Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain 3 Days - Huillca Expedition

Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain 3 Days

The Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain Hike is one of the most popular routes in southern Peru, and for good reason. This short hike will take you from Ausangate to Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world.

The starting point for this adventure is the community of Pacchanta, a place full of culture and Andean experiences of Peru. Here you can meet local people and learn about their customs and traditions. During the journey, you will be amazed by the most impressive natural landscapes of Ausangate, surrounded by mountain flora and fauna. Along the way, you can enjoy spectacular views of the snowy peaks of Ausangate, one of the most sacred and mystical places in the Andes. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to see crystal clear lagoons, waterfalls, and glaciers in all their splendor.

Once you reach Rainbow Mountain, you will be amazed by the beauty and vibrant colors of this wonderful natural formation. Rainbow Mountain is a sandstone peak that has formed over millions of years, creating a beautiful variety of colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. It is a magical place where you can feel the energy of nature and connect with the universe.

  • Duration: 3 days and 2 nights
  • Distance: 32 km on foot
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Daily walking time: 8-12 Km daily
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Includes
  • Recommends
  • Prices
  • Faq's

Summary of the Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain

The Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain itinerary is a 3-day trek that takes you through the stunning Andean landscapes of Peru. On the first day, you will drive to Pacchanta, have breakfast, and explore the Pacchanta community before starting the hike towards the Upis campsite. On day two, you will hike to the Apacheta Pass, admire the Pucacocha Lakes, and descend to the Ananta camp. Finally, on day three, you will start early to reach Rainbow Mountain, descend, and return to Cusco for lunch.

Are you looking for a tour to Ausangate?

You will like this destination…

  • One of the shortest expeditions of the trip to Ausangate Rainbow Mountain.
  • Travel the expedition to the red mountain of Peru.
  • Rainbow Mountain is located at 5,034 m west of Ausangate mountain, Cusco.
  • Recommended by National Geographic as one of the places you should visit before you die.
  • Vinicunca also called Mountain of Colors is due to the corrosion of the minerals present in the rocky mountain.
  • You will discover the landscapes accompanied by your guide.


  • Day 1: Cusco, Pacchanta, Upis
  • Day 2: Upis, Ananta
  • Day 3: Ananta, Rainbow Mountain, Cusco

Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco, Pacchanta, Upis

The Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain hike begins early in the morning with a pick-up from your hotel at 4:00 am. We will then drive to the community of Pacchanta in our mobile vehicle, taking the same route as if we were heading towards Puerto Maldonado. After driving for a while, we will reach the small town of Tinke, where we will make a quick stop to do some last-minute shopping in case anything was forgotten. This is the last chance to purchase anything needed for the hike, so it's important to take advantage of this opportunity.

Once we have everything we need, we will continue driving until we reach Pacchanta, where a delicious breakfast will be waiting for us. From here, we will have an amazing view of the Ausangate mountain from the north-facing side. After breakfast, we will take a cultural tour of the Pacchanta community and enjoy a satisfying lunch. In the afternoon, we will start our hike towards the Upis campsite, which is about 6 km away from Pacchanta. Here, we will spend the night under the protective cloak of the Ausangate mountain.

As we hike towards Upis, we will be surrounded by breathtaking views of the Andean landscapes and natural beauty. We'll get a chance to see herds of alpacas, llamas grazing in the highlands, as well as witness the local flora and fauna that inhabit the area. Upon reaching the campsite, we'll set up our tents and enjoy a warm cup of coca tea while taking in the stunning views of the night sky. It's the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge for the next day's adventure.

Note: For every night, bring good clothes because the cold is intense.

  • Distance: 6 km
  • Walking time: 3 hours on foot
  • Route level: moderate
  • Altitude: 4550 m.a.s.l.
  • High passes: Paso Arapa 4753 m.a.s.l.
  • Accommodation: tents
  • Camp: Pucacocha 4438 m.a.s.l.

The Ausangate culture on the Rainbow Mountain trek

Day 2. Upis, Apacheta Pass, Ananta

During this day, we will begin the hike early in the morning, ascending to the Arapa Pass at an altitude of 4750 meters above sea level. This ascent is a challenge, but upon reaching the summit, we will be rewarded with a breathtaking landscape that will leave us speechless. This stretch is a traverse through the sandstone that leads us directly to Vinicunca, the famous Rainbow Mountain. The hike continues on a beautiful path that takes us to the Pucacocha Lakes, another impressive place that we cannot fail to admire.

However, the best view of the majestic Ausangate is found at the Apacheta Pass at an altitude of 4914 meters above sea level. From there, we can admire a wonderful and picturesque landscape, with brightly colored lagoons that are located in the distance. Once we reach the pass, we will begin the descent until we reach the Ananta camp, where we can observe the impressive red landscapes that stretch out before us. In this place, we can appreciate the villages of alpaca breeders and learn more about the lives of the people who live in this region of the Andes. It is a day full of impressive views that we will not easily forget.

  • Distance: 12 km
  • Walking time: 6 hours on foot
  • Route level: moderate
  • Altitude: Max 4950 m.a.s.l. Min. 4588 m.a.s.l.
  • High passes: Mirador Apacheta 4938 m.a.s.l., Paso Huarmisaya 4977 m.a.s.l.
  • Accommodation: tents
  • Camp: Surimana 4813 m.a.s.l.

View of Pucacocha lagoon on the Rainbow Mountain trek

Day 3. Ananta, Rainbow Mountain, Cusco

After an early breakfast at 4:30 am, we will embark on one of the most exciting journeys of our hike. Today is the day we finally reach the famous Rainbow Mountain. To ensure we have the best experience possible, we will begin our hike at 5:00 am, aiming to arrive early and have the chance to enjoy the mountain before the one-day expeditions arrive.

For years, Huillca Expedition has been dedicated to exploring the most beautiful and lesser-known places in Peru. That's why our group will be one of the first to ascend the colorful mountain. It's a unique opportunity to experience nature in its purest form, in the company of other travelers who share the same passion for adventure and natural beauty.

Rainbow Mountain is one of the most stunning and colorful places in the region, with its unique and breathtaking landscapes. Once we've enjoyed enough, we'll descend the mountain to take our transportation back to Cusco. On the way, we'll stop in Cusipata to have lunch at one of our partner restaurants, where we can enjoy delicious local dishes.

Finally, we'll arrive in Cusco around 4:00 pm, after an exciting and adventurous journey in the majestic Peruvian Andes. This day will be one of the most unforgettable memories of our lives, thanks to the natural beauty and unique experience that Huillca Expedition offers.

  • Distance: 4.6 km
  • Walking time: 4 hours on foot
  • Route level: Difficult
  • Altitude: Max 5034 m.a.s.l., min 4813 m.a.s.l.
  • Arrival in Cusco: approximately at 6:00 p.m.

The great Rainbow Mountain in Peru seen on the Ausangate trek

The hike to vinicunca includes

  • Fully personalized online advice (Meet, Zoom) for planning the expedition.
  • Previous information for the details of the trek (group)
  • Professional guide accredited by MINCETUR, with experience.
  • Private transport during the expedition.
  • Logistics of group camp and client.
  • Transport horses for camp and client logistics.
  • Team of muleteers for handling horses.
  • Cook and helper equipment for food preparation.
  • Complete feeding during the expedition.
  • Group toiletries.
  • Emergency logistics and first aid.
  • Entrance tickets during the expedition.

This tour does not include

  • Transport outside the expedition.
  • The last supper of the expedition.
  • Costs of personal expenses.
  • Tickets to the hot springs of Pacchanta.
  • Trekking sticks.

Additional services that you can hire:

  • Additional horse: If you have problems or are not prepared for the pace of the expedition, you can hire this service. It has a cost of USD 20.00 for day that you require.
  • Personal Tent: If you need to have your own personal tent, you can hire it for a cost of $5.00 for night. A total cost of $20.00 for 4 nights.

Recommendations for the trip to Rainbow Mountain

Travel recommendations for the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain hike:

  1. Make sure to have suitable clothing for extreme cold, especially during the night.
  2. Take advantage of the stop in Tinke to buy anything necessary for the hike.
  3. Keep your body hydrated and make sure to bring enough water and/or filtering systems to obtain potable water from natural sources.
  4. Take the time to enjoy the Andean landscapes and local flora and fauna.
  5. Respect and learn about the local culture in the community of Pacchanta and the alpaca breeding villages in Ananta.
  6. Make sure to bring enough sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the strong sun during the day.
  7. Prepare your body for the altitude of over 4,500 meters above sea level, consider taking medication and/or doing breathing exercises to help with acclimatization.
  8. Listen to your guide and follow safety instructions at all times.
  9. Keep the route and campsites clean, respect the environment, and carry your trash until you find a suitable place to dispose of it.
  10. Make sure to bring enough cash for tips and additional expenses.

These recommendations will help you fully enjoy this impressive adventure in the Peruvian Andes.

Price of the walk to Vinicunca

The cost of this walk is for the 2022 season:

$290.00 for person (Includes VAT)

Other prices:

  • Personal Emergency Horse Cost: $20.00 per day
  • Personal tent: $5.00 per night

Note: all our trips include VAT with legislative compliance and tax liability.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ausangate to Rainbow Mountain Trek

What is the best time of year to do this trek?

The best time to do the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain trek is during the dry season, which runs from April to November. During these months, the weather is more stable and dry, making conditions safer and more pleasant for hiking.

What is the difficulty level of the trek?

The Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain trek is considered to be of high difficulty. The trek involves ascending and descending several mountain passes and walking at high altitudes. Therefore, it is recommended that hikers be in good physical shape and have prior experience with high-altitude trekking.

What kind of clothing and equipment is needed for the trek?

To do the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain trek, it is important to bring appropriate clothing for the cold high-altitude climate. Hiking boots, warm clothing, a hat, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, a comfortable and sturdy backpack are recommended.

What is the accommodation like during the trek?

During the trek, hikers camp in base camps near the lakes and glaciers of Ausangate. The camps are equipped with tents and thermal sleeping mats, and cooking equipment is also provided to prepare meals.

Is prior experience with high-altitude trekking necessary?

While prior experience with high-altitude trekking is not necessary, it is recommended that hikers be in good physical shape and have experience with multi-day trekking. It is also recommended to acclimate well before starting the trek to allow the body to adapt to the altitude.

Is it safe to do the trek?

Safety is a major concern for any mountain adventure, and the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain trek is no exception. Fortunately, this trek is considered safe as long as necessary precautions are taken. It is important to follow the instructions of your tour guide and ensure that they are properly trained and certified. It is also important to bring appropriate equipment and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Additionally, it is recommended to acclimate well before starting the trek as altitude can affect your health if you are not used to it.

Can a guide be hired to do the trek?

Yes, it is highly recommended to hire a guide to do the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain trek. Guides are familiar with the area, the routes, and weather conditions, and can provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for hikers.

How do you get to the starting point of the trek?

The starting point of the trek is about a three-hour drive from the city of Cusco in Peru. Transport services can be hired to reach the starting point, or a car can be rented to get there independently.

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