Hike the Colorful Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Hike the Colorful Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Hike the Colorful Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Hidden from the outside world, surrounded by gorgeous valleys with tiny villages and hundreds of Alpacas is the Rainbow Mountain in Peru. Mountain tops at 5000 meters (16400 ft) covered with a dozen different colors as if it’s painted on there while actually, it is various kinds of metal. And we are not talking about the immensely popular Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain but its unknown brother; Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain in Peru.

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colorful rainbow mountain Palccoyo peru

Peru Rainbow Mountain Tour

A tour to the Rainbow Mountains in Peru start at 3 – 4 AM with a 3-hour to arrive at sunrise time. Both Vinicunca Mountain and Palccoyo Mountain can be visited in a Rainbow Mountain day tour from Cusco.

➳ Also read: 14 Things To Do in Cusco, Peru

The sad truth behind this all is that less than 10 years ago, snow covers the mountain tops year-round. But due to climate change, the snow melts in summer and reveals these incredible colors.

Tip: Make this hike part of a multi-day tour. Book the Alternative Rainbow Mountain Tour with Exploor.

colors rainbow mountain peru

Vinicunca or Palccoyo Mountain?

Peru is fortunate to have two rainbow mountain locations. Both have their pros and cons, so it depends on personal preference which mountain you choose.
Vinicunca is popular, somedays crowded, the heights of both located at 5,200 meters, a 3-hour steep, somewhat difficult hike and offers multiple rainbow mountain tops.

➳ Must-read: Complete 3-week Peru Travel Guide

Palccoyo, on the other hand, is located lower at 5,000 meters, a mostly flat and easy 1.5-hour walk up, just a handful of tourists per day but has fewer colored mountain tops. To avoid standing at a busy mountain top visiting Palccoyo is the best choice.

➳ Also: Discover the surprising capital Lima, Peru.

palccoyo rainbow mountain drone

Rainbow Mountain Altitude Sickness

Both require you to have a good condition, and both will cause altitude sickness as this usually starts to get worse at 4,000 meters. Your guide will take perfect care of you and carries coca leaves, candy, and other items that will help against altitude sickness.

➳ Read: Everything about Arequipa, the white city of Peru

Hike the Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain in Peru

To get to Palccoyo, you have to drive through an incredible valley over a dirt road for one hour. High snow-top mountains, water streaming down the valley that’s surrounded by Alpacas. 

➳ Book this Alternative Rainbow Mountain Tour with Exploor.

peru Rainbow Mountain horse

The locals in this area suffer from the cold weather in the winter as it is remote and hard to reach during that time of the year. Elderly, babies and a lot of Alpacas, unfortunately, die every winter. 

Please take: warm clothing or blankets and donate them to the villages to help them get through the winter.

➳ Also read: Machu Picchu Tour Guide

Hiking the Palccoyo Mountain in Peru

After 3 hours of driving from Cusco, you will arrive at the start of the hiking path. If you look around, you can already spot the first colors. Yes, the colors are real. Red, yellow, blue, orange, and a few more are covering the mountains.

➳ Read; 14 Things to do in Cusco

rainbow mountain peru palccoyo

Together with your guide, take the walk to the different viewpoints and finish at the Stone Forrest at 5,000 meters. It will be a hike of 90 minutes where only the last 15 minutes are steep uphill. Take a lot of water; you need to drink 3 liters per day at this height.

Tip: Take small coins with you that you can use to walk with an Alpaca or to wear traditional clothing.

When to visit the Rainbow Mountain in Peru?

Visiting the Rainbow Mountain in Peru is best in the dry season between April and November with June to August as the best time to visit the Rainbow Mountains.

To fly a drone: you need to purchase a permit at the entrance.

palccoyo rainbow mountain stone forest

What to wear at the Rainbow Mountain?

Expect freezing weather during your morning hike. The weather can be very unpredictable. For this reason, wear layers that you can remove or add during the hike. Here’s what to wear:

  • Sunblock – The sun is intense at this height!
  • Hiking shoes or sport shoes
  • One or two pair of long socks
  • Long trousers
  • Tank top and t-shirt
  • Sweater
  • Jacket
  • Gloves

23/01/2020 https://www.saltinourhair.com/peru/rainbow-mountain-peru-palccoyo/
Blog comments (6)

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  • We are currently in Cusco and it’s very difficult to find a trustfully tour provider
    Did you go with a tour or a private guy? Which company did you book with?

    Regards from Cusco ?

  • Thank you so much for this post!
    When I followed your storys on Instagram I count the days for this guide :D
    Me and my boyfriend are planing a trip through Peru this November and we are now disscussing the pro and cons of Palccoyo and Vinicunca.
    Have you been on both mountains or are all these pictures from Palccoyo ?
    Best wishes from Croatia!! \^o^/

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Sammy,
      We only had the opportunity to visit Palccoyo, so we can’t comment on Vinicunca but we loved our choice!

  • I honestly want to thank you for these posts on Peru. I’m planning a once in a lifetime trip here with my Mum in a couple of years, as it as always been number one on her bucket list. It’s great to see that there is more to this country than Machu Piccu, because I had no clue before following your journey there. Cheers!

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