After Machu Picchu, the multicolored landscape of Vinicunca or ‘Rainbow’ mountain is one of the most striking vistas in the whole of Peru and is rightfully high on the ‘must see’ list for most travelers. Whilst there are many companies in Cusco providing long, single day excursions to the most popular lookout points, we believe that by taking a little more time and the opportunity to stay out overnight in this dazzling environment, you will be well rewarded with an experience more spectacular, and more personal than any other company can offer.
Taking our time as we hike through remote Andean villages, you will have the opportunity to witness up close the daily routines of the local villagers, as well as the curious Alpacas. Somewhat unique to this area, you may also see Vicuñas which are reputed to be the only non-domestic animal to be seen in the country since Pre-Inca times.
Parts of the hike include challenging ascents, but the views as we reach a number of high altitude passes are truly spectacular. Snow capped peaks, sumptuous valleys, cascading glaciers and ice blue lakes awaken the avid photographer in all of us, or merely take time to sit back and enjoy Nature’s displays.
Our hike through the Red Valley takes us on a route far less travelled. Immersing ourselves in the vivid colors of the surrounding landscape, the peace, tranquility and majesty of this area of the Andes is overwhelming.
As we camp overnight, far from the tourist crowds and bright lights of Cusco, the clouds part to show the most incredible night sky. We provide all your creature comforts, from your luxury tent to the incredible meals served by our awesome chef. All you need to do is sit back, rest your weary legs and enjoy the moment.
So why not take a break from the crowds and join us on what will be an unforgettable, technicolor journey.
Overall trek distance: 28 km / 17.3 miles
Starting altitude: 4,380 m / 14,370 ft
Maximum altitude: 5,020 m / 16,466 ft
Overall trek difficulty: Challenging
Our guide will provide you with a pre-trek briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before we depart. Whilst we always aim to provide as much information as possible, this also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the trek, your crew or the areas we’ll be visiting.
Picking you up from your Cusco hotel at 4:00am we drive for 3 hours to the Pampa Alcataury trailhead. Here we will go over any final checks, and enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by our chef. We always ensure that we pack lots of energy into our meals for the hiking we have ahead.
We start our hike with views of Mount Ausangate in the distance. Walking through small villages and past Llama farms, we climb steadily for 2 hours to the first pass of the trek; Puccacocha (4,930 m / 16,170 ft.). The pass has the most incredible views over Puccacocha Lake as well as the glacier of Mount Ausangate.
We next take a much gentler, undulating trail for 2 hours to Anantapata where we will stop for lunch, re-energizing you after the morning’s exertions.
After lunch it is a 3 hour trail (both up and down) to the Minasniyuc pass (5,025 m / 16,486 ft.) and our first views of Rainbow Mountain. We will have plenty of time to take in the views, and take some amazing photos. We will camp for the night at lake Surine Cocha, which is an easy 40 minute descent from the pass.
The campsite will have been prepared ahead of our arrival, and so you will have plenty of time to take in the views before we sit down together to a sumptuous dinner. The evening is then yours to do some star-gazing, or retire to your tent for a well earned rest.
Remember that at this altitude, night time temperatures can drop below freezing, so please ensure you bring layered clothing and that your sleeping bag is sufficient to keep you warm. If necessary you can rent a suitable sleeping bag from us.
Day 2 begins with a hearty breakfast, complete with mugs of steaming hot coca tea or coffee. Then, before we leave all you need to do is just pack your personal gear away, our team take care of the rest.
A short, steep 1 hour climb takes us to the lookout point for Rainbow Mountain. We take our time here, so you can find your own space and peace to take photos of the spectacular multicolored peaks, or just sit and soak it all in.
When we’re ready, we begin our hike into the Red Valley. Don’t be put off by the lack of tourists…their loss is our gain!! After a short 30 minute walk we reach a lookout point with a 360 degree panorama of the valley. This really is an area where the views just keep on giving.
Our hike ends with a 4 hour descent to Labramany, once again passing through a number of remote villages. At Labramany we will enjoy our final lunch together before taking the van back to Cusco, and a transfer to your hotel. You should expect to arrive at your hotel in the early evening.
Note: We will always do our best to follow the itinerary as closely as possible. However we reserve the right to change the itinerary without prior notice according to weather conditions, strikes, roadblocks, or other events which are beyond our control.
Services Not Included:
What to bring: