In a remote, high stretch of the Andes, lies an entire mountain—from its narrow spine to the valley floors far below—that is colored in bands of red, yellow, green, turquoise and violet. Aptly named the Rainbow Mountain, its psychedelic display of colors, set against the vivid blue of the Andean sky, makes it one of the most stunning and surreal landscapes on earth.
The mountain’s unique coloration comes from the minerals present in its layers of sediments. This natural wonder was only recently discovered after the glaciers that once hid the colors from view receded. Today, it is a must-see destination on any Cusco itinerary.
Accessible only by horse or foot, the trek to Rainbow Mountain will take you through vast and breathtaking Andean landscapes. You will walk in the shadow of the majestic, snowcapped Ausangate Mountain, the highest in the Cusco region. This peak is revered and celebrated till today as an Apu, or mountain god, by the Quechua. Along the trail you will see the quaint adobe homes of the pastoralists who live here and their herds of llamas and alpaca grazing on the hillsides.
At the end of the trail, at 17,000 feet above sea level, you will reach a lookout point with an impressive view of the Rainbow Mountain. After some time to explore and take pictures, make your way back down the trail, leaving one of nature’s most remarkable works of art behind us.