For a long time the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain was covered with snow and ice and was hardly known. In the year 2016 there were probably the first tourist tours going there. Within a very short time the mountain became a popular spot. A new road, which is actually a narrow path where the canyon goes down hundreds of meters just next to it, had recently opened in summer 2017 to shorten the hike. Meanwhile, the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is known by everybody and is literally overrun. Anyway if you are in Peru, you should see it.
The tour starts very early in the morning from Cusco by bus. Arrived at the mountain, you can already see the first colors. But the real rainbow comes only at the top. After about 1h hiking you reach the summit. There are also tours with longer ascent. On the rainbow mountain you reache an altitude of over 5100m. A flight from Lima (0m) to Cusco and afterwards a direct visit of the Rainbow Mountains is not recommended. At height, everybody rules differently. However, the best preparation is when you have already spent a few days in high areas, e.g. Cusco or Lake Titicaca and your body has started to produce more red blood cells. Coca leaves, which you can find everywhere in the higher areas, are said to be helpful too.
There was also the possibility to be brought up by a horse, but of course you should try it without. If you can’t go any further, you still can ask for help if necessary. Some had no problems with the height, others had problems to breath, others had nosebleeds and headaches after the tour.
Now to Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain itself – it is absolutely breathtaking. This natural variety of colors is just great. At the top you can also see down into the red valley on the other side. There are also tours that include this.
The descent is much easier, because with every step you take you reach a lower altitude again.
Oh and by the way, Peru is not the only place with a rainbow mountain in South America. In Argentina there is also a great one, the Hornocal.