Vinicuna Rainbow Mountain
1-day adventure

Rainbow Mountains Extension

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1 days

our UK team

Our local team

Our team in Peru has been running since 2012 and is lead by the highly knowledgeable José Quispe. He is passionate about his home country and showing others the amazing historical and natural phenomena that live there. Nothing is ever too much trouble for José and he will always be found with a huge smile on his face. He leads an incredible team, decked out in full Kandoo orange, they are hard to miss on the trail. They will do everything they...
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Kandoo's view

A fantastic opportunity to see the incredible, colourful, candy-striped Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca, to the south of Cusco, by adding just one day to your itinerary. The spectacular striped effect is caused by the different mineral composition of the sedimentary layers: red for iron oxide, yellow for iron sulphide and brown for sandstone. Along the way we will enjoy views of the Andes, glacial peaks, red mountains and rocky hills, along with llamas and alpacas grazing in the valley. As we reach the summit, we may be able to spot some Andean wildlife. This is the only place near Cusco where you can see wild vicuñas, otherwise known as the Andean camel. Their wool is purported to be the most expensive in the world.

Trip highlights

  • Discover the incredible Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca
  • Trek through the Red Valley
  • View the imposing peak of Apu Ausangate


  • Kandoo Trekking
    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
    Our core collection of treks and hikes, through some of the world's most outstanding landscapes



  • Day 1

    Rainbow Mountains Extension

    You will be picked you up from your hotel in Cusco at 3:00 am for the 3 hour journey to our trek start point, passing through traditional villages and see some amazing views of the Andes. You will enjoy a hearty breakfast at the trail head before you start your trek.

    Starting from Quesiuno, at 3,700m elevation, you will hike uphill for 2 hours to reach the viewpoint at 5,000m where you will enjoy views of the amazing red scree landscape of the famous Rainbow Mountains. From here you will also see Apu Ausangate, the highest mountain the region at 6384m (just under 21,000 ft), part of the Cordillera Vilcanota range.

    After soaking up the views and taking plenty of photos of this wonderful scenery you will begin the descent. We leave the main route and head into the Red Valley, where the red, iron-rich soil contrasts with the vibrant green vegetation. After around 3 hours, we will arrive back at the trailhead where we will meet up with our chef who will have prepared a delicious lunch. We will then drive back to Cusco, arriving back to your hotel at around 3:00 pm.

    • Transport: Private transfer
    • Meals included: Lunch

Trip information


Although this is only a 1 day trek, to reach the view point you will be required to trek uphill for at least 2 hours at considerable altitude. The highest point of the trek is 5000m above sea level, that is almost 200m higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. A good level of fitness and plenty of determination will be needed. Please be aware that you may need to increase the altitude limit on your insurance policy when visiting the Rainbow Mountains. 

Food & drink

Breakfast and lunch are included. We will pause for breakfast in Quesiuno before starting our trek and have lunch before starting our drive back to Cuzco. 


This is a one day trek and does not include any accommodation. You will be collected from your hotel in Cuzco very early and return that afternoon. 


We insist on using a high standard of vehicle and driver for all of our transfers. In Peru it is not a legal requirement to have seatbelts fitted in the back of vehicles, and while we try to use vehicles that do have rear seatbelts fitted, this cannot always be guaranteed. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the vehicle or the standard of driving, please speak to the driver or our local office immediately.


You will need to bring a small day pack to carry your water, camera, spare clothing etc. 

How do I get there?

For this 1 day adventure, a member of our team will collect you from your hotel in Cuzco very early in the morning and you will return the same afternoon. There is no need to make extra travel arrangements.

Budget & change

The Peruvian Sol can be purchased in advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments. If you want to change money when you arrive we can take you to an ATM or foreign exchange bureau. When changing money, request small denominations (10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes can be hard to spend. If you withdraw money from an ATM, you are likely to receive 100 sol notes.

If you are relying on a credit or debit card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.


We realize that tipping may not be a common practice in all countries but for Peru it is a standard practice that all operators support. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips are always discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you do not have to pay tips. Tips can be made in US dollars or Peruvian Sols. It is very important that US bills be new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.

Formalities & health


Unlike many other countries where Kandoo operates, there is no requirement that your passport be valid for 6 months longer than your expected stay. As long as it is valid through your departure date, you are fine.

If you are coming into Peru from Ecuador, get your passport stamped for entry at the local immigration office nearest your border crossing. Most enter this way through Aguas Verdes in the Tumbes region. Make sure you find your way to the immigration office there, as if your passport is not stamped you will have to go back to the Ecuador border if your papers are inspected. You may also have trouble if you do not have a valid exit stamp from the country you left before coming to Peru.

Those entering overland from Columbia generally enter through Leticia. You will need to get your passport stamped in Santa Rosa, on the Columbia/Brazil/Peru border. Please keep in mind that Santa Rosa is rather under-policed, and tourists should avoid isolated places, and travel only in groups.

Lastly, if you are crossing into Peru from Bolivia by road, you will need to visit the immigration office for the Puno region, in Desaguadero.


British and EU nationals do not need a visa to come to Peru as a tourist. You can get permission to visit upon arrival at the airport, and the duration is usually up to six months. American citizens and nationals do not need a visa either so long as they have a valid US passport, but will generally only get permission to stay as a tourist for 90 days. Still, this is usually plenty of time.


You must though consult your own GP or medical adviser. Your GP will understand your overall fitness levels and any health issues you may have, and will be able to give you much more specific advice about what vaccinations or other medications you need, and which you should not have. When in doubt, ask your doctor!

That having been said, the following is a list of common vaccinations that are useful to many travellers in Peru and surrounding countries, and some specifics about each.

Hepatitis A and B
Kandoo recommends all travellers to the Andes region are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B.

Typhoid is also present in the region, and it is a good idea for all travellers to be immunised against it.

Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a problem in the area, especially in regions like the Amazon, the areas around Cuzco (but not the city itself), Loreto, Madre de Dios, north-eastern Ancash, northern Apurimac, northern and north-eastern Ayacucho, northern and eastern Cajamarca, the far north of Huancavelica, most of Huanuco, the north and east of Junin, the east of La Libertad, most of Pasco eastern Piura and northern Puno, as well as San Martin and Ucayali. Anyone travelling to these areas should be vaccinated against yellow fever, unless given specific medical advice otherwise.

Lambayeque, Tumbes, and certain parts of Cajamarca and Piura are less at risk, and only those who can expect to be bitten by large numbers of mosquitoes specifically need to be vaccinated.

Lastly, you will not need yellow fever vaccination if you will be above 2300 metres of elevation for your whole stay, or if you will only be visiting Cuzco, Lima, Machu Picchu and/or the Inca Trail.

Trekkers who will be spending a great deal of time out of doors, who will for some reason be dealing with bats, or who are otherwise at risk of being bitten by animals, should be vaccinated against rabies.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
If you have not already had the MMR vaccine and were born after 1956, you should have two doses.

This vaccine should be taken if you have not had the tetanus-diphtheria jab in the last ten years.


It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses. Most of our treks in Peru do not exceed 4700m with the exception of the Ausangate Trek which will reach 5200m. If you are only doing the Short Inca trail your trek will not exceed 3500m. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you for trekking at these altitudes.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf.


Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, called soroche in Peru and also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or hypobaropathy, is an illness caused by exposure to low air pressure, especially low partial pressure of oxygen, which many climbers experience at high altitudes. AMS is caused by exerting yourself at high altitudes, especially if you have not been properly acclimatised. It is most common at altitudes above 2400 metres. Our routes have been designed to aid your acclimatisation wherever possible, but the following will also help your body adjust:

Slow and steady. You need to keep your respiration rate low enough to maintain a normal conversation. If you are panting or breathing hard, you must slow down. There is no pressure on you to keep up with other members of your group.

Drink much more water than you think you need. Proper hydration helps acclimatisation dramatically. You need to drink at least three litres each day.


There has been a lot of research on Diamox that shows is that it has been reasonably well proven to be helpful in avoiding AMS by speeding up the acclimatisation process. In the UK it is a prescription drug which must be prescribed by a doctor, but some doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. The concern is that by taking Diamox, people believe that they are immune from AMS and can ignore the symptoms. In reality, although Diamox can help prevent the symptoms, should symptoms still develop it means that you are not acclimatising and you have to take notice. Diamox is taken before you start the trek to prevent altitude sickness, not once symptoms have developed.


There is no risk of malaria in Cuzco or on our treks due to the altitude. However, there is a risk of malaria in rural areas of Peru below 2,000m. This would include Tambopata National Park, so if you are planning an extension to the Amazon Rainforest, you need to plan anti-malarial medication for this part of your trip. In addition to taking medication, we would recommend you take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved trousers and shirts at dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are active, and by using a DEET based mosquito repellent.


You can easily become dehydrated at high altitudes. The lower air pressure forces you to breathe more quickly and deeply, and you lose a lot of water through your lungs. You will also be exerting yourself, and sweating, and may even suffer from diarrhoea. As a result, you will have to drink much more water than you normally would and you should drink at least 3 litres of fluids every day while climbing. Even when you do not feel thirsty you have to drink this amount as a minimum ??? preferably more. Stay on the look-out for signs of dehydration in yourself and your fellow climbers. The most common symptoms include thirst, dry lips, nose or mouth, headache and feeling fatigued or lethargic.

Equipment & clothing

Clothing to bring

  • Sun Hat
  • Warm hat 
  • Sun glasses
  • Sturdy walking boots
  • T-shirts / Long sleeved shirt for sun protection
  • A warm fleece / soft shell
  • Waterproof jacket / trousers
  • Trekking trousers / shorts

Equipment to bring

  • Sunscreen and lip balm - high SPF
  • hand sanitiser
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Day pack (40-60 litre)
  • Water bottles or hydration system


Prices start from £100 / $135 per person

Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Contact us

Price includes

  • Return transfer from Cuzco to Quesiuno
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Private 1 day trek
  • An expert Kandoo Adventures guide

Price does not include

  • Drinks, tips or personal expenses
  • Accommodation
  • Trekking equipment
  • Travel insurance