Rainbow Mountain & Red Valley 1 Day Hike

Trip Overview

Tour Type: Hiking, adventure, camping
Good For: Those with a sense of adventure and in good shape
Temperature: Cold, temperature may go below 0 degrees at night
Difficulty: Challenging
Considerations: Enjoy the amazing colors of the mountains before they are discovered by the public

Price:$160USD per person 

Rainbow Mountain is the newest natural tourist attraction located in Cusco region. Specifically, it is located south of Cusco in the Vilcabamba mountain range at over 5100m /16,732ft above sea level. Our tour is very special as you will be hiking Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley in one day.



We will pick you up at 4:00 – 4:30am from any hotel, Airbnb or hostel in Cusco. It will be a 2½ hour drive to the trailhead - we will arrive at around 7am. Here at the trailhead our chef will make a delicious breakfast including coffee, hot chocolate, teas, bread, fruit salad, eggs, and hot drinks. Cusco’s elevation is 3300m / 11,300ft and the trailhead, which is called Phulawasipata, is at 4200m/ 14,300ft. Cusco’s weather is usually quite cold and the trailhead is even colder, so early in the morning. Be sure to bring a warm jacket, scarf, hat and gloves. After breakfast we’ll hike about 2 hours uphill to the Rainbow Mountain range. At a slower pace it could be 2¾ hours, or if you are really fit, quick and acclimatized well, some people can do in 1½ hours. The hike up includes some short breaks where the guide will explain some important information about the mountains and the geography of the area. Perhaps you’ll have chance to catch sight of some of the locals, including llamas and alpacas that frequent this area. The trail itself is quite wide and so is helpful for those with vertigo or fear of heights. The trek is best during dry season as the trails are not paved, so it can be a bit dusty, and in rainy season it can be slippery since it may be wet, but with good waterproof hiking shoes and hiking poles, it will be just fine.

Upon your arrival to the top of Rainbow Mountain, around 9-10:00am, you will have about 1 hour to explore the amazing views of the surrounding areas - valleys, mountains and to view the highest glacial mountain in Cusco - Ausangate, whose summit is at an elevation of 6,384m / 20,944ft, making it one of the tallest mountains in Peru. After giving you a bit of time to take some treasured photos, your guide will give you some interesting facts about this fascinating place - like why the colors?! – and he will also share some detail about the Inkan history. A few last photos of this amazing mountain and we will begin our descent. We do this a little differently than other groups. Instead of hiking the same route as the others, we will hike to a lookout point to see the Red Valley and hike it. This valley is the icing on the cake - many of our hikers say that it is even nicer than Rainbow Mountain! It is about 2½ hours - mostly downhill - from Rainbow Mountain to the end of the trail, which is near where we started the hike. Here you will enjoy a fresh meal, prepared by your chef, which includes cold drinks, appetizers, soup and a main course. After lunch, it will be another 2½-hour drive to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel at around 5:30 – 6:00pm.



  • Private transportation to the trailhead
  • Pick up from any hotel in Cusco
  • Breakfast at the trailhead
  • Entrance fee into the park and the Red Valley
  • English-speaking guide for the entire trip
  • Snacks
  • Drinking water
  • Freshly prepared, hot lunch
  • First-aid kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Porters & cook
  • Dining tent, chairs & tables
  • Private toilet
  • Taxes

Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients may have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us to anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available, just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with Grandma.

Not Included

  • Tips for your crew


$160 per person


Sleeping Bag (four season): $20 (Maximum size 1.95m / 6'4")
Pair of walking poles (Black Diamond): $15
Inflatable air mattress (Thermarest): $15
* Foam mats and small pillows are provided for everyone.



1.- Why should I book with Alpaca Expeditions?

Because we have daily departures and we organize small groups to provide a more personalized service - this hike is not an easy trek.

2.- Can I hire a horse?

Yes, you can hire a horse for 60-90 soles?? part way up to Rainbow Mountain - but horses are not allowed all the way to the top of the mountain (to keep the integrity of the site intact). You will need to walk about 20 minutes uphill to get to the top of the mountain. The return along the Red Valley is all downhill, so you won’t need horse for the descent.

3.- If I get Altitude Sickness, what happens?

This is a serious consideration as the trailhead is 4200m / 14,300ft and Rainbow Mountain is at 5100m /17,364ft, so it is a very high altitude and there is always a possibility of getting altitude sickness. We always suggest spending 2 days minimum in Cusco before hiking this mountain to help acclimatize. Bring altitude sickness pills such as “soroche” pills (available in pharmacies in Cusco) or any medication from home for help with altitude adjustment. Our guides will have an oxygen tank in case you need it. In worst case scenarios, we have satellite phones so you can contact your doctor or any emergency transportation.

4.- How cold is it?

Generally, is cold. In the morning around breakfast time it could be below freezing, but later on when the sun comes out, it gets warmer. Still, on top of the mountain it is cold and windy and the temperature is around 5-15 ̊C / 40-60 ̊F, but if its cloudy and rainy its usually from 0-10 ̊C / 32-50 ̊F. The best months to go to Rainbow Mountain are from April to November.

5.- Is this hike good for children?

Minimum recommended age for children is 10 years old. If the children are younger, then altitude sickness can be an issue, but if the children enjoy hiking and are well acclimatized, then it should not be a problem.

6.- When is best to hike Rainbow Mountain?

As you can see below, some months are the best months to hike since they are considered to the driest months and not raining so you will have great views. Why do we say some months are not recommended? Because it is rainy season and mostly icy, snowing and raining, so very wet and slippery and the views are compromised.

January: Not recommended
February: Not recommended
March: Not recommended
April: Recommended
May: Highly recommended
June: Highly recommended
July: Highly recommended
August: Highly recommended
September: Highly recommended
November: Recommended
December: Recommended

7.- Where do I start this hike from?

If you are hiking in group then you can start only from Cusco. We can pick you up from any hotel, hostel or Airbnb. If you are doing a private tour then we can even start from The Sacred Valley, though it will cost a bit more since it will be longer trip. It is STRONGLY recommended that you start from Cusco.

"The Journey is the Destination"

Heladeros Street 157, Office 24 - 25, 2nd floor
Phone: +51 84 254278 |  Mobile: +51 947 824774 | +51 986 029262
USA Phone: 202-550-8534 

Skype: alpacaexpeditions

Monday through Saturday 9AM - 1PM & 3PM - 7:30PM
Sunday 4:30PM - 7:30PM

Monday through Friday 9:00AM - 1:00PM & 3:00PM - 7:30PM
 Saturday 8:30AM - 1PM
**All Bookings done during weekends will be confirmed Monday morning.**


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