HighlightsOff the beaten path, pristine wilderness, Vinicunca Mountains aka Rainbow Mountains, glacial peaks, Ausangate Mountain, Day Hike!
Distance15 km/9.3 miles
Duration1 Day Hike
DeparturesDaily departures with 2 or more people
Altitude3300m/10,827ft to 5050m/16,568ft
Adventure Rating★★★★☆ Moderate to strenuous, lengthy, high altitude
Solitude Rating★★★★★ Quiet, remote, off the beaten track
When to GoBest from March to November
Location/TerrainGlacial, snow-capped peaks, high pass, rocky terrain
Acclimatization2-3 day acclimatization recommended
CustomizableYes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.
Prices (USD)6-10 trekkers: $150pp,  3-5 trekkers: $200pp, 2 trekkers: $275pp

The RAINBOW MOUNTAINS is a spectacular natural wonder boasting colorful striated mountains. Surrounded by glacial mountains, this route treks in the shadow of the highest mountain in the Cusco Region, Ausangate (6300m/21,000ft). The one-day hike is 15km/9.3 miles long and goes from 4326m/14,189ft to 5050m/16,568ft. The Rainbow Mountains are composed of stratified layers of sandstone. These fine-grained rock layers contain large amounts of iron and other minerals, which give the mountains the pigments for the various colored stripes. Another exceptionally beautiful day hike is the Lake Humantay One Day Hike.


This is a moderate to challenging day hike, not technical, with a high pass and unpredictable weather. It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. Minimum passengers necessary for tour departure: 2 people (small group, 1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).


We will pick you up very early from your Cusco hotel (3:00am) and set out on a drive through the South Valley. The drive to the trailhead at Quesiuno (4326m/14,189ft) is about 3.5-4 hours. Once we reach the Inkintuyoc bridge, we will have our breakfast. After breakfast we fill our water bottles/bladders and start on our day hike, following a lovely stream. You will pass by beautiful herds of alpacas and llamas and along the way we will have distant views of the Ausangate Mountain. We will hike through villages and interact with the local residents. If we are very lucky we may see some chinchillas and vicuñas. Vicuñas are the only non-domesticated animal of the llama family in Peru and are very skittish. After a total hike of approximately 4 hours, we reach the incredible Rainbow Mountains (5050m/16,568ft). After taking pictures you have some time to explore the area and enjoy the stunning views. Once we are done enjoying the scenery, having snacks, resting and taking pictures, we hike back down the way we came. This part of the hike will take around 3 to 4 hours back to where we started. Here we will have a hot buffet lunch and then we will take our private transport back to your hotel in Cusco (about a 3.5-4 hour drive).

  • Approximate departure time: 3:00 AM
  • Approximate arrival time in Cusco is between 7 and 8 PM
  • Walking distance: 15 km / 9 ¼ miles
  • Approximate walking time: 4 hours up; 3 to 4 hours down (total 7-8 hours)
  • Meals: Breakfast, snacks, hot buffet lunch
  • Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (you choice) Plaza Regocijo
  • Private bus transport to starting point of the trek
  • English speaking professional guide
  • Box breakfast, 1 Liter of water, snacks, and hot buffet lunch at the end of the hike
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
  • Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and stools
  • Toilet tent with toilet and toilet paper
  • Entrance to the Ausangate/Rainbow trail
  • Private Transport back to hotel in Cusco

A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 150 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 200 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers:  275 USD per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.


March to November though it can be hiked year round. This trek is rated as a moderate to challenging (intermediate to advanced) hike considering the high altitudes and length of walking. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 3 days before trekking

  • Flights/Hotel
  • Dinner
  • Walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
  • Items of a personal nature and souvenirs
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy

On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need on the trail.


Helping Local Children or Andean People (Optional) Along certain treks we may encounter some local children and Andean people.  If you wish to lend a helping hand you may bring some clothes, toys, books and school equipment (used or new), toiletries and other essentials, and new/sealed medication for a variety of ailments.  You will be rewarded with their gratitude and beautiful smiles. Please do not give candy or sweets as they do not have access to dental/medical care and tooth decay can lead to serious illness. For those who wish to help but take a trek that does not pass local people or villages you can leave your donated items with a Killa Expeditions representative and we will distribute them to one of the local communities that we support.  There are a variety of other ways in which to lend a helping hand to local communities (charity events, building schools, and much more). If interested please get in touch!


What to bring: for your day hike: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction especially when it has rained

  • Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Hiking pants and shirts/fleece/sweater/shell (layers)
  • Hand warmers if you wish
  • Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
  • Daypack and rain cover
  • Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), or can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek in Cusco
  • Cash for tipping the cook, guide, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
  • Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
    • E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar (as Cusco does not have anything like this)
  • First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
  • Personal medication and toiletries you might want
  • Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
  • Water bottle or water bladder
  • Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
  • Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
  • Power adapter/converter
  • Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
  • Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
  • Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)

What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs

  • Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
  • Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
  • Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
  • Cold/flu medication
  • General pain killer/fever reducer
  • Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)

View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.

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