Cusco’s Rainbow Mountain’s

Cusco’s Rainbow Mountain’s

Cusco harbors, besides the beautiful Andean countryside with its archaeological treatures, many natural attractions. Two quite recently added attractions are the two Rainbow Mountain’s located in the province of Cusco.

While the better known Vinicunca “Rainbow Mountain” is visited daily by many hundreds of travelers on one- or two-day excursions from Cusco, the similar geological feature known as the Palccoyo Rainbow Range lies well off the beaten track.

Situated just 20 kilometers south from its more famous rival attraction, this spectacular destination offers visitors the chance to see and photograph a series of three mountains composed of alternating layers of yellow, red, green, blue and white geological deposits, their view uninterrupted by the handful of other travelers usually seen there on any given day. Due to Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain being far less known, it also attracts only a fraction of the visitors that go to it’s more famous sister.

Only just discovered as a tourist attractions a couple of years ago, due to the layer of ice and snow that used to cover their fabulous colors melting away because of climate change, these mountains have become a major tourist attraction in the Cusco province.

The mountains bright colours were formed due to different environmental conditions and mineralogy when the sediment was originally deposited and subsequently diagonally altered to the point where you get their famous rainbow pattern.

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain can be reached by both car and by first walking several kilometres in the nearby Valle Rojo (Red Valle) which offers stunning views of red mountains.

Over time, and thanks to the stunning photographs of the mountain posted on the internet, the secret got out.

The popularity of Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, which attracts up to 1000 tourists each day, has provided a much-needed economic jolt to this remote region populated by struggling alpaca herders. Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain can be reached by two different routes, starting respectively from the villages of Cusipata & Pitumarca.

Although being beautiful, the number of visitors at Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain leaves some people wanting to visit the Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain which is far less touristy. Additionally Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain offers a shorter trek and also has a nearby Bosque de Piedras (Stone forest) which can be visited.

Palccoyo / Andean Adventures Peru
Palccoyo Bosque de Piedras (Stone Forest)

To learn how to visit these two colorful mountains and book a tour, go to:


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