How to get to Rainbow Mountain Peru? | leaves from Cusco to Vinicunca

History and Origin of Formation

How to get to Rainbow Mountain Peru – Vinicunca Mountain| According to geology, the mountains of the Peruvian Andes were formed by horizontal collisions of the tectonic plates that resulted into vertical increases of the mountains towards the upper parts; this is the main formula that explains the origin of most of the mountains worldwide. We also have to consider other climatic events such as snow, winds, rain, etc.

The classic rainbow mountain of Cusco or Vinicunca, was formed approximately 24 million years ago with sediments or minerals such as gravel, halite, sandstone and limestone from different colors such as red, yellow, ocher, purple, green, pink, blue , etc.

The abundance of ice that covered these mountains until a few years ago made it possible to preserve the minerals at the top of the mountain, preventing erosion of the minerals.

Due to the global warming that is currently happening, thawing of the ice that once covered the entire mountain happened. If this climate event had not occurred, would wouldn’t know anything about this attraction.

How far is Rainbow Mountain from Cusco?

The cclassic rainbow mountain of Cusco or Vinicunca is located in the southern part of Cusco at 5200 meters above sea level (17060 feet) , in the province of Canchis among the communities of Pitumarca, Llaqto and Pampa Chiri which share the possession of this natural attraction.

Note that this colorfull mountain is not under the control of the Ministry of Culture, nor do we believe that this will happen in the near future, for example Machu Picchu is under the administration of the Ministry of Culture, but this system doesn´t benefit the indigenous populations who live around to Machu Picchu, this is the main reason why the native people from the Rainbow Mountain do not want the government intervention for administration and preservation.


The weather on the Andes of Peru and the Rainbow Mountain is dry, cold, at higher altitude there is less oxygen, more wind, and you feel like the Sun is burning your skin, because of the sea level elevation. For example, the Rainbow Mountain is located at 5200 meters above sea level, which means we are 5200 meter closer to the Sun and that is why you feel “the burn” of the sunshine. The temperature can drop to 0 °C (32 °F) between June and August.

Fauna and Flora:

The most important animals from the Andes of Peru is made up of Andean camelids such as the Llamas, Alpacas, Vicuñas and also other animals such as Chinchillas, Pumas, the Foxes, the Paddington Bear and the Condor. If you go to the rainbow mountain, you will probably see Llamas and Alpacas because they are domesticated animals however, it is hard to see the wild animals.

¿Cómo llegar a la Montaña de los 7 Colores?

The flora of Vinicunca is mainly composed of the Straw or “Ichu” in the Quechua language, it is a natural fiber that is used to make “adobes” (mud bricks), roof houses, even to make suspension bridges, such as the famous Queswachaka Inca Bridge.

What are the colors of Vinicunca Rainbow mountain?

Well, we always hear about the 7 colors, but the truth is that there are many more colors, between primary and secondary, for example: red, yellow, blue, violet, orange, green, etc.

¿Cómo llegar a la Montaña de los 7 Colores?

If you like to capture the sharpness of a photo, you will need a super sunny day and a camera with great lenses and awesome angle.

When is the best time to go Vinicunca Rainbown Mountain?

On the Peruvian Andes there are two different seasons of the year: the rainy season (December to March) and the dry season (April to November).

Advantages and Disadvantages of going to the Mountain in the dry season:

Remember that this season coincides with the high season of tourism in Cusco.

  • Advantages:
    • Super sunny days.
    • The best pictures.
  • Disadvantages:
    • It is difficult to take a good “selfie” on the mountain because it is is crowded with lots of tourists.
    • It is sometimes hard to find cheap prices.

Advantages and Disadvantages of going to the Mountain in the rainy season:

  • Advantages:
    • Super low prices.
    • You can take your dream picture with the mountain of colors because there are not many tourists.
  • Disadvantages:
    • The rain.
    • Snow, sometimes the whole mountain is covered by snow, if this happens to you you can visit the red valley as an alternative option.

Our recommendation

  • If you want to ensure a good experience, visit it in the dry season.
  • You can also take an alternative tour to a different rainbow mountain known as Palccoyo, on this tour you will also see the stone forest and the red river.

What can I do on Rainbow Mountain?

Most people travel to Vinicunca Rainbow mountain to take good photos because it is trendy, but there is much more to do than just take a picture:

  • You can enjoy the fauna, you can see mammals and birds, if you love Andean landscape photography, this is the best destination in Cusco, unless you want to go to the Amazon.
  • There are many indigenous communities that live on the route to the 7-colored mountain, you can interact with them, they are very friendly people, you may find difficulty with the language because they don´t speak Spanish or English (they can understand Spanish but no speaking).
  • You can explore the red valley, which is half an hour from the Vinicunca rainbow mountain, although most agencies don´t offer this service included in their tour prices, but you can do it on your own.

How do I get from Cusco to Vinicunca Rainbow mountain on my own?

How long and Distance of the Short Route

From Cusco city to the community of Llaqto there are approximately 100 kilometers, please follow below instructions:

  • Take your bus in the city of Cusco, as early as possible, we suggest you to do it in between 5am and 6am.
  • Cusco to Cusipata by bus, in Cusipata you can have your breakfast – IMPORTANT: Take the buses that go to Sicuani city but get off BEFORE at CUSIPATA town2.5 hours of bus ride – The buses that go to Sicuani city are located on Avenida Manco Capac N ° 802 – Please confirm the departure times of the buses and the address of their terminal with IPERU (IPERU is located at the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, next to the church of the Compañía de Jesús) or you can just call them, dial + 51 84 237364, they speak Spanish and English.
  • Cusipata – Llaqto by taxi or Colectivo(small buses like a Van), 45 minutes car ride – pay 30 Soles for a taxi, however for Colectivo pay just 5 Soles.
  • Llaqto to Vinicunca Rainbow mountain on foot, in the Llaqto community you can hire a horse, if you wish.
  • On the way back there are Colectivos and taxis in Llaqto community, board one of them to Cusipata.
  • Buy your lunch in Cusipata town.
  • Take any of the buses that normally come from Sicuani city, but they stop in Cusipata town.
  • Any questions don´t hesitate to ask local people, they are very helpful people.

Approximate price on own account

RoutePrice in SolesPrice in Dollars
Cusco to Cusipata (Round Trip)15 Soles5 USD
Cusipata to Llaqto (Round Trip)10 Soles3 USD
Local breakfast in Cusipata5 Soles2 USD
Local lunch in Cusipata10 Soles3 USD
Entrance fee for the Rainbow Mountain10 Soles3 USD
Transfer by horse* (Roundtrip)100 Soles32 USD
Snacks (cookies, water, etc)10 Soles3 USD
Total cost160 Soles52 USD

* The price can change if you don’t want to hire a horse, but you will probably need other things such as walking stick, a rain poncho, etc.

Recommendations for you to travel on your own

  • Try to leave Cusco as early as possible, buses to Sicuani normally operate from 5am, please confirm this information with IPERU.
  • Don´t check the good weather conditions on the internet to confirm your trip to the rainbow mountain, because the climate on the Andes is 90% unpredictable.
  • Don´t worry about safety, because traveling to the rural areas of Cusco is 100% safe, the people who live in the countryside have very strict rules against anyone who may alter the peaceful order of their communities.

How do I get from Cusco to Vinicunca Rainbow mountain via Tour Agency?

  • You will find hundreds of travel agencies that offer the Vinicunca Rainbow mountain, they generally offer 1-day or 2-days program, almost all of them include food, transportation, tour guide and oxygen; However most of them don´t include the Red Valley, dinner and tips.
  • If you want, you can go to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, you will find several operators, prices vary based on the legality of their activity, the prestige of the company, the quality of the tour guide and food, etc.
  • We also offer the tour to the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, you can contact us via mail, to ensure the good experience of our services you can see our comments on TripAdvisor and Faceook!

Tour price via travel agency

The prices are highly variable, we think that it is good to pay an average price, for example in the Plaza de Armas they offer this service for up to 50 Soles, other prestigious companies sell it for up to 300 Soles, we recommend you pay an average of 70 to 120 soles maximum (about 25 to 35 USD), remember that sometimes cheap is expensive.

We assure you the legality of our activity, good breakfast and lunch, air-conditioned buses, moderately small groups and most importantly a Super Guide, visit the following link to get a quote for the rainbow mountain tour.

For how long do I walk to get to the Rainbow Mountain?

Keep in mind that everything mentioned in this article is based on the short route to the 7-colored mountain, the one-way walk is maximum 40 minutes, and the return is about 30 minutes, the walk is hillside, it does not include a lot of climbing.

There is the long route that includes a 4-hour walk in total, which we do not recommend because it is too tiring, take the short route that starts from the Llacto community.

Difficulty level of the Rainbow mountain

Good physical condition is required, if you have asthma problems, high blood pressure, etc. Please don´t do it, remember that up on the mountain you will not find medical help, if you really want to do this tour eventhough your physical conditions are not the most favourable, we suggest you hire a custom tour with private tour guide, assistant tour guide and a horseback.

If you come from the coast line which means you normally live at sea level, please stay in the city of Cusco for at least 1 day so that you can acclimatize.

What to bring to the Rainbow mountain?

  • Sunglasses – this is very important, sometimes a lot of snow falls on the mountains and at the same time the sun is heating, the reflection of the sunshine into your eyes may seriously damage your eyes, so never forget your sunglasses.
  • Sunglasses – this is very important, sometimes a lot of snow falls in the mountains a day before you do the tour and when you are already on the mountains it is a super sunny day, this fact makes the reflection of the Sun very strong and it can seriously damage your eyes, so never forget your sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Good trekking shoes.
  • Warm clothing, such as jackets, sweaters, shawls, etc.
  • Hat or cap.
  • A rain poncho, the weather on the Andes is very unpredictable.
  • Walking stick – this is optional.
  • Pills for Soroche or high altitude sickness, please buy one of those pills in Cusco.

What is the price for the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain?

Buy the e entrance fee the same day of your tour; pay it to the Indigenous people.

VisitorPrice in SolesPrice in Dollars
Peruvian visitor5 Soles2 USD
Foreign visitor10 Soles3 USD

How to buy the ticket?

  • You can purchase the entrance fee the same day of the tour before entering the attraction, there is no limit, so don´t worry.
  • You cannot buy the entrance fees in Cusco; remember that this attraction is under the administration of the indigenous communities who live nearby the Rainbow Mountain.
  • You cannot buy online, the purchase is in person, pay in Soles or Dollars, preferably Soles please!