SHORT RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK

2 Days 1 Night

The SHORT RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK takes you past snow-capped mountains, local wildlife, and the colorful striated Vinicunca mountains at sunrise!

The Short Rainbow Trek is a beautiful route located in the high Andes that traverses the incredibly colorful Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountains. This beautiful two-day hike surrounded by glacial mountains treks in the shadow of the highest mountain in the Cusco Region, Ausangate (6300m/21,000ft). This is the perfect choice for those without a lot of time or who don’t want to camp for more than one night but still want to see the Rainbow Mountain at the time of day when the colors are most vivid (sunset and sunrise). You also avoid the hoards of people encountered on the one day hike!
The Rainbow Mountains or Vinicunca 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. Along your journey you will see glacial peaks, llamas, alpacas, chinchillas, and stunning vistas! If you would like to do the longer Rainbow Trek with Machu Picchu you can go on our incredible 9D/8N Extended Ausangate Rainbow Trek Package or the 6D/5N Rainbow Trek & Machu Picchu Package. 
It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. The campsite is at high elevation and therefore will be quite cold in the evening. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).

Meters

Kilometers

Days

Nights

The Nitty Gritty Trek Details

Highlights

Off the beaten path, pristine wilderness, Vinicunca, Rainbow Mountains, glacial peaks, Ausangate Mountain

Location/Terrain

Glacial, snow-capped peaks, high pass, rocky terrain, striated mountains

Acclimatization

3 day acclimatization and hiking experience recommended

Duration

2 Days/1 Nights

Distance

17 km/10.6 miles

Altitude

3300m/10,827ft to 5050m/16,568ft

Adventure Rating

★★★★☆
Moderate to strenuous, lengthy, high altitude

Solitude Rating

★★★★☆
Quiet, remote, off the beaten track

When to Go

Best from March to November

Departures

Daily departures with 2 or more people

Prices USD

6-10 trekkers: $400, 3-5 trekkers: $490, 2 trekkers: $520 (per person)

Customizable

Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.

DAY 01: CUSCO – QUESIUNO – ANANTAPATA – WARMISAYA PASS – LAKE CAMPSITE

We leave early (around 5am) to drive 4 hours to the small village of Quesiuno where we stop and have a light breakfast. After breakfast we start hiking for 3 hours, beginning with a short uphill climb followed by a gradual trail along the Quesiuno Valley until we get to our lunch spot located at Anantapata 4400m/14,435ft. Here we have amazing views of green hills and snow-capped peaks. After lunch and a little rest, we start on our steep uphill climb for 1.5 hours until we reach the Warmisaya (aka Pitumarca) Pass 5050m/16,568ft. After enjoying the views at the top we descend for 20 minutes to Yanacocha lake (4600m/15,092ft) where we set up camp for the night. Optional sunset hike: after dropping our bags, we take our 1 hour uphill sunset hike to the Rainbow Mountain Pass (5050m/16,568ft) and watch as the sun sets over the stunning Rainbow Valley. Once we have finished enjoying the view, we hike 45 minutes back down to camp to have happy hour (tea and snacks) followed by a hearty dinner. Enjoy sleeping under the stars in our 4 season tents.

 

  • Approximate departure time: 5am
  • Approximate walking distance: 11 km/6.8 miles (about 6-7 hours).
  • Campsite elevation: 4600m/15,092ft
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
  • Overnight: 3 person, 4 season tents (double occupancy)
  • Highest Elevation: 5050m/16,568ft
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous

DAY 02: LAKE CAMPSITE – RAINBOW MOUNTAIN – CUSIPATA – CUSCO

After a very early breakfast (5am) we hike 1 hour up to the Rainbow Mountain Pass (Vinicunca Mountains or Montañas de Colores), the highest pass of the trek, again to see the beautiful Rainbow Valley at sunrise (5050m/16,568ft)! Enjoy the view for an hour without the crowds as we are one of the first groups to arrive. Your guide will walk you to the best spots to get beautiful pictures of these incredible mountains and the other surrounding peaks. After enjoying the sunrise view we hike for 30 minutes to the viewpoint of the Red Valley and then we will hike 1.5 hours down to Cusipata where we will have lunch and end our trek. After lunch our private transport will drive us back to Cusco where we will drop you off at your hotel.

 

  • Approximate walking distance: 6 km/3.7 miles (about 3 hours)
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, snacks
  • Highest Elevation: 5050m/16,568ft
  • Level of Difficulty: moderate
  • Approximate time back in Cusco: 4-5PM
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • 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
  • Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
  • Drybag to carry your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty
  • 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
  • Extra-thick foam mattress sleeping pad to put under your sleeping bag
  • English speaking professional guide
  • Meals (3 meals day 1, 2 meals day 2, snacks on the trail both days)
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
  • Emergency horse (1-2 per group depending on group size)
  • Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
  • Dining and cooking tents with tables and stools
  • Horsemen and horses (to carry tents/food/cooking equipment)
  • Hot water every morning/evening for washing purposes
  • Boiled water to fill water bottles every morning/afternoon
  • Private Transport back to hotel in Cusco
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Flights
  • Hotel before/after trek
  • Dinner on the last day
  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
  • Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 400 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 490 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 520 USD per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.

WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
March to November. (Dec to Feb: rainfall and snow can block the pass and cancel the trek). This trek is rated as a moderate to challenging (intermediate to advanced) hike considering the high altitudes and length of walking especially on the 2nd Day. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 3 days before trekking

ON THE TRAIL
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 before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We will provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by horses.

HELPING LOCAL PEOPLE
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 ON YOUR TREK
What to bring: for your trek: 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. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. 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

  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
  • Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
  • Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
  • Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
  • Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
  • 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), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
  • Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, 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)
  • Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
  • Sandals
  • Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
  • Insect repellent
  • Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
  • 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 to refill
  • 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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