A Hike To The New Rainbow Mountain In Peru.

One of the top sites to visit on a day trip from Cusco is the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, a natural wonder that was discovered only back in 2015.
With the first guided tours were available here January 2016, but now only two years later about every single of the hundreds of travel agencies in Cusco offer one-day trip, and this natural wonder now sees more than 1000 tourists a day.

While every single tourist I did meet in my hostels in Cusco and Lima told stories about an uncounterable hike with a horrendous trail conditions. Overcrowded with tourists and horses. Don’t Believe me? Read this blog post from a fellow traveler.

The Rainbow Mountain as seen from my Drone.

The famous site requires you to get up ridiculously early in the morning at 3/4 AM to undertake 4hour car ride before hiking 3hours on the very bad maintained trail.

But Fear not, there’s an ALTERNATIVE Rainbow Mountain. That´s easier to visit too. That cost a bit more, but will be able to sleep into 5 AM, and the hiking trail only takes around 20minitues, and it´s well maintained.

And best of all there are almost no other tourists there at all. Any backside? Yes, it will cost you 95 USD compared to the 30/40 USD that it will cost you to visit the touristy one, but I think it´s worth every extra dollar.

Rainbow Mountain
The rainbow Mountain and surrounding valley.

The day starts opp with an early 5 am pick up from your hostel/hotel in Cusco.

I fumbled into the pickup van and I then slept for another hour and a half while the van drives along highway 3S, before you suddenly take off the highway onto a gravel road that results in no more sleep and a rather bumpy road, half waken will you pass through some remote villages, stunning carved potato terraces, similar to the rice terraces found in Asia.

Just here the human-made terraces along the cliffs are for potatoes and not rice like the ones in Asia.

It doesn’t take long before you see your first groups of Alpacas and Lamas on the way, you might even stop off for a bit with a few larger groups to take some photos of the cute animals.

Rainbow Mountain
A group of cute Alpacas

While on the touristy Rainbow Mountain you will have hike from 4300m (14,108 ft) to 5200m (17.060ft) on the famously bad path, will you on the alternative hike will the van stop at 4900m (16.076 ft) and only have to hike up for another 150m (492feet)or so, along a nice and easy path.

But already on the newly constructed parking lot will see evidence of the Rainbow Mountain being close by, actually next to where the van parks are the much smaller example of the Rainbow Mountain.

Rainbow Mountain
Already next to the parking lot will you see evidence of Rainbow Mountain.

I’m very used to high altitude hikes so for me it only took 20minitues to cover the 150m (492ft) up altitude climb. The other people in my group used around 40miniutes.

Rainbow Mountain.
The path is leading up to the Rainbow Mountain.
Walking along the path.
From the top of the Path, where I was sitting for 25min waiting for the rest of my group.

So while I reached the top on my own, so could I enjoy complete solitude for 20miniutes with a fantastic view of the rainbow mountain before the rest of my group of 5 arrived.
On a completely clear day would I have been able to enjoy the view of the Ausangate Glacier at 6375m (20,915 ft) from up here.

But Unfurtuently so wasn´t I that lucky, so I could only enjoy the view of the stunning Rainbow Mountain, and a few groups of Alpacas wondering by nearby.

rainbow mountain
A few Alpacas in front of the rainbow mountain.

Why Is The Rainbow Mountain, so color full?

The reason we see the different colors is largely due to weathering, mineralogy and different environmental conditions over millions and millions of years, formed layers. Of one another, creating the colorful patterns, the different colors are different minerals;
Green = Copper, Red = Iron, Yellow = Sulfur, and the brownish = sandstone.

Additional Information about the Rainbow Mountain.

What To Pack:
*Windproof/rain jacket.
*A warm sweater.
*Good Shoes.
*Sunblock and Sunglasses, the sun is really strong at 5000m+ altitude.

There´s new clean outdoor toilet at the parking lot for 1 Soles.
Entrance Ticket:
10 Soles be sure to check with the travel agency if it´s included in the price or not.

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There´s a new and alternative rainbow mountain in Peru, a easy day trip from the world heritage city of Cusco
There´s a new and alternative rainbow mountain in Peru, an easy day trip from the world heritage city of Cusco


  1. Wow I didn’t know there was more than one, but I guess it makes sense, and I’m sure there are dozens of others in the region that share the same mineral composition but may be more covered in vegetation or settlements. That’s so sad that the main one has become so crowded and unenjoyable though! Over-tourism can be a huge problem.

  2. Thank you very much for this great explanation of the alternative tour! Do you know which days of the week exploorperu is going there (group departures which single travellers can join)? I can’t find this information in their website. Thanks a lot and safe travels!

    1. Hello Julia. They don´t have any set days of going as far as I know, but they do run group tours that´s what I did. They did 3 trips a week depending on wheater in February.

  3. I would love to see this!! It’s such a great idea to visit this less-touristy and more easily accessible alternative. Peru has always been one of the South American countries I’m most keen to visit, and I would have to make time for this if and when I go. I have to admit that one of my favourite parts would be seeing the llamas and alpacas – it kind of reminds me of seeing herds of wild reindeer when driving up from Helsinki into Finnish Lapland!

  4. Thanks for the info! I’m going on Saturday. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into a group tour because no one else signed up that day, so it’ll be just me and the tour guide… kind of nervous about that. But Exploor Peru seems very professional!

    1. Hello Laura.
      I really liked exploor Peru and can highly recommend them 🙂 even if it’s only you will you have a great time, I went on the trip on my own and got to know some great people

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