Hiking Rainbow Mountain in Peru: This is the Most Insane Hike!
- by Ari Travels
This is rainbow mountain... yes you are reading this correctly. Peru is home to one of the most unique landscapes. A literal rainbow mountain! I know, I was in shock too when I saw this in person during my trip to Peru. Today, I’m here to share with you the cheapest, most efficient way to get to see Rainbow Mountain, so you can enjoy it too! Trust me, if you are going to Peru, this is definitely something to add to your bucket list. I cannot believe a place like this actually exists!
How to Get to Rainbow Mountain
The best way to get to Rainbow Mountain is to take a tour. I took a local tour with What A Trip and couldn’t have been more impressed with how the day went. The tour is only $35 USD and covers transportation that picks you up from your accommodation in Cusco, breakfast, lunch, a guide who will take you to the best viewpoints and give you the proper medicine to help with the high altitude. I never felt rushed and our guide was outstanding! You can book the same tour I did online prior to your trip. Trust me, you’ll want to go this route vs. taking a taxi and hiking rainbow mountain on your own. From experience, a tour is the cheaper and more valuable route to take.
Taxis can surprisingly cost you MORE money than just doing a local, affordable tour such as this one with What A Trip. What was unique about their tour is that they provided both breakfast and lunch to ensure that we were fueled up upon hiking. From Cusco, taxis can become expensive and the taxis cannot drive you to the start of the hike because there is a dirt path only accessible by certain vehicles, so you would potentially have to walk miles and miles just to get to the starting point and then hike another hour to the top.
Things to know about Rainbow Mountain and what to pack
Bring layers and lots of layers
Dress warm enough for winter temperatures (thick coat, long underwear, hat and gloves). It gets very cold at the top, but you may warm up as you hike, so layering will be your best bet!
Hiking shoes are a must for this
My favorite hiking shoes are the Timberland ones. They are super sturdy and keep your feet WARM. I did not pack them on this trip, although I wish I did.
Don’t forget lots of water!
Bring cash (Peruvian Sol) in case you need anything on the way up or want some pictures with Alpacas!
Pack a light backpack
My favorite is the Earth Pack waterproof one. The weather here can be unpredictable, so having a waterproof dry bag to keep all your essentials in is helpful!
Can I still go to Rainbow Mountain without hiking?
The answer is YES! What A Trip can help arrange a horseback ride for a round trip or one way to the mountain. So, if hiking is not your thing, you can still enjoy the mountain, regardless! There are also multiple points throughout the hike itself that you can rent a horse to take you up, so if you want to walk some of the hike and take the horse up the rest, you can.
If you choose to hike the mountain, What A Trip provides walking sticks which help aid in the hike itself along with the proper nutrients and medicine to help with the high altitude.
If you decide to hike the entire thing, it’s VERY rewarding. Take your time and take breaks. Ask your guide to help you with pacing yourself as well! The hike is about an hour and a half of pure beauty around every corner! It does not look real.
Overall thoughts of rainbow mountain
This is an absolute must do when visiting Peru. Seeing the colors in person is jaw dropping and the hike is beyond gorgeous. There are tons of locals hanging out up there as well with their alpacas all dressed up, its adorable. Be prepared for some great photo-ops as well! When going with a reliable and affordable tour, you won’t have to worry about bringing extra food for along the way that could weigh your backpack down. You also don’t have to worry about unreliable taxis, having to walk miles before the starting point or paying an absurd amount of money for one (yes, I reiterate that taking a taxi here is more expensive). The guides show you all the great photo spots as well as bring the proper essentials so you’re guaranteed a good time here! This was definitively one of the highlights of my time in Peru.
Have a great hike and enjoy the breathtaking views that Peru offers! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about traveling to Peru or Rainbow Mountain specifically.