The Mountain of 7 Colors (also called Vinicunca or simply ‘Rainbow Mountain’) is one of the new and best attractions in Peru. Located more than 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco, on an altitudinal summit located at 5,200 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.). It is a mountainous formation dyed in various shades as a result of the complex combination of minerals. The slopes and the summit are dyed in various shades including red, purple, green, yellow, pink and other variations. This tourist attraction was surrounded by ice not many years ago. Since 2016, this place has received hundreds of visitors a day, becoming, along with Machu Picchu, one of the most visited places in Cusco-Peru. Below all the information about the Mountain of 7 Colors.
- Location, height and more information.
- Trip to the Mountain of 7 Colors.
- Mountain of the 7 Colors in Argentina, Iran, China and other countries.
- Questions and answers about the 7 Colors Mountain
The Mountain of 7 Colors is the second most visited tourist attraction in Cusco, only after Machu Picchu. The best way to visit it is with an all-inclusive tour. The reason? Doing it on your own is difficult, there is no public transport there, which can be even more expensive compared to a tour. Fortunately for tourists, the tour to this destination is one of the cheapest in Cusco (if we compare it with other tours such as Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley). You dare?
Beautiful view of the Mountain of 7 colors, also known as the rainbow mountain
Location, height and more information:
Why is it called Mountain of the 7 Colors? – According to various investigations carried out in the place, the multicolored tones are due to the different minerals that cover the area in layers: red clay and mud (pink), clay (red), sandstone (white), marl (lavender), clay and oxide copper (green) and limonite (yellow-brown). These natural substances began to form 65 million years ago when water and rain covered their slopes and peaks. With the passing of time, the extreme weather melted the snow that formed there, revealing to the world what is today one of the most important tourist attractions in Cusco.
location and Height – This amazing place is located in the Andes of Peru, in the department of Cusco and province of Canchis, at 5,200 meters above sea level, an area of considerable elevation. It belongs to the town of Pitumarca who call it the ‘Cerro Colorado’. Because it is located on the way to the imposing snow-capped Ausangate, this site was known long before by adventurers who dared to hike. The photos they posted on Facebook and Instagram made him gain popularity. Since 2016 it is a highly visited tourist attraction.
How to get? – Due to its location, just over 100 kilometers from the city of Cuzco, this place can be reached by car in the first instance. After a trip of approximately 2 hours along the Longitudinal highway of the Sierra del Sur Peruano, you will arrive at the town of Cusipata. The journey continues along a trail path to the community of Phulawasipata . From there, a route follows mountain slopes. This journey is 5 kilometers long and can be done on foot or on horseback to finally arrive at Vinicunca. There are tours that offer this service.
Mountain of 7 Colors route map
weather – The climate, typical of the highest areas of Cusco, is cold. Rain, wind and altitude sickness (or soroche) can be the biggest obstacles for travelers. Temperatures can drop below zero degrees Celsius. The rains can happen at any time of the year. To make your visit, take a rain poncho with you.
Flora and fauna – The incredible geography of the place is the scene of typical animals of high Andean areas such as llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. The inhabitants of the area raise horses to offer them as transportation to visitors. Due to the height of this region, the ichu or natural herb of the Andes abounds.
Landscape that can be seen when starting the trip to the Mountain of 7 colors
Trip to the Mountain of 7 Colors
Tour to the Mountain of 7 Colors – This picturesque summit used to be an attractive 4-day trek to the snowy Ausangate. Over the years, this mountain gained popularity of its own. Today, the most widespread way to visit this summit is through a tour. There are 1-day and 2-day services. Most include transportation, food, entrance fees and a professional guide. In the city of Cuzco there are many tourist agencies offering these services.
Traveling on your own? – It is also possible to visit the ‘Cerro Colorado’ on your own. To do this, the visitor must take the buses to ‘Sicuani’ in the city of Cusco and get off in the town of Cusipata. Then you must take a collective taxi to the community of Phulawasipata, where the hike to the Mountain of 7 Colors begins. The price of the entrance ticket is 15 soles for Peruvians and 25 soles for foreigners.
Mountain difficulty – The walk takes approximately 2 hours (depends on the physical state of the tourist). It is not dangerous and demands a moderate-high physical effort. There are sections of considerable slopes up and down. However, one of the biggest difficulties is the cold weather and icy wind. The altitude of the area can cause altitude sickness or soroche. A previous acclimatization of 1 or 2 days in the city of Cusco is recommended.
Recommendations – Spend a day or two acclimatizing in the city of Cusco. Bring warm clothes for the walk. If you do not consider yourself in good physical condition for the walk, rent a horse from one of the locals. That day, do not forget a cap or hat, sunscreen, jacket, pants, ideal shoes for trekking and a poncho for the rain.
Tour to the Mountain of 7 Colors in ATV – An adventurous option to the classic tour to the 7 Colors Mountain is to choose the ATV route. This route adds an ATV circuit of almost 2 hours. All other services included are the same: pick up, complete transportation, professional guide, breakfast and lunch. The cost of the ATV tour is more expensive compared to the classic tour.
Difference: tour to the mountain 7 colors classic and in quad
|Details||Classic Vinicunca Tour||Tour Vinicunca ATV|
|Start time||4 am||5 am|
|End time||6 pm||6 pm|
|Included||Pick up, guide, tickets, transportation, breakfast and lunch.||Pick up, guide, tickets, transportation, breakfast, lunch and full ATV equipment.|
|final walk||6 kilometers (difficult).||2 kilometers (moderate).|
|Altitude||5,200 masl.||5,200 masl.|
|horse option||Yes (optional).||No (optional motorcycle).|
|Price||$40 approx.||$90 approx.|
|Recommended||For all.||For young.|
Mountain of the 7 Colors in Argentina, China and other countries:
Peru is not the only country whose geography is home to one of these natural formations. In South America, Argentina was also blessed with similar landscapes. In the world, Iran, China, Mauritius Islands are also home to a similar geological formation.
Mountain of the 7 Colors in Argentina – In addition to Cusco, the Argentine Andes have a mountainous formation of various colors. The ‘Cerro de Siete Colores’ is one of the most touristic places in the town of Purmamarca, in the province of Jujuy in Argentina. It is located in a desert geography where in the sunlight, this summit shows off its impressive colors.
Rainbow Mountain in China – The Zhangye Danxia Archaeological Park in the Gansu province of China also has a similar formation. These mountainous formations are recognized as the most beautiful in that country. They are one of the biggest attractions of that region.
Rainbow Mountain in other countries – In addition to Peru, Argentina and China, Iran and Mauritius are also home to colorful formations. In Mauritius they call their dunes dyed in endless shades the ‘Land of Seven Colors’. In Iran they are called ‘Ala Daghlar’ and they are one of the main landscapes of the city of Tabriz, in the northeast of the Asian country.
Tourists on the way to the rainbow mountain
Questions and answers about the 7 Colors Mountain
- 1) How much does the entrance to the Mountain of 7 Colors cost?
The entrance to Vinicunca for Peruvians is 15 soles ($4). Foreigners pay 25 soles ($7). The tickets have a symbolic price for the maintenance of the tourist attraction.
- 2) How to hire a horse during the visit to the Vinicunca Mountain?
In the community of Phulawasipata, the inhabitants rent their horses for an approximate cost of 100 soles (30 dollars). This service is round trip.
The only way to hire a horse is by negotiating directly with the residents. There is no way to reserve one online.
- 3) How to avoid altitude sickness in the Mountain of the 7 Colors?
Altitude sickness or soroche It is a natural malaise that people suffer when visiting high altitude regions. The main symptoms are headache and fatigue.
To avoid symptoms during the trek to Vinicunca, it is recommended to get used to the climate of the city of Cusco at least 1 or 2 days before the excursion.
It is also advised to drink plenty of water. Coca tea is the best option: this infusion is made from the coca leaf, a sacred plant of the Incas.
- 4) What are the hours at the Mountain of 7 Colors?
The Vinicunca does not have a defined schedule. The visits are exclusive during the day and part of the afternoon, due to the extremely cold weather when the sun goes down.
The 1-day tours to the Mountain of 7 Colors have an approximate schedule of 14 hours (from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
- 5) Can children visit the Mountain of 7 Colors?
Children can visit the Vinicunca under the supervision of their parents. However, the climate and altitude are not recommended for babies or children with health problems.
- 6) Are there hotels near the Rainbow Mountain?
The closest hotel services to Vinicunca are in the town of Cusipata. The hotels there are simple but nice.
- 7) Are there bathrooms in the Mountain of the 7 Colors?
At some points on the road to Vinicunca, the inhabitants had basic bathrooms for the needs of tourists. These have a cost of 1 Peruvian sol (0.3 US dollars).
- 8) How to hire a tour guide?
The only way to visit the Vinicunca in the company of a tour guide is by purchasing the tour service. Otherwise, you can visit without a guide.
- 9) Is it possible to visit Vinicunca in a wheelchair?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the Vinicunca in a wheelchair. This is because the dirt roads are very steep in certain parts, making it impossible to travel on wheels.
- 10) Can older adults visit the Vinicunca?
Seniors can visit the 7 Colors Mountain if they are in good physical shape. Older adults who are not used to walking should consult with their doctor.
Advice from people who have been there
“This experience was great. Being on top of this mountain is something you will remember all your life. Not only for its beauty, but for reaching the goal. I loved that moment! Some recommendations: wear comfortable sports clothing, very comfortable shoes, a jacket, a scarf or something to cover your nose. Also be acclimatized“
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, May 5, 2023