The Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Since its discovery in the early 20th century, Machu Picchu has taken off as a world destination, being named year after year as a best travel destination and one of...
In recent years, a new destination is having much success among tourists who come to Cusco: the Mountain of 7 Colors or Rainbow Mountain. This place draws attention because, as the name suggests, it is a mountain that has diverse and striking colors, a phenomenon that takes place in very few parts of the world.
The Vinicunca, original name of this mountain, is located in the mountain range of Vilcanota in Cusco and has a height of 5200 meters above sea level, although the great attraction is from 4710 masl.
How to get there?
The Mountain of 7 Colors or Rainbow Mountain is 140 kilometers east of Cusco. To get there, you have two options: hire a tour or do it on your own. In either of the two ways you will have to arrive to the district of Pitumarca, approximately three hours away from the imperial city and where the community of Qheshiuno lives.
At this point begins the walk that has a total duration of four hours and, although the road is not very difficult, it becomes complicated due to the height, so it is advisable to be prepared to avoid the soroche or altitude sickness.
For this reason, for those who need it, after an hour of trekking you will find muleteers, settlers who have horses that, for 70 or 90 soles (20-30 dollars), take you a large part of the way.
After four hours of trekking you will reach the town of Machuraccay, from where you will begin to appreciate the colors of the mountain and other attractions such as small lagoons and streams.
A few minutes later, you will arrive to the final destination, where you have time to enjoy the scenery and take photos, before starting the way back.
Why does the mountain have these colors?
The Ausangate mountain owes its main attraction to the minerals found in it. The red clay, fangolitas and arilitas give it the pink color, the quartzose sandstone gives it the white color, the limonitas and the marls provoke the brown and purple colors, the iron and different clays give it the color red, the green comes from filitas and clays rich in ferro magnesiano, the brown earth is product of the manganese rock fanglomerate and, finally, the mustard yellow color comes from the calcareous sandstones rich in sulfur minerals.
Recommendations and useful data for your visit
The price of the ticket is 5 soles (1.5 dollars) for nationals and 10 soles (3 dollars) for foreigners.
The mountain is high above sea level, so it is advisable to take the excursion at least one or two days after you arrive in Cusco, when you are totally acclimatized.
Also, it is recommended that you buy pills against soroche or altitude sickness or coca leaves and take them before starting the walk.
The height requires a certain physical condition, so it is advisable to avoid it if you are not used to walking, it is advisable to prepare it with time or hire a horse for doing the trek.
The months between April and November are ideal to visit this place, since it is the dry season and you will be able to appreciate the colors in all their splendor.
However, you can also make the trip without any problems during the other months, as long as there has not been a big rain or snowfall.
For the inhabitants, this is a sacred place; here they perform rituals like the tribute to the earth and they live with Andean animals such as alpacas and llamas, so it is important that you travel responsibly, respecting the natural and cultural environment.
Also, the high flow of tourists in this place keeps alert to the community that lives here, who want to avoid damage to the mountain. So we ask you not to damage any area of the mountain with pints or graffiti, as well as respect the road signs.
If you choose the option of hiring a tour, you will have easy to find it in any of the travel agencies that fill the streets of Cusco. There are places every day, so you only have to book it at least one day in advance.
However, in Cusco there are hundreds of tourist agencies that will offer this service, to avoid any inconvenience, we recommend you always hire the services of formal agencies, since they know the maximum number of visits that can reach the Mountain of 7 Colors or Rainbow Mountain every day to continue preserving it.
It is a one day tour but you need to get up very early (4:30 in the morning approximately) and you will arrive in Cusco in the evening, so it is a day dedicated exclusively to this excursion.
As you may have seen in the photo, the Mountain of 7 Colors or Rainbow Mountain is one of the dream destinations you can meet in Cusco. It’s time to come and visit her!