Why You Should Go to Peru & Visit Rainbow Mountain

By Rachel McLeod

Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, Peru is a demanding and incredibly satisfying trek. It is a 2-3 hour hike to get to this mountain and you have the option of hiring a horse and a guide.

Unless you're really fit or like the challenge of steadily walking at increasing altitudes in a country whose altitude is already quite high even if your walking a flat area, then the horse option is probably best. You get to enjoy the same views but you don’t have to worry about running out of oxygen or getting sick.

I went with the horse option. My guide was a sweet old man and didn't talk much, but the journey was so beautiful that no conversation was needed to keep me entertained.

Along the way, there were four times where I had to get off the horse to hike a steep part on my own, and every time this happened, even though it was only for a few minutes each time, I was glad I had the horse and wasn't walking the whole way.

We finally got to a part where the horses did not go any further. The last (and very steep) uphill stretch to the very top point of this hike and the actual rainbow mountain. 

The end of this hike, when you reach Rainbow Mountain, is in two sections. The first is rocky and slippery and when you reach the flattened part there are several vendors there to save the day with water bottles and chocolate bars. I bought a few of both when I got up there as well as my way back down.

At this point, when you're resting and snacking you have quite a nice view, not to mention the best close up view of Rainbow Mountain.

This is where most people stop, because the next section that goes to the highest peak is a bit tricky. Half the time it is snowing and the other half there is still snow and ice on the mountain.

I got the latter. It was incredibly steep and I had to be very careful of the icy patches. But I made it up and was quite proud of myself for doing so. Making it to the top is something I will always be happy I did. If I hadn't have pushed myself to go up there I always would have regretted it.

At above 5000m, it was a bit hard to breather but the 360-degree view was unlike any other. There is a reason the rainbow mountains are one of the most popular attractions in Peru. If given the chance, I would probably do this trip again.

Rainbow Mountain is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.