour uphill climb towards the Puca Pass (4,870 m / 15,978 ft ). Along the way, you’ll be able to spot an amazing eroded mountain, beautiful high Andean valleys, and, if you’re lucky, the majestic flight of the condor, the largest flying bird in the world. You’ll also witness the beauty of several glacial lagoons, such as Huchuy Pucacocha and Hatun Pucacocha. Make sure you capture some memorable photos of these picturesque sights.
A little later, we’ll descend for one hour and a half to Anantapata, our lunch spot, for another delicious meal and then ascend for two hours to the Warmisaya Pass (4,985 m /16,355 ft). From here, you’ll be able to appreciate the sacred mountain of Ausangate from a new angle and the Rainbow Mountain, as well as the endless Vilcanota mountain range.
Then we’ll descend for 1 hour to Surinecocha (4,800 m / 15,748 ft), where our camp is located. When we arrive, you’ll be greeted with a hot drink to warm you up. Before a highly-deserved night of rest, you’ll enjoy the dinner prepared by our chef and his assistant. You’ll definitely be amazed at the delicacies they prepare so far up in the mountains!
Surinecocha | Rainbow Mountain - Llacto - Cusco
Highlight of the day: Seeing the beautiful array of colors of Vinicunca appear for the first time.
Stare in Awe at the Astoundingly Beautiful Rainbow Mountain
We’ll wake up early today to head to the incredible Rainbow Mountain before the other tourists arrive. We’ll stop along the first section to enjoy our first views of Vinicunca before we continue to the mountain itself. You’ll be able to spend plenty of time there as you learn all about the importance of the place and take in the astounding landscapes.
You’ll then make your way down from the mountain to our private transport. You’ll lunch here before continuing on your way to your accommodation in Cusco. We’ll drop you off at the door for some well-deserved rest.
You’re in for another early start today as our trek reaches a climax. After having an energizing breakfast, we’ll head out to explore the famous Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain. We’ll start ascending for two hours to the pass located at 5,100 m / 16,732 ft. From here, you’ll get a beautiful view of the spectacular Rainbow Mountain, which you’re sure to feel as though you’re in a dream when looking at this creation of Mother Nature!
Our guide will explain why these mountains are so special. Its impressive display of colors is all due to sedimentary layers of minerals that were exposed by erosion. Remember that this type of phenomenon can only be seen in two places around the world: Peru and China. Make the most of your time to connect with the energy of the mountains and enjoy this truly unique landscape.
After spending plenty of time looking out over the surreal landscape, we’ll walk for an hour to Llacto, where a tasty lunch awaits us. We’ll finish our day and epic adventure with a 3-hour drive in our private transport to drop you off at the door of your accommodation in Cusco.
At Salkantay Trekking, we specify the included and non-included services under all the tour itineraries listed on our website. We take care of all the logistics, but please pay attention to the details to avoid missing anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
Permits & Entrance Tickets
Entrance for the Ausangate Trek
Entrance for the Rainbow Mountain
High Quality Service & Safety
You’ll meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. There, we’ll provide you with the duffle bags, which our horses will carry. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Guide
English and spanish speaking official tour guide. All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. We choose them for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and sincere desire to proudly share in our culture and history. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
Private Camping Equipment
You’ll have spacious dining and kitchen tents where you can enjoy your food without problems. In addition, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our horses).
Portable Travel Toilet
One Duffle Bag
On the trek, you can carry your personal belongings up to a maximum weight of 7 kg / 15.4 lb (this weight includes your sleeping bag).
Medical Kit or First AID Kit
All Salkantay Trekking guides have received specialized training in first aid. We hold mandatory training sessions with our guides every February. Your guide will always carry a first aid kit to face basic emergencies (altitude sickness, travelers' diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) as well as oxygen. If necessary, we’ll evacuate you from the path as quickly as possible and ensure that you arrive at a clinic for treatment.
Extras Included in our Service
We believe that attention to small details is what sets us apart from other local companies. You’ll receive a small sleeping pillow, a cover to protect your backpack on the road, and a rain poncho.
24/7 Customer Service
We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication with Salkantay Trekking leading up to your trek.
Our main priority will always be the tranquillity of our clients. All of our guides are prepared for emergencies in the mountains; however, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps you feel more secure. For this reason, each Salkantay Trekking guide has a satellite phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to call anywhere in the world in case of an emergency.
Best Sleeping Tents
Salkantay Trekking uses the best equipment to ensure your safety and comfort. Every 2 people will share Eureka Timberline or Mountain Hard Wear tents with a capacity for 4 people.
3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, and 2 Dinners
Our chef prepares the best dishes in the middle of the mountain. Our passengers love our food! We respect all diets (vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost), so let us know if you have any particular allergies or restrictions on your reservation form and remind your guide during the briefing. You’ll enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to hot drinks and snacks.
Water on the trail
We’ll provide you boiled, filtered, and cooled water during your hike. For this, you need to bring a camel bag or an empty bottle (we recommend a capacity of 2 liters). You’ll be able to fill your bottles during each meal.
Wake up tea
Every morning at the campsite, you'll be woken up with a cup of hot coca tea. Our staff will provide you the tea in your tent so that you will be warm from inside out before you start your day.
Tea Time or Happy Hour
Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide you popcorn, biscuits/cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you won't have to wait until dinner to relax, warm-up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
Snacks on the trail daily
Before starting your trekking, your tour guide will provide you a cloth bag with local fruits, cookies, chocolate, caramels, etc. Every morning, we’ll refill it so that you can enjoy your snacks during the walk.
One cloth snack bag per person
To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we'll give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
You’ll be provided with a small towel and soap before each meal to clean your hands.
- Day 1: You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Upis, the starting point of the trek.
- Day 3: Once you complete the tour, we will take you back to the door of your hotel in Cusco.
On days 1, 2, and 3, cargo mules will carry all our camping equipment, from the personal tents, clothing, and sleeping bags, until extra dining and kitchen tents, food, water, tables, chairs, and a gas bottle stove; besides your baggage allowance (7 kg / 15.4 lb). Our muleteers will be responsible for your duffle bag and personal items.
What Is Not Included?
You can rent one from our company if you don’t have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect you from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy-form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips.
- US$ 15.00 per person
Walking Sticks (with rubber tips) can be very useful on rough terrain and for ascending and descending. You can rent a set from our company if you’d like.
- US$ 15.00 per person
Day 3 Dinner
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the norm on any excursion in Peru. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome, especially considering the hard work they do. Typically, group participants collect their tips to hand out to the horsemen and chefs together.
Additional costs or delays beyond our control
Landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to a safety concern, illness, pandemia, government policy changes, political instability, strikes, act of God, etc.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as carefree as possible. In this section, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
How many days do I need to acclimate in Cusco before the Trek?
It’s very important to be well acclimated to the altitude before exerting yourself on a trek. We recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the trek starts to help you adjust and avoid possible problems with altitude sickness while on the trek.
You might have already been in another area of Peru at a high altitude before arriving in Cusco. In that case, we still recommend you have a whole day in Cusco to rest, recover from your travel, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cusco before departing for the trek.
Here some suggestions for activities to do in the Cusco vicinity before starting your adventure trek:
Briefing or Informative Meeting
All information meetings and briefings are held in our main office in Cusco (or your hotel) at 5:00 pm, one night before the tour begins. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. If you’re unable to attend, you must coordinate another time by email, by phone or at the Salkantay Trekking office.
Trek Balance Payment (in Cusco)
If you still have a pending balance, you must pay it 2 days before your hike/tour. Otherwise, your trip reservation will not be confirmed.
If possible, it would be greatly appreciated if you could settle the remaining balance for the trek/tour in cash, either in US dollars or the local currency, at our office in Cusco. You can withdraw funds from various ATMs located along Avenida Sol, offering both US dollars and Peruvian Soles. Alternatively, you have the option to pay using a credit/debit card or PAYPAL, either online or in person, but please note that a 5% service charge will be applied by our payment gateway (Niubiz) and PAYPAL. We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept bank checks or traveler's checks as forms of payment for the balance.
Duffel Bag or Canvas Case
You’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. Our horses will carry them, and the horsemen will hand them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 60 x 24 x 22 cm (23.6 x 9.45 x 8.66 in).
A maximum of 7 kg / 15.4 lb is allowed for each duffel bag, including the weight of your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes, and other personal items.
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the trip, your main luggage can be stored at our office (you can organize it with us on the briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you won’t need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags; put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (in the unlikely case of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing everything). It’s best to put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Pick up of guests
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historical Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pickup time in the briefing session, but please keep in mind that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an old city, meaning it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, then physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, the guide will be the one who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if such modifications are possible.
Strikes and demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations are common in Peru, and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your trip as originally planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
Under these circumstances, tours may also be canceled. In case of changes or cancellations, everything will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our transport, tents or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
"Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain Trek 3 Days" can leave any day of the week, from March through January. We don’t operate this itinerary in February because of the rainy season & maintenance of the route.
2023 Land Cost
Group Price: US$ 350.00 per person.
Required Pre-payment: US$ 200.00 per person.
Balance (Cusco): US$ 150.00 (Commonly paid in Cusco after the briefing).
This small-group journey is guaranteed to operate with just two guests.
Notice that PayPal charges a fee of 5%, which we ask the client to cover since it's due to the use of its service. This tax is just for online deposits so that you will pay the remaining in cash (the briefing day in Cusco) without charges.
Extensions & Offers
There are several extensions you can include to your Peru Adventure.
- Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Sacred Valley: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- City Tour: US$ 30.00 US$ 20.00
Once your booking has been confirmed, we guarantee the price won’t increase, whatever the circumstances. So please, before booking, ensure you’ve read all our important tour information.
Thank you for your interest in having an adventure travel experience in Peru curated by Salkantay Trekking. Please take a moment to complete our short form, so one our friendly Adventure Consultants could provide you all the information for your trip of a lifetime in Peru.
Our Pledge | Your privacy is respected and protected. The Salkantay Trekking Company will never share, sell, or make public any of your personal contact information to third parties.
Remember | One of our Travel Experts will contact you soon to confirm the availability of the trip you chose, give you more information, and/or provide you alternative options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958 191 179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.
Note | Due to the rainy season and trail maintenance, we don't offer this trek during the whole month of february. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, we are working to provide you a better service!