Rainbow Mountain is one of the most popular destinations for adventurous travelers in Peru. This natural wonder boasts a stunning array of colors, ranging from red to purple to yellow, making it an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits. If you’re planning a trip to Cusco, a journey to Rainbow Mountain should definitely be on your itinerary. In this article, we’ll guide you through the different options available to go from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain.

From Cusco to Rainbow Mountain by bus

One of the most affordable ways to get to Rainbow Mountain is by taking a bus from Cusco. The journey typically takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions. Once you arrive in the town of Cusipata, you’ll have to trek around 7 km (4.3 miles) to reach the mountain’s base camp. From there, you can hike for another hour or so to reach the summit.

Estimated cost: Bus tickets can cost between 30-50 USD round trip, depending on the company and season.

From Cusco to Rainbow Mountain by tour

If you prefer a more organized and hassle-free way to visit Rainbow Mountain, booking a tour is a great option. There are several tour companies in Cusco that offer guided tours to Rainbow Mountain, which typically include transportation, meals, and a knowledgeable guide. This option is particularly ideal for those who don’t have much hiking experience or would like to learn more about the history and culture of the region.

One of the most popular tour options is the Rainbow Mountain trek, which includes a 6-7 hour hike to the summit and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Another option is the Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley tour, which combines a visit to Rainbow Mountain with a trip to the stunning Red Valley, known for its impressive rock formations and crystal clear lagoons.

Estimated cost: Rainbow Mountain tours can range from 50-150 USD per person, depending on the duration, inclusions, and company.

Tips and recommendations

  • Due to the high altitude and rugged terrain, it’s important to acclimate yourself to the altitude before attempting to hike Rainbow Mountain. We recommend spending a few days in Cusco to get used to the altitude and taking it easy on your first day in the region.
  • Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and warm layers, as the weather can change quickly and dramatically at high altitudes.
  • Hiring a local guide is highly recommended, especially if you’re planning on hiking on your own. A guide can provide invaluable knowledge about the area and ensure your safety.
  • If you have the time and energy, consider combining your Rainbow Mountain trip with a visit to the nearby Ausangate Mountain, another stunning natural wonder in the region.
  • Respect the local culture and environment by following the Leave No Trace principles. This means taking all your trash with you and minimizing your impact on the natural surroundings.
  • Consider visiting Rainbow Mountain during the low season (November to March) to avoid crowds and get better views of the mountain without the crowds of people on the trail.
  • If you’re interested in photography, consider bringing a good camera with you to capture the stunning colors of Rainbow Mountain. However, be aware that the battery life may be shorter at high altitude due to the cold weather.