Vinicunca: The rainbow mountain in Cusco Peru

The only blog you need to read with 2020 updated information about Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, Peru.

vinicunca cusco

If you visit Cusco, you will be surprised by all the magic places you can find in the once capital of the Inca empire. One of the main attractions that are a must for all travelers in Peru its the Rainbow mountain.

It has become the second most demanded tour in the Cusco region, just behind Machu Picchu. The reason? The beautiful landscapes with their colored mountains attract the attention of hundreds of travelers every year.

But this incredible attraction its kinda new, it was discovered around 2015 when the climate change melted the ice that covered its colors for millions of years. So around 2016 the first tours to the rainbow mountain started to operate from Cusco. Even one especial road was made for this reason only.

Curiosity’s about the Rainbow mountain

cusco comunities

Its real name its Vinicunca but…

The original name its a word in Quechua: Winikunka

A sacred land

The Incas used to call “Apu” which means “God”, to several mountains to remember its real magical power.

Vinicunca: The life-giver

In the Inca cosmovision, this land provided the energy to fertilize the Pachamama.

The “Month of the wind”

The locals make payments to the land doing rituals during august, giving thanks for the harvest of that year and asking the favor of the “Apu” for the next year.

The local communities

The locals in the Vinicunca have a quiet life provided from agriculture, and now the tourism. Their people have a life full of color and tradition.

Furry friends on the way

It’s the natural habitat of Vicuñas, Llamas, and Alpacas. So don’t miss the opportunity to take a selfie with this cutie animals.

Have you heard about the red valley?

When you do the trek to rainbow mountain, you have the opportunity to visit an incredible red-colored valley with beautiful views. Just ask your tour guide.

What causes the colors of the Rainbow Mountain

The colors of the mountains are formed by the atmospherical conditions and especially, the time. During millions of years, the movement of the tectonic plaques where accumulating layers of minerals with different colors. Intense green, purple, yellow, red, and blue make the amazing range of colors of the Rainbow mountain.

rainbow mountain llamas

Keep in mind the altitude

If you are thinking to visit the rainbow mountain, you need to take in count that you will do a trek all the way up from 4600 m.a.s.l to the top that it is located at 5200 m.a.s.l.

I recommend you to make sure you are properly acclimatized before you do the trek. At that high altitude the level of oxygen it’s quite low, so if you don’t want to suffer any altitude sickness try to do this tour a few days after your arrival to Cusco, which will give your body enough time to get used to the altitude.

The coca tea helps a lot, and if you can chew the leaves during the trek it’s even better. So remember to buy a small bag of coca leaves when you get to Cusco, which will help you a lot to acclimatize from the very beginning.

Best time of the year to visit the mountain

The best time of the year to visit the rainbow mountain its between April and October, its dry season and the days are fresh and sunny. On days like this, the colors get a more intense tone and you can get amazing pictures.

Sometimes people climb the mountain at a different time of the year and get disappointed when they get to the top and they found the mountain covered by snow or fog. The rainy season it’s between November and February, and at this time of the year, you need to at least check the forecast to see the weather on the day you are planning to hike the rainbow mountain.

Take everything you need to climb the Rainbow mountain

When travelers are hiking the rainbow mountain, some of them, forget that they are about to do a trek up to 5200 m.a.s.l. So I recommend you to do your checklist and keep in mind to bring this:

rainbow mountain equipment

How to get to the rainbow mountain from Cusco?

You may fell tented to go on your own, but in this case, it just doesn’t worth it. For just 30$ you can get an excellent experience guided with a local expert and the best part its that, unlike the other operators, Rainbow Mountain Travels will pick you up at 3:00 AM so you will get to the top first and will be able to avoid crowds and get amazing pictures. For more information about this tour click here.