Vinicunca, the hypnotic rainbow mountain in Peru
Cusco is a department privileged by nature and history. The capital of the Inca Empire houses wonders of all kinds in its territory, such as the unforgettable citadel of Machu Picchu or the wonderful Manu National Park. Attractions like these make it easy to understand why the Incas chose Cusco to build the navel of the world there.
In addition to the historical monuments and archeological sites it boasts, the department of Cusco embraces true wonders of nature in its territory, such as the snow-capped Ausangate and Salkantay mountains, two of the most beautiful mountains on the continent. Located in the heart of the Cusco Andes, they were considered true deities by the Incas.
A rainbow transformed into a mountain
"Apu" was the name with which the wise Inca civilization called the mountains which were considered to have mystical powers. Although most of these majestic mountains were covered with snow, there was one that stood out for its colorfulness: the Vinicunca mountain, also known as “the rainbow mountain” in Peru.
This peculiar geographical feature - or natural work of art - belongs to the Ausangate snow-capped mountain, in the Vilcanota mountain range. Although its special beauty is directly proportional to the height at which it is located (the highest point reaches 17000 ft above sea level), thousands of people from all over the world dream of visiting it and come to Cusco to make their dreams come true.
The Incas accorded Vinicunca a masculine character, considering that a masculine energy sprouted up from its foundations that fertilized Mother Earth, known as Pachamama. As if that were not enough, the natural setting that surrounds it is no less impressive: turquoise lagoons, a varied fauna and dazzling snow-capped mountains complete a dreamlike landscape. The district that hosts this natural wonder is Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis. The local inhabitants consider Vinicunca to be a "sacred mountain", leading them to perform rituals such as the payment to the earth, and which can make the visit an experience of great mysticism.
Tips for visiting the rainbow mountain in Peru
Visiting Vinicunca is one of the main attractions of this fascinating Peruvian department, and in recent years it has actually become one of the most visited destinations in the imperial city. In addition to its unusual and beautiful appearance, the amazing trekking trail focuses on the imposing snow-capped Ausangate, another natural wonder of Cusco. However, it is important to keep in mind that the rainbow mountain is between 13,000 and 17,000 ft above sea level, so it is essential to take precautions before visiting it.
The most important thing is that the trip is planned over two days or more, because it is an intermediate level trek, which makes acclimatization an essential step to enjoy the experience.
If you have already decided and want to see this rainbow on land, take into account the following recommendations:
• Take a couple of days to acclimatize, especially if you are not used to doing long treks at high altitude.
• Do not do activities that could damage the colors of the mountain, such as extreme sports. To avoid over-crowding, wait for your turn to take photos.
• Don't forget to bring non-perishable food and a bag to store your waste.
• In this area there is a high presence of endangered species such as vicuñas, Andean cats and condors, so it is necessary to look after the place during your visit.
Finally, bear in mind during your trip that you can contribute to the economic movement of the area’s inhabitants and to the sustainable development of the surrounding communities.
Trekking to the rainbow mountain