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Rainbow Mountain in Vinicunca

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Rainbow Mountain in Vinicunca

Full Day
  • Adventure
  • Exploration
  • Hiking
Pitumarca, Vinicunca

Expedition overview

Rainbow Mountain is the most beautiful mountain in Peru Is located at an altitude of 5,200 meters or 17,000 feet., South of the city of Cusco
Its wonderful attraction of natural minerals accumulate over billions of years of erosion and makes it look like a rainbow, also the locals know it as the painted Mountain of Mother Earth.

Its original name is Vinicunca or Winikunka, and the sector is known as the Red Valley of Cusco.

Also known as The Mountain of the Seven Colors, Mountain of Colors or Rainbow Mountain.

Tourist access requires a two-hour drive from Cusco, and a walk of about 5-kilometer (3.1 mi) or three-and-a-half-hour drive through Pitumarca and one-half-kilometre (0.31 mi) a steep walk (1-1.5 hours) to the hill. As of 2019, no robust methods of transportation to Vinicunca have been developed to accommodate travelers, as it requires passage through a valley. It is located on the road to the Ausangate mountain, in the Andes of Peru, in the Cusco Region, between the districts of Cusipata, province of Quispicanchi, Pitumarca, and the province of Canchis. In the middle of the 2010s, mass tourism became attracted by the mountains’ series of stripes of various colors. This due to its mineralogical composition present on the slopes and summits.


Tour Description

This is a full day tour. We will start the tour from your hotel at 06:00 AM. We will start by heading over the Southern Andes of Cusco. This trip will take 3 hours. You will enjoy the drive through Pitumarca canyon. We will be arriving to the base of the mountain to start hiking for 8 km (>5 miles).

This is a 4 hour round trip hike with an option to rent a horseback at your own leisure. This is available one way or round trip. Enjoy this place and pose for photographs with a beautiful background.

The professional guide enjoys explaining all of the history and will be sure to answer your questions. Then we will go back to town for a community buffet lunch and return to Cusco.

Inclusions & Exclusions


  • Private transportation
  • Professional tour guide
  • Entrance fee
  • Water

Not Included

  • Gratuities for your guide


What you’ll need to bring and carry

  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, ideally trekking or sport shoes
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleece and sweaters
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain or cold
  • Sun block
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, etc.
  • Water bottle and sterilizing tablets (ie. Micropur)
  • Small towel
  • Swimsuit (if you intend to go to the hot springs)
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles.

Additional Information


Vinicunca or Winikunka, also called Mountain of Seven Colors, Mountain of Colors or Rainbow Mountain, is a mountain in Peru with an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level.

Tourist access requires a two-hour car trip from Cusco, and a walk of approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) or three and a half hours by car through Pitumarca and half a kilometer (0.31 miles) a steep walk (1-1.5 hours) to the hill. As of 2019, robust methods of transportation to Vinicunca have not been developed to accommodate travelers, as it requires passage through a valley.

It is located on the road to Ausangate Mountain, in the Andes of Peru, in the region of Cusco, between the districts of Cusipata, the province of Quispicanchi, Pitumarca and the province of Canchis.

In the mid-2010s, mass tourism was attracted to the series of multi-colored stripes of the mountains. This due to its mineralogical composition present on the slopes and summits.

Location of Rainbow Mountain

Leaving the city of Cusco, one can arrive to Vinicunca through the Longitudinal Race of the Peruvian Sierra del Sur (PE-3s) in the direction of the town of Checacupe where we take the fork to the town of Pitumarca, and from this town along a tricky trail passing through several rural communities such as Ocefina, Japura, Hanchipacha, until arriving at the community of Pampa Chiri.

The road ends, requiring one to start a 5-kilometer walk to the Vinincunca pass, where you can see the natural formation in the shape of a rainbow, considered the Mountain of Colors.

The entrance to the Rainbow Mountain is made by a village of Pitumarca, two hours from the city of Cusco, then a walk on foot, by car or motorcycle on the slopes of the mountain and then you can go up on horseback or on foot the rest of the way until you reach the Montaña de Colores.

If you decide for a 45-minute hike instead of a 2-hour hike from Pitumarca, then you have to travel by car for an additional one-and-a-half-hour drive on a non-paved road through the mountains. The drive features view points where the valley can be seen, as well as llamas and alpacas being herded by the shepherds on the mountains.

Weather of Rainbow Mountain

Travelers to Peru and locals generally agree that the best time of the year to visit the colorful site is in the month of August, since it is dry season and provides a beautiful view, maximizing the vivid colors of the mountains. Nevertheless, the famous colors always look aesthetically beautiful.

Travelers are advised to try to avoid days following significant rainfall (namely in the months of December, January and February) and much more in times when snow has fallen. In terms of fauna, travelers are able to view a wide variety of alpacas and other camelids in certain short-term seasons.

Mineralogical Composition

According to the investigation of the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralization of the City of Cusco, the colorations of the mountain of the 7 colors are due to the mineralogical composition that it has: the pink color is for the red clay, fangolitas (mud) and arilitas (sand).

The whitish colouring is because of the quartzose, sandstone and marls, rich in calcium carbonate. The red one made up of the claystones (iron) and clays belonging to the upper tertiary.

The green is due to the compound of phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian. The earthy brown is a product of fanglomerate composed of rock with magnesium belonging to the Quaternary era. And the mustard yellow color for the calcareous sandstones rich in sulphurous minerals.

Mountain Concession for Mining

The mining approval process began on March 30, 2015 in Lima, when the mining exploration company Minquest Perú SAC, owned by the Canadian Camino Minerals Corporation, submitted a red beds mining petition to the Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute (Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico, INGEMMET).

The petition included the territory of the districts of Cusipata and Pitumarca with an area of 400 hectares, covering the whole of the mountain, and also overlapping with the peasant communities of Chillihuani and Pampachiri. INGEMMET issued a warning that parts of this territory, including Vinicunca, should have been protected within the “Ausangate Regional Conservation Area.” In 2009, the Regional Government of Cusco had proposed the creation of this protected area to Peru’s National Service of Protected Natural Areas (Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, SERNANP).

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