Tour of Rainbow Mountain
Full Day | 3 miles | Short, but difficult hike
Why this tour?
Hike to a gorgeous peak of the Ausangate range
Option to hire a personal horse ($80)
Home of the rare vicuna
Great option to add onto any trip
Entrance fees included
What is included?
All transportation for tour
All professional guides and staff
All permits, tickets, taxes, and fees
Pick up and drop off from Cusco hotel
When is the best time to go?
Short answer: "shoulder seasons", the Spring and Fall of North America. These months provide the best combo of good weather and lower crowds.
How do I adjust to the altitude?
High elevation effects everyone differently. Two general pieces of advice: take it easy on your first day in Cusco and hydrate
Let's get specific...
Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch
Entrance Tickets: Included
Personal Horse: Not included, but can be hired for $80 (includes horse guide)
The day will begin with an early morning pick-up from Cusco around 4-4:30AM. You will commence on a 3.5 drive in a private van, passing through traditional villages to the trail head. You can sit back and catch some more sleep, or if you look outside during the drive, you will see a beautiful country-side passing by.
Once you reach the trail head, you will stop and enjoy a hearty breakfast, prepared by our professional chef.
After breakfast the hike will start from the town of Chillca, located at 12,100 feet. In this town, you can choose to hire a horse and horse-handler to take you up the mountain ($80 USD). The hike is approximately 4-hours long and is a pretty tough but gradual ascent. The high altitude makes this hike particularly difficult, but the incredible destination makes it all worth it!
During the hike, you will enjoy amazing views of the surrounding Andes, glacial peaks, red mountains, rocky hills, and traditional llamas and alpacas that graze in this valley. As you reach the summit of the mountain, you will be able to spot more Andean wildlife. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see wild Vicuñas (the Andean camel). Vicuñas are in the same family as llamas, although they are much smaller. Their wool is the most expensive wool in the world. One sweater made of Vicuña wool is more than $5,000!
Once you arrive at the top of Rainbow Mountain, you will have time to absorb the majesty of the colorful mountains that surround you. You will see amazing views of the valleys and Ausangate Glacier Peak in front of you. Ausangate is part of the Cordillera Vilcanota Range and is the tallest mountain of the Cusco region (just under 21,000 feet elevation). While taking in these magnificent views, our staff will bring you some hot drinks and share some information with you about the composition of these mountains and how they became striated in a rainbow of colors.
After taking a few amazing pictures and soaking in the views (perhaps we will even see a few condors floating on the air currents), you will begin the descent back to the trail head. This will be a 2-hour, downhill hike. You will meet up with our professional chef and enjoy a delicious and freshly prepared hot lunch.
After lunch you will get back in the van for the return trip back back to Cusco. Drop off at your hotel will be around 7 – 8 p.m.