VINICUNCA

Vinicunca or Rainbow mountain is a place near the Ausangate. The mountains are are partly formed of colorful sediments, which give the site a unique and surreal look. The mountain itself can only be accessed by foot or horse. From the nearest road, there's a trail leading up, which takes about three hours to walk. Including the three hours drive from Cusco, it takes around six hours in total to reach the top. You can find the trail in Open Streetmap and it's well marked and easy to follow, even if you're not going with a guide. If in doubt, just follow the hordes of tourists.



view from the lookout

Although there are a few people living in small villages around the place, it was only discovered for tourism in 2015. The first guided tours were available in January 2016, but by now most of the agencies in Cusco offer one day trips and the place is on its way to a becoming a major tourist a attraction. Even on rainy / cloudy days, the site can get crowded with several hundrer people climbing to the top at the same time. Be aware that the lookout itself, from where you get the best views of the actual Rainbow Mountain and it's surroundings, is just a small hill that fills pretty quickly. All guided tours reach the top at about the same time, so while there's not much people around most of the time, there's a lot around 10:30 - 11 am. If you want to make sure to get some time for yourself, the only way is going by yourself or spending the night around the area.


Since the region is getting more and more popular, it is especially important not to leave any rubbish (including human waste: there's toilets along the way, so use them). Try to stay on the path and don't walk on the Rainbow Mountain itself (there's some kind of fence around it) to preserve this site for future generations.


- Wikitravel

Image by Mesut Kaya

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