Rainbow Mountain, Peru

The Rainbow Mountains is a great hike activity that can be undertaken from Cusco. Rainbow Mountain is a tough hike for approximately 6 km which is really steep because of the increase in altitude from 4,326 meter to 5,200 meter.

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How to get to Rainbow Mountain

The only option is to book a day tour, which provides you with transport to the location and a guide for information about the place. However, the hike can be done alone or you can follow the guide that went with you during transport.

It’s really is fun to do it alone. Try to get as the first one on top to have the stunning view for you alone.

Subsequently, there is also the possibility to rent a horse to bring you to the top.

Rainbow Mountain


Rainbow Mountain


Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain


Rainbow Mountain Price

The tour can be booked via Findlocaltrips.com for $30 or via the tour agencies in Cusco starting from 65 soles.

The first tour operator includes breakfast before the hike and a lunch after the hike. This includes the entrance fee of 10 soles for Rainbow Mountain and pick up/drop off at your hostel for a maximum of 12 people.

The tour operators in Cusco offer the more touristic version with a central pick up point and drop off point as well as larger groups that are doing the tour together. If you want to rent a horse there is an extra 70 soles that you have to bring.

Where to stay

Al the tours are starting from Cusco. So, that is the place where you have to stay. Specially, because of the altitude.

It takes a couple of days for you body to get used to the high altitude, so make sure that you spend a couple of days in Cusco, before visiting the Rainbow Mountains.

How much time do you need there

Most tours start at 3 A.M. in the morning for two reasons. One, everybody wants to be first on top. Two, the best chance for a great view is around 11-12 A.M.

You do not want to end up with only fog on top after a tough hike. So, the pick up is at 3 A.M. and after two hours of drive you will arrive at the place for breakfast.

This takes 45 minutes and then an extra hour of driving is needed before arriving to start the hike.

Then a hike of 2,5 – 3 hours starts, which means that you can make it to the top before 11 A.M. Then you can rest and enjoy the amazing view for an hour or 1,5 hour before going heading back for lunch.

This requires an hour of driving before two hours of driving back to Cusco. So, the tour can be done in one day!

Rainbow Mountain


Rainbow Mountain


Rainbow Mountain

When is the best time to visit Rainbow Mountain

The best time to go is all year around, but always check the weather for heavy snow. You don’t want to do the hike and see the mountain white instead of full of colors.

The best time to get there is as early as possible. Most tours start at 3-4 in the morning. If you leave at 3, have a quick breakfast at 5.30 and be at the beginning of the hike at 6.30.

If you have experience with hiking it should take you about 2,5-3 hours to get to the top. So the faster you are up the hill, the less people will be there.

Rainbow Mountain Tips
  • To get to the mountain you have to hike about 6km. There is only one path to the final view point.
  • Along the way you have to look around because you walk between beautiful mountain with colors and see groups of alpacas.
  • There is an option to ride a horse up. You can rent it when you arrive by a local owner. This is also a really nice option to enjoy the view and relax.
  • Before going make sure you’re adjusted to the height. For example stay in Cusco for a few days before or take height medicine or drink coca tea.
  • Make sure to dress well. Because of the temperature difference it is useful to bring warmer and colder clothes. It is freezing on top.
  • You should not be starting the hike at 7.30 it gets very crowded.
  • Take breaks during the hike if you want to (good time to enjoy the views).
  • There are toilets at the beginning and just before the mountain.

See more from Peru / South America 

Why should Rainbow Mountain be on my bucket list?

You can’t get more out of Peru in 24 hours then go to the Rainbow Mountains.

Traditional families are living just before the entrance, the view during the hike is absolutely stunning because of the mountains and alpacas and llamas which are walking everywhere.

The tour includes typical peruvian food and the main highlight is on the top of the hill, to see all the different colors with having no idea how it came there.

The hike is definitely worth the effort.

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Rainbow Mountain

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