Vinicunca — Rainbow Mountain
This post is a follow-up from the previous one about our Macchu Picchu adventure.
After our ordeal at Macchu Picchu we were thoroughly exhausted. However we absolutely didn’t want to miss the chance to be one of the first tourists to visit the unbelievable Vinicunca mountain aka the Rainbow Mountains so we booked a tour for the following day.
We got up at 3am, hopped on a minibus that took us 3 hours away from Cusco and 4000 meters up into the Andes where we stopped in a tiny village restaurant for a breakfast of eggs, bread rolls and coca tea. From there we drove another half an hour more to the starting point of the trek.
The viewing point for the Rainbow Mountains is around 5020m above sea level and the trek itself isn’t particularly difficult if it wasn’t for the high altitude that knocks the breath out of even the most experienced hiker. Three of us decided to instead hire a horse led by a local horseman to climb the mountain, though we did have to climb the steepest parts ourselves as they were not possible to climb on horseback. My horse was called Peruanita and was definitely used to the altitude as she practically raced up the mountain.
Despite the relatively small amount of walking we had to do compared with the brave hikers who decided to walk the whole way up, we were exhausted once we reached the viewing point. The views however made it absolutely worth the struggle.
Up at the viewing point there were some local kids who kept running up and down the mountain. I’m definitely jealous of their lung capacity!
The cold winds at the top made staying there dangerous so after about 45 minutes we headed down the leisurely hike back to the starting point. During the return journey we stopped at the same local restaurant for some delectable quinoa-vegetable soup, chicken and rice.
Back in Cusco the day of inhaling dust and high altitude got the better of me and I was already coughing up a storm. I ended up catching a cold, but the unbelievable views definitely made up for it. To think that these mountains have only become a tourist attraction in the past couple years and we were lucky enough to be some of the first people to visit them!