Latin America, Peru

My Trip To Rainbow Mountain

Latin America Peru

Is Rainbow Mountain really real? I asked myself this as I walked down the cobbled streets of Cusco, Peru. The streets were narrow and the tour agencies on all sides boasted pictures and prices for the hike to the unique mountain range. To me, Rainbow Mountain looked more like a Dr. Seuss book cover than an actual place, and my interest was certainly peaked.

After confirming that Rainbow Mountain was indeed a nearby destination (and the photos were not photoshopped), Daniel and I booked a tour for the next day to see it for ourselves. Little did we know, this tour began with a 3:30am pick up from our apartment. I grumbled a bit, but wrapped up in warm layers and we were quickly on our way.
The drive to Rainbow Mountain was three hours, and included a stop for a hot breakfast to start the hike off right. Once we got to the start of the trail, I was excited but decided to take it slow. After all, the hike begins at 14,000ft and the air was thin and hard to breath.

We slowly meandered uphill along with plenty of other tourists, horses, and locals, admiring the views of the rolling foothills, glaciers, and mountain tops. The three mile hike took a little longer than usual, and we ascended over 3,000 feet.

Finally, we came to a steep uphill, and powered by my desire for the awesome view and beautiful photos, I mustered the energy to get to the top. Wow!!! From our elevation at 17,000ft (my new record), we were on top of the world and the view was stunning.

In front of us was Mount Vinicunca, the rainbow mountain I had seen in the tour shops but not believed. It was every bit as colorful and breathtaking as it looks. But, that wasn’t all. The rainbow colored mountain range extended as far as we could see. Then, to our left we discovered a deep green valley, and behind us were white capped, jagged, mountain peaks. The view was phenomenal on all sides, and were definitely worth the climb!

After we took it in, it was time to go. We walked back the way we came, downhill this time, and watching as the changing light of the afternoon brought out all the streaks of red and green in the surrounding hills. Finally, we made it back to our van, had a hot lunch, and drove back to Cusco. It was a long day, but one I will never forget. Rainbow Mountain is one of the most unique destinations I have ever seen, and if it’s not already on your bucket list, make sure you add it!