The RAINBOW MOUNTAIN is a spectacular natural wonder boasting colorful striated mountains. Surrounded by glacial mountains, this one-day hike is 10km/6.2 miles roundtrip and goes from 4326m/14,189ft to 5050m/16,568ft.
This day hike is moderate to strenuous and can be very crowded. We leave early in the morning (3am) to beat the crowds and arrive at the top first. We also hike to the Red Valley Pass (weather/time permitting) to see the deep red hues of the mountains on the other side of Vinicunca – a stunning example of mother nature at her finest!
A less strenuous day hike to another section of the Rainbow Mountains (Palcoyo) is the Three Rainbow Mountains Palcoyo Day Tour, suitable for all fitness levels. Another exceptionally beautiful day hike is the Lake Humantay One Day Hike.
The Rainbow Mountains are composed of stratified layers of sandstone. These fine-grained rock layers contain large amounts of iron and other minerals, which give the mountains the pigments for the various colored stripes. This is a moderate to challenging day hike, with a steep climb to the high pass and is subject to unpredictable weather. This trail is very popular and crowded and has suffered from a lot of erosion. It is not safe to hike in heavy rain. We recommend a 2, 4 or longer multi-day trek to truly appreciate this region. It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. Minimum passengers necessary for tour departure: 2 people (small group, 1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
DAY 01: CUSCO – ALQATARI – RAINBOW MOUNTAIN – RED VALLEY PASS – ALQATARI – CUSCO We will pick you up very early from your Cusco hotel (3:00am) and set out on a drive through the South Valley. The drive to the trailhead at Alqatari (4326m/14,189ft) is about 3.5-4 hours. Once we reach the trailhead we will have our box breakfast with hot drinks. After breakfast, we start on our day hike, following a lovely stream until we get to the checkpoint that is the trail entrance. You will pass by beautiful herds of alpacas and llamas and along the way we will have distant views of the Ausangate Mountain. We will hike through villages and see the local residents. If we are very lucky we may see some chinchillas and vicuñas. Vicuñas are the only non-domesticated animal of the llama family in Peru and are very skittish. After a total uphill hike of approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, we reach the incredible Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain (5050m/16,568ft). After taking pictures you have approximately 45 minutes to explore (depending on walking speed) the area and enjoy the stunning views. If we have time and weather permits, once we are done enjoying the scenery, having snacks, resting and taking pictures, we hike along the right side of the Rainbow Mountain to the Red Valley pass where you will see the beautiful, deep red hues located in this area. We take pictures here and then hike back down the way we came, taking approximately 1.5 hours to the trailhead where we started. Here we will have a box lunch and then we will take our private transport back to your hotel in Cusco (about a 3.5-4 hour drive). Approximate departure time: 3:00 AM – we leave this early in order to be the first people at the top and avoid the crowds Approximate arrival time in Cusco is around 5 PM Walking distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles Approximate walking time: 2 ½ hours up; 1 ½ hours down (total ~4 hours) Meals: box breakfast, snacks, box lunch Dietary needs: we can cater to any dietary restriction Level of difficulty: moderate to strenuous, high altitude * Please note the driving and walking times, time at each site, and departure/arrival time are approximate and depend upon many factors such as road conditions, weather, van size, group pace, etc.
A minimum of 2 hikers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 150 USD per person Price for 3-5 trekkers: 200 USD per person Price for 2 trekkers: 275 USD per person Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
Yes, we do cater to any dietary restriction. We have had many people join our trips who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, and have various other intolerances and/or allergies. Just inform us well in advance of your specific needs!
Year-round, though the best weather is usually seen between March/April to November (or dry season). This tour is rated as easy to moderate as it involves gentle walking at each site. This is a great acclimatizing day tour as it is gentle walking at a lower altitude than Cusco. Please note if the weather is very poor the trail could be dangerous and we may have to cancel the trip and may be able to substitute another day hike or day tour instead, depending on the circumstances.
We take your health and that of our staff very seriously. We adhere to the recommended rules as outlined by the Peruvian Government, including border closures, trail closures, face-covering orders, quarantine orders, negative COVID19 test results, and the eventual need for proof of COVID19 vaccination. We have instituted a number of increased hygiene precautions for food preparation and treks/tours outlined below. Face coverings will be worn at all times by the guide/staff and are required of guests in towns and ruin sites and anywhere else it is mandated per Peruvian rules. Social distancing will be observed to the best of our ability, especially along the trail if you wish to remove face coverings while hiking. Increased hand hygiene will be practiced and temperatures checked daily. Anyone exhibiting COVID19 symptoms will need to self-quarantine. Machu Picchu has been declared a Safe Travels destination. In line with the good news that Peru is opening to a wider range of international visitors, we have updated our safety protocols to help keep you safe while you are travelling with us. Trips will take place in small groups (8 people per group, including guide), and according to the instructions we receive from the Ministry of Tourism. All of our transport will continue to be private services. Our guides, drivers, and representatives: Will wear masks and use antibacterial gel at all times Will be monitored continuously with temperature and symptom checks. If anyone has symptoms, they will be obliged to rest and recover, and substituted with other staff members We will ensure social distancing by: Keeping 1-meter distance between passengers when boarding vehicles. Restricting physical contact between our staff and customers. To add to your packing list: Cloth or medical face masks Face shields Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces Digital thermometer We recommend the following steps to protect yourself and others when you travel: Always maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others Avoid crowds Wear a face mask and a face shield Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth Cover coughs and sneezes Do not travel if you are feeling sick Disinfect your hands often. It’s especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry With our updated protocol, we hope to offer you a safe stay without compromising on our excellent service. We will continue adapting our standards according to the recommendations of health experts. The Inca Trail 2D is open again as of Nov 2020 with a capacity of 150 people per day (down from 500). We do not have confirmation as yet for the Classic Inca Trail 4D but we will keep you posted. There are vulnerable communities along this trail and they are being closely monitored by the Peruvian Government. The minister has informed that only 675 people will be allowed inside Machu Picchu per day, which is 30% of its capacity pre-pandemic. Visitors will enter in groups of 8, with a tour guide, and will need to maintain a distance of 1.5-2 meters apart. Visitors will only be permitted entry when accompanied by a professional guide and have their tickets booked through a registered travel agent, such as Killa Expeditions. All of the above information is subject to change. Right now Peru has opened its borders to most countries but we recommend checking specifics for your country as these are updated regularly. Wishing you happy and safe travels! Blog Post: https://killaexpeditions.com/covid-19-travel-safety-protocols-with-killa-expeditions/
Deposit: The entire day hike cost will be charged to your card when you book the trip. 50% of this is non-refundable. Payment of Balance: The balance of the tour is due 60 days prior to departure and will be auto-debited via the booking software system on that date. If you wish to pay early, or use a different card to the one you have on file, you may do so by clicking on the reservation number in your confirmation email and entering the pin that was provided to you in the original confirmation email. If you wish to make other arrangements (e.g. pay cash in Cusco), please contact us. Please note if you book your trip within 60 days of departure, the balance of the trek will be auto-debited the next day. If you do not wish this to happen please contact us. Passport: For this trek we do NOT need a photo of your passport bio page. However, as this involves international travel, please note that each traveler is responsible for knowing the re-entry rules for their country of residence/citizenship. Some countries require 6 months of passport validity beyond the final date of travel. Please ensure that your passport is up to date and meets your country and residency requirements. Visa’s: Most countries are allowed to obtain a visa upon entry at immigration. Very few countries require a visa to be granted in advance. Please note that each traveler is responsible for finding out and obtaining a visa prior to entry if required. Please also note that tourist visas are for 90 days or less (typically) and you must show proof of return travel.
Please review our booking terms carefully. The minimum number of trekkers required for departure is 6 for the price quoted online. If the minimum is not met within 2 weeks of departure, Killa Expeditions reserves the right to offer the 1-2 paid trekkers the option of 1) paying the difference to take a private trek, 2) transferring their payment to another trek with more trekkers booked, or 3) cancel the trek and provide a full refund. Please contact us with questions. At the time of booking the entire day hike cost is charged. This is required to secure your spot on the tour and 50% is non-refundable. The balance of the trip (if any) is due within 60 days of departure Cancellations: Initial deposit is non-refundable. You may cancel your booking by notifying Killa Expeditions or Agent used and the applicable cancellation fees shall be determined based on when the request is received by Killa Expeditions or Agent. (a) Cancellation received 60 days or more before departure of the first Product to depart in relevant booking: 60% of the Product total shall be refunded to you (Inca Trail excepted where 25% of the Inca Trail product total shall be refunded to you). (b) Cancellation received 59-30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: an amount equal to 25% of the total Product shall be refunded to you. (Inca Trail excepted where no refund is payable). (c) Cancellation less than 30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: no refund shall be payable to you. Travel Medical Insurance: is required to depart on any trek (including emergency evacuation coverage and high altitude hiking). We also suggest travel interruption insurance in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Killa Expeditions is not responsible for losses incurred due to any travel interruption (ex: weather/natural phenomena, missed/delayed/canceled flight, acts of war/terrorism, pandemics/epidemics, strikes, etc.), passport, visa, family emergency, or illness/medical issues. Please be advised that due to COVID19 pandemic and any subsequent variants – there may be border closures, quarantine measures, changes in entry requirements, etc. We will do our best to change your trek to a different date if issues arise that are outside of our control on our end. Please note you may also be required to show proof of a negative COVID19 test within 72 hours of departure and potentially a vaccination card once vaccines are widely available. As these terms change we will alert travelers to the new regulations. For Full Terms and Conditions please see the policy linked at the bottom of our website in the footer. It is also available to read during the checkout process. https://killaexpeditions.com/terms-conditions-peru/
Helping Local Children or Andean People (Optional) Along certain treks we may encounter some local children and Andean people. If you wish to lend a helping hand you may bring some clothes, toys, books and school equipment (used or new), toiletries and other essentials, and new/sealed medication for a variety of ailments. You will be rewarded with their gratitude and beautiful smiles. Please do not give candy or sweets as they do not have access to dental/medical care and tooth decay can lead to serious illness. For those who wish to help but take a trek that does not pass local people or villages you can leave your donated items with a Killa Expeditions representative and we will distribute them to one of the local communities that we support. You can also set up a day to visit a local community to donate your items personally! There are a variety of other ways in which to lend a helping hand to local communities (charity events, building schools, and much more). We support several local communities so if interested please get in touch!
ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY Our mission is to provide exceptional treks, tours, and adventure trips with a strong commitment to environmentally responsible, sustainable, ethical, and socially conscious travel. During our trips, we make every effort to minimize negative impacts and maximize the benefits to the local people and natural environments we visit. We pay fair, livable wages, ensuring we hire and maintain the absolute best guides and support staff. We are committed to international sustainable tourism guidelines and have developed ongoing community projects and charity events supporting 4+ local Andean communities. EXCELLENCE We pride ourselves on providing 5 star service before, during, and after your trip. Killa Expeditions is dedicated to excellent customer service and adventure experiences. We have been awarded the 2017, 2018 & 2019 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence! QUALITY When trekking through rugged mountain terrain, at high altitudes, with unpredictable weather, it is essential to have the best equipment available. We provide Mountain Hardwear 4 season tents (3 season for Inca Trail due to warmer weather), extra thick mattress pads, dry bags for your overnight gear, and more, to ensure a safe and pleasant journey. NO HIDDEN COSTS Our treks and tours are truly 5 star and all inclusive. We do not charge extra to “upgrade” as we offer the best option included in the price already. There are no hidden meal costs, we are transparent about all inclusions, and best of all no booking fees! SMALL GROUPS Our groups average about 8 guests per departure, and are typically a mix of solo travellers, friends travelling together, and couples, all of varying ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Come prepared to make lots of new best friends. If you book a custom/private large group we provide 1 guide per 8 travelers, ensuring a small group feel and specialized attention. GOURMET Only the best, quality ingredients are selected from local farmers. Our chefs prepare a specially designed menu to maximize energy and facilitate acclimatization. And the dishes, a mix of traditional Peruvian cuisine and contemporary cuisines, are delicious too! And yes, we cater to any dietary need. PERSONALIZED We can customize any trek or tour to suit your travel, fitness, budget, and time preferences. Got a corporate or work shindig, charity group, or other major event you’d like to book a trek or tour for? Get in touch, we can arrange everything for you! LEAVE NO TRACE Our trips leave behind nothing but smiles and footprints, as it should be. REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE We love our planet, which is why we reduce, reuse and recycle. Our gear is reusable (no paper or plastic plates/cups/utensils), we buy local goods that do not come in paper/plastic wrapping, and we recycle everything we can. This is not the norm in Peru but we hope to help it become the norm one day soon! PASSIONATE All of our employees are passionate about what they do. Who wouldn’t be with majestic mountains and never-ending vistas as your office! We are proud to offer our guides and staff the highest wages. WE GIVE BACK We buy locally produced food, hire native tour guides, and book locally owned hotels and restaurants whenever possible. We hold numerous charity events throughout the year in various traditional Andean communities. Events often involve distributing food, drinks, daily essentials (such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and more), toys for the children, shoes and clothes donated by many of our wonderful guests, and we are currently raising funds to finish building a school in the Willoc Community. Ask us about how you can help! For further information about us please see the following links: Equipment: learn about why we provide the best! https://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-equipment/ Our Team: meet some of our amazing guides! https://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-team/ Reviews – find us on Trip Advisor! Killa Expeditions Trip Advisor Page (Awarded 2017, 2018 & 2019 Certificate of Excellence)
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