At an elevation of 16,500ft, this is the incredible Rainbow Mountains (Vinicunca) of Peru. Only discovered for tourism in 2015, the formation of the colorful sediments of the mountain give this place a truly unique and surreal look. There are quite a few variations in how to explore rainbow mountain, from single day to multi-day hiking and camping adventures. Given our time limitations in the area, we teamed up with FlashPackerConnect from a premium day-hike experience starting in Cusco – with private guides and a small group of 6 for possibly one of the best hiking experiences I’ve done in my life.
The day starts with a suuuper early morning pickup at 2:15am, and a 3 hour bus ride to a small town close to the hike’s starting point for a quick and delicious home-cooked breakfast in a small Peruvian house. The ride is long and cold, so bring a pillow to sleep on! The FlashPacker team provides blankets which really helps to get some rest before the hike. The views on the hike are stunning – morning clouds rolling through the mountain pass; clearing with the rising sun to reveal the fields of Alpacas and towering snow-capped peaks in the distance. Hike starts around 6:30am, and the early start really pays off – beating the crowds and having the whole mountain to yourself at the end before the day’s crowd rolls in. You get back to the start of the hike around 1:30pm, have lunch back at the house, and then depart back to Cusco.
Big ups to Unraveled Studios for the amazing footage.
What I liked Most
Running through a field of alpacas at 15 thousand feet above sea level!
- Leave no later than 2:15am to get the whole mountain to yourself and to avoid the tourist crowds
- Take a few days to acclimatize in Cuzco. Hiking at this elevation is brutal
- For an additional cost you can rent horses that will take you most of the journey. Definitely take this option, so it gives you the option to rest and relax on the horse as needed
Although the experience with FlashPackerConnect was amazing, it's very pricey at $150 USD per person, and we had friends that went on private tours during the week for a fraction of the cost (sourced just off the street in Cuzco). FlashPacker also offer packages for combining other tours like Machu Picchu, so check that option out on their website to reduce some of the costs if you have time. If that's within budget for you, then absolutely recommend this company!
Additional info on transportation
Pickup and drop off by the FlashPackerConnect team
Additional info on food
really nice home cooked breakfast and lunch provided