Discover the famous Rainbow Mountain in Peru!

The 1-Day Trekking Tour to the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is one of the most popular day trips in Peru. The tour to the famous Vinicunca mountain is more demanding than the alternative, which is why we recommend this trek to people with a good level of fitness. Especially as we return through the red valley, which is at least as impressive as the rainbow mountain. However, it is quite demanding as the hike is around 2.5 hours long.

This effort is worth it, though, as we are one of the few operators that does this tour. Other agencies just hike up to the viewpoint and then descend the same way they use to hike up. 

If you are looking for an easier hike but don’t want to miss out on the rainbow mountains, the alternative trek to the Rainbow Mountains is our secret tip! Why? Because it allows you to escape from the crowds that are trekking the "common tour" to Vinicunca, you can see 3 rainbow mountains and the hike itself is a lot easier. 

If possible, you will be accompanied by an alpaca or a llama on the way, which makes this adventure even more special. We also visit the potato museum of the Palccoyo community, the community which is part of our social project. 

If you want to know even more about both tours, check out our blog post about the differences between Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca and Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo. No matter which hike you end up choosing, make sure to get to Cusco at least 2 days before so you can avoid the altitude sickness. 

Detailed table comparing the rainbow mountains  

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain
Travelers p. day 1000-2000 50-100
Time to reach the summit 90-120 min 45-60 min 
Difficulty Difficult Easy - moderate
Total trekking distance 6 km (3.7 miles) (incl. red valley + 4km/+2.5 miles) 7 km (4.3 miles)
Max. altitude 5102 m (16,731 ft) 4971 m (16,309 ft)
Time in car 3.5 hours each way 3.5 hours each way
Weather conditions Often colder, as the mountain is closer to Ausangate mountain.
Better, as it’s further away from Ausangate.
Rainbow Mountains 1 3
Exploor’s tour extras Option to hike through the Red Valley on the way back (entrance: S/10, $3)
Hike with an alpaca or llama; visit of the stone forest and a local community visit (social project)
Arrival time in Cusco 4:00 pm 3:30 pm
Option to rent a horse Yes, for S/ 80 ($24) No
Best time of the year May - September (dry season) May - September (dry season)
Drone Usage Yes and free of charge. Just ask an official person at the mountain.
Yes, but you have to pay S/ 50 ($15) to the local community.


Day Trip from Cusco: Alternative Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo Hike
City: Cusco, Mountains // Activities: Trekking // Total hiking time: 45 - 60 min *Use the discount code "PALC3" to save $10 each if you're...
Couple Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain blue sky
Day Trip Cusco: 1-Day Trekking Tour to the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain + Red Valley
City: Cusco, Mountains // Activities: Trekking tour // Total hiking time: Vinicunca: 1.5 - 2 h; Red Valley: 2.5 -...