A Journey To Rainbow Mountain in Peru
When you mention Peru, it’s safe to say that most people immediately think of Machu Picchu, an incredible Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains. But what lies south-east of Cusco, deep in the Andes, is a set of otherworldly painted hills they call Rainbow Mountain (aka Vinicunca) - a sight so unreal that you forget about your high altitude sickness once you’ve conquered the challenging hike to the top, well at least I did.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Fast forward to life offline a few months later and I found myself travelling solo, in my ever first pair of hiking boots, and stepping foot into a tiny local house at 5am to have breakfast before what happened to be the most difficult (yet rewarding!) experience I have ever done in my entire life thus far.
Just like any hike we had one goal and only one goal in mind - to reach the top and take in the 360 degree view of this incredible sight on earth by Pachamama.
You’re immediately welcomed with herds of alpacas and llamas and throughout the journey you not only see incredible landscapes of dreamy colours but get to experience first hand how the locals live in the mountains and even get to practice your Spanish speaking with them.
The coloured minerals that form the painted hills are all natural and are of the utmost dreamiest colours of this sacred land. At 14,000 ft it’s a challenging hike - my heart was thumping so hard, breathless as I tried to grasp for oxygen and battling a head that felt like it was going to explode as we crossed passes ranging between 15,000 and 17,000 ft. I generally like to challenge myself in life, but reaching the top of this hike has got to definitely be one that I am most proud of.
On the way down is just as picturesque and a lot easier (obviously)
This was my very first hike - perhaps a little more difficult than I should have began with but hey, when you have a goal - of any kind - and stick to taking the steps to achieving it as much as you want to give up, you reward yourself with great things!
The more experienced hikers told me that I really set my standards high. Oops, but in hindsight I’m glad I did - this was an adventure I will never forget.
Distance hiked: 15 km / 9 ¼ milesStarting / minimum altitude: 4,326 m / 14,189 ft
Maximum altitude: 5,020 m / 16,466 ft
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging*
To pack (physically)
Day Pack with Rain Cover
Warm clothes (thermal base layer, Fleece, Zip down jacket, gloves, scarf)
Rain jacket or ponchoHat and sunglasses
2L of water
To pack (mentally)
Have you hiked to Rainbow Mountain or any other treks in Peru? Leave a comment below - I would love to hear about your adventures!