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Ray Gudrups

Travelled to 28 countries / regions

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Visited Rainbow Mountain in May 2018

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Americas > Peru > Rainbow Mountain > Useful Info
Submitted on Nov 25, 2018 Useful Info

Tips for hiking the Rainbow Mountain in Peru

How to get to Rainbow Mountains in Peru

Rainbow Mountain, is a such a stunning place I almost don’t want to share it with people as it could get way too popular.


While Machu Picchu is still the most visited place in Peru, we enjoyed Rainbow Mountains way better.

User submitted photo of Rainbow Mountain

Before you consider to conquer it consider this

  • Are you fit enough to hike in high altitude
  • Are you ready to hike for several days or only one
  • Are you ok with hordes of tourists
  • Do you want to hike on your own or with organized tour?


There are two Rainbow Mountains in Peru –

the most popular Vinicunca

The hike to the top is not easy. Constantly changing weather conditions, high altitude, can be a challenge even for experienced hikers.

  • Location: Three hours east of Cusco by car, near Ausangate Mountain
  • Starting Altitude: 4,450 meters
  • Ending Altitude: 5,035 meters
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 meters
  • Tour Cost: $70-150+ US (based on your budget, tour size & extras)
  • Best Season to Visit: May-September or April & October
  • Hike Options: One-day trek - between 12-27 km, or multi-day 5-7 day treks.
  • Which Tour Operator Should You Use? wait until you get to Cusco, & choose your tour agent there. Booking online costs around $150 . Booking a tour in Cusco can be dramatically cheaper
  • How to Make the Hike Easier: Rent a horse for part or ALL of the hike. This should cost you about $22-40 US extra.
  • Are There Toilets? There are squat toilets along all the way


and recently discovered Polcayo rainbow mountain.

Location Four hours east of Cusco by car.

  • Starting Altitude: 4,320 meters
  • Ending Altitude: 4.900 meters
  • Elevation Gain: 480 meters
  • Tour Cost: $30-100+ US (based on your budget, tour size & extras)
  • Best Season to Visit: May-September or April & October
  • Hike Options: One-day trek of couple hour hike
  • Which Tour Operator Should You Use? wait until you get to Cusco, & choose your tour agent there. Booking online costs around $150 . Booking a tour in Cusco can be dramatically cheaper
  • Are There Toilets? There are a toilet at the Polcayo village and in the parking lot before you start your hike


Both mountains are beautiful to visit, although Vinicunca attracts more visitors and can be overcrowded.


If you rent a car – Polcayo can be reached on your own and only with couple of more tourists visiting –

  • From Cusco set a destination to Combapata village.
  • Just before the village and crossing the red bridge you will notice small road on your left
  • Follow that road for 30km and 1h until the end and you will reach the Polcayo mountain parking lot
  • From there hike up for 1h


Important

  • Don’t hike to Rainbow Mountain during your first few days in Cusco ~ you need to acclimate!
  • Bring extra layers, a very warm hat (alpaca wool is great & sold all over Cusco), & good gloves!
  • Bring at least 2 liters of water! Staying hydrated will help you with the effects of altitude sickness.
  • I would recommend bringing hiking shoes