The SECRET GUIDE to RAINBOW MOUNTAIN of Peru

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by dagsvstheworld, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. dagsvstheworld

    dagsvstheworld Follow your dreams-everything else is bullshit

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    How to find the Rainbow Mountain of Peru (Vinicunca)
    Posted by dags on Oct 3, 2016
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    Rainbows all over the valley

    So you want to know how to find the Rainbow Mountain of Peru? (also known as Vinicunca) Want to embark on an adventure to the Ande Mountain ranges? Want to hike amongst snow-capped peaks with out-of-this-world colorful mountains all around you? Well, I found the shortcut to this magical place and you can do it in 1 day. No need to hike 5 days around Ausangate. Are you ready? Then read on!

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    At the trail head, the incredible glacier-covered ‘Ausangate’ can be seen looming in the distance.

    This crazy place has always been on my list of things to do for a while, and upon some research I found it’s not that far from Cuzco at all. In fact it’s an incredibly easy place to find. (It’s just a long arduous trek to reach the actual Rainbow Mountain itself!)

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    There are thousands of curious alpacas roaming around the valley.

    Because I had a motorcycle, I rode from Cusco and its about a 2 hour ride down the highway with insane traffic until you get to Checacupe then you turn left and it becomes another good ol’ Peruvian “drive straight off the edge of a cliff” adventure! Head down for 200 metres or so then turn right onto a gravel road towards Pitumarca. Here’s where the real adventure begins!

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    It’s a great ride-just don’t fall of a cliff!

    It’s 45km of twisty gravel roads that weave through insane ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscapes and follows a river and deep ravine. You will eventually end up in a wide valley with alpacas everywhere, and you cross a bridge and make your way up to the trail head (you can’t miss it there are dozens of tourist busses parked there. ) I recommended starting your trek around 11am as before that there are hundreds of tourists huffing and puffing up the trail. And when you get to Rainbow Mountain you will probably have to wait in line for a pic.

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    Cruise along by a beautiful stream.

    I arrived at the trail head around 11am and it took me until 2.30pm to reach the summit. (So around 3 hours at least) I had the valley mostly to myself and most people where now on their return trek. By the time I reached Rainbow Mountain I was totally exhausted and it was probably the hardest goddamn trek I have ever done! I’m not an experienced hiker by any means, but I’m of average fitness and in fairly good shape and it really took it out of me.

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    There are numerous small villages on the way.

    The trail head starts at 4300m and the summit/viewpoint is 5200 metres or thereabouts. So the very thin air makes it bloody tough. Incredibly, it only took me about 1 and ½ an hour on the return trip, so it’s not that strenuous coming back down. There is a 10 soles entrance fee half way up the mountain and you do not need a permit to hike this trail.

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    Beautiful colours everywhere you look.

    The valley is just awash with colours, I have never seen anything like it. Deep hues of red are juxtaposed against light blues, greys and greens. Add to that the huge Ausangate mountain in the distance with its bright white glacier gleaming in the sunlight, it’s just incredible.

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    When you see this fellow, you are about half way.

    And the payoff doesn’t disappoint. Once you reach the Rainbow Mountain, head up another 20-30 metres to the lookout and you will be astonished at the view. The attraction itself is amazing, but when you see the valley in a 360 degree view you realize- the whole valley is full of rainbow mountains!!! Holy freaking shitballs!!!!!

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    Rainbow Mountain! (Vinicunca) yaaaaaaay!!

    I was blown away. Photos just don’t do it justice. Get there and view the magic for yourselves! But get there before it becomes another Machu Picchu and smothered in crowds!

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    Rainbow Mountain! yay again!!!!

    Bring extra layers of clothing as it is absolutely freezing at the top- as in frostbite freezing. I recommend some warm gloves!!! There are also some local girls at the base of Vinicunca with refreshments, so kick back and have a beer and enjoy the view.

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    Google earth view of Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) and GPS co-ordinates.

    I recommend hiring a motorbike or if you are backpacking you can get a taxi from Cusco and there are also plenty of guides available at the actual valley itself. Horses are also available with a guide if you become too exhausted to walk. So there is something for everyone!There are many tour operators now offering treks here but honestly, you don’t need a tour company or a guide as the trail is well established now and if you have google maps or a GPS you won’t have any problems finding this place. So get onto it! Come to Peru and visit this amazing place!

    So how the hell do you get to Rainbow Mountain? Well here’s the directions!
    Step One- Cusco to Checacupe then turn left and head to Pitumarca(2 hour drive)
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    Step 2- From Pitumarca follow the gravel road through the valley(45km)
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    Step 3- Follow the gravel road for about 1 hour until you reach the carpark(you can’t miss it, there are dozens of busses and taxis parked there)
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    There are numerous small villages along the way if you need to stop for any reason. At my count you must cross over at least 5 bridges before you arrive.

    Step 4- Park and head down to the trail head past a small camping ground
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    Step 5- Hike for about 3-4 hours until you are nearly dead from exhaustion and……hey presto! Rainbow Mountain!!!!!!! Climb up further to the viewpoint and take as many awesome pics as you can-before you freeze to death. jajajaja!
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    I recommend hiring a motorbike. It’s way more fun! www.perumototours.com

    Darren Haig is an adventurous fellow who quit his job so he could explore the world on two wheels. His motorcycle journey so far has seen him traverse the jungles of Thailand, ride through the mysterious lands of Myanmar, motorcycle the incredible history of India, witness the Nabeatean wonders of Jordan, battle sandstorms through the ancient lands of Egypt, ride through Cuba’s crumbling revolution, explore hidden Mayan temples in Mexicoand now he is somewhere deep in Peru-the land of the Incas!

    Watch his motorcycle adventure movies!- dagsVStheworld

    Add dagsVStheworld on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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    #1
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  2. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

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    Way cool, thanks for sharing :thumb
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  3. dagsvstheworld

    dagsvstheworld Follow your dreams-everything else is bullshit

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    No worries mate!
    Dags
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  4. Motos_del_Perú

    Motos_del_Perú Adventurer

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    Yeahhh, this is Peru!!
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  5. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Damn, you make it look easy. Sounds like a weekend trip!
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  6. et17smith

    et17smith Toronto. BMW 1150GSA. KLR650. WR250R. CB750K Supporter

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    Dear OP

    Because of you, I am sitting in my hostel in Cuzco with my girlfriend and our klr650 rental in the foyer. We are riding to the rainbow mountains tomorrow morning. Leaving at 5 am.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this! I will report back with the experience tomorrow! Hopefully everything goes according to plan!


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    #6
  7. dagsvstheworld

    dagsvstheworld Follow your dreams-everything else is bullshit

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    #7
  8. et17smith

    et17smith Toronto. BMW 1150GSA. KLR650. WR250R. CB750K Supporter

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    Oh boy! What a day. Would have loved to stay in a small town, but timing was tight to get back to Cuzco to return moto by 6pm. It's 4:23 am now and we leave for our 5 day trek (on foot unfortunately) to Machu Picchu. I will post pics and a few little changes that I noticed once I'm back to wifi in 4 days! Thanks again!
    #8
  9. et17smith

    et17smith Toronto. BMW 1150GSA. KLR650. WR250R. CB750K Supporter

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    Currently in Ecuador headed to Galápagos Islands. Finally have some wifi to post some pics etc.

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    The mountains were gorgeous! Very high altitude though. 5000+ metres. We did this on our second day in Cuzco so the altitude did give us a big headache after. Not advisable to go that high so quickly, but totally doable and the headache only lasted the evening.

    The ride along the gravel road was amazingly scenic. We both agreed that the ride there was better than the actual mountains (the ride is ALWAYS the best part!).

    Gravel/dirt roads were not difficult (even with a passenger). But the oncoming trucks and busses around corners were a little hairy. I had to pull the bike into the ditch once because a huge truck came around a corner real quick. It was soaking the roads with water, so of course we got a nice shower too! Thankfully there was a ditch! Haha. Didn't drop the bike, dumped the clutch to climb back out of the ditch and we were on our way again!

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    The roads were so curvy and scenic with lots of switch backs!

    One difference that I found from the original poster was that it seems there is a new road to reach the rainbow mountains.... the OP said 45 km down dirt road, but there was a turn off at 28km with a big sign. We took this road as we were short on time (had to return the KLR to Cuzco by 6pm).

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    We took this road for approx 10 mins and it dead ended at a big parking lot where the trail Head was.

    From that point is was a 6km trek (steep!) to the top. It took us about 3 hours total (up and back down) but we were moving quickly. If we had more time we would have used it.

    This trip is possible in 1 day from Cuzco just like OP said, but ideally you don't need to return the bike by 6pm like us. We left our hostel at 5:30 am and returner the bike by 5:55! Woohoo!

    It was an amazing ride and super neat to drive through the small villages. Highly recommended!

    There is lots of water, food and gas on the way so no need to worry about that. But make sure to fill up on gas before the gravel road starts (no gas on that road). We did not have a gps but made it there fine by asking for directions here and there and using the maps posted by OP. (I have very minimal Spanish but it was not a problem). We were able to find our way back to our hostel just by signs and remembering the way we came.

    The KLR 650 that we rented ran great for the most part. Overall we were very happy with the rental company. We rented from Cuzco moto tours Peru. We picked up the bike the day before in the afternoon and it cost us 125$ US total with helmets, jackets, gloves, and a disk lock. (85$ per day)

    Thanks again to OP for the inspiration and tips.

    Happy riding
    #9
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  10. dagsvstheworld

    dagsvstheworld Follow your dreams-everything else is bullshit

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    Awesome stuff and great pics mate!!!
    dags
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  11. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial Supporter

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    I'll be in Perú again in January. This will definitely be part of my route! Thanks for sharing!
    #11
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