Why You Should Add Hiking Rainbow Mountain In Peru To Your Bucket List

Peru is a beautiful country that makes the bucket list of the many adventure seekers who want to explore its well-known attractions, including Machu Picchu, Huascarán National Park, and the Nazca Lines.

One attraction that has grown in popularity since it first appeared in 2015 is Vinicunca, commonly known as Rainbow Mountain. When the snow melted from the top of Vinicunca due to climate change, the mountain revealed its rainbow of colors. Vinicunca sits at an elevation of 17,060 feet (5,200 meters) and is part of the Peruvian Andes. Rainbow Mountain offers a unique hiking experience and not just for its beauty. This hiking trail is difficult due to the altitude, but it offers remarkable views that will certainly make a trip to Peru an unforgettable experience. If you're a seasoned hiker, you just might be up for the challenge of a lifetime.

A recently discovered gem

Rainbow Mountain is known by many names, including Vinicunca and the montaña de siete colores (mountain of seven colors) because of the exposed mineral layers showcase that showcase the mountain's natural — and unique — beauty.

According to HuffPost, the reds are thanks to oxidized iron, the yellows to iron sulfide, the greens chlorite, and the purples are thanks to goethite or oxidized limonite. The colors form stunning lines across the mountain terrain, crafting the perfect example of nature's art.

The Planet D advises that the Rainbow Mountain hike takes a full day to complete, including the travel to and from Cusco. The hiking trail is a dirt path between mountain peaks and hikers will encounter herds of sheep, llamas, and alpacas. Visitors have the option to hike to the lookout point or take a horse ride there, as the altitude (and potential altitude sickness) are the main reasons this hike is a challenge.

Preparing for the altitude is key

Due to Rainbow Mountain's elevation, travelers should take care to avoid altitude sickness when traveling directly to Peru. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness happens due to the lack of oxygen in high elevations, so it is crucial to acclimate the body and stay hydrated. Symptoms include headaches, tiredness, lack of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

According to Jagsetter, the best route to visit Rainbow Mountain is to take a flight to Lima, Peru, and then travel to Cusco. Spending a few days in Cusco helps the body acclimate to the altitude before travelers can ascend gradually to Rainbow Mountain. From Cusco, visitors can take a bus from a tour company or a cab to Rainbow Mountain. It is about a three-hour drive followed by a six-mile round-trip hike to conquer and enjoy the views of this colorful mountain.

To get the best experience for this hike, Rainbow Mountain Peru recommends visiting between March and November and between June and August for the best weather patterns and blue skies. They also offer some tips to prepare for the altitude, including staying hydrated, taking altitude meds, or chewing on coca leaves like a local. They also stress the importance of choosing qualified guides or operators equipped with oxygen tanks and first aid kits as a precaution.

Visitors shouldn't let the elevation discourage them from hiking this mountain. There are many reasons to check Peru off the bucket list, and while Rainbow Mountain may be among the newest, millions of visitors agree it's worth it.