Rainbow Mountain

Peru's 'Vinicunca' (Rainbow Mountain) and the 'Camino del Apu Ausangate' lodge to lodge trek

The beautiful coloured striations of Rainbow Mountain in Peru's Andes are a spectacular sight, and undoubtedly the highlight of the lodge to lodge trek in Peru. Here we're telling you all about why the region is such a special place to visit, and why we think it should be on every outdoor enthusiast's bucket list.

Rainbow Mountain Colours

The beautiful colours of Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain).

The 'Camino del Apu Ausangate'

The 'Camino del Apu Ausangate' is a traditional hiking route in the Peruvian Andes, and roughly translates as 'the way of the life giver'. The region is a sacred place to Peruvians, and 'Vinicunca' (Rainbow Mountain), along with Ausangate, are the most significant mountains in the region, believed to be the deity of Cuzco, and the region's life-giver, respectively.

The hiking route varies in length there are several recognised start and end points for the trip - on our 'Alpaca' adventure, we take in a two-night-three-day section of the beautiful trail, starting near the Ausangate Community close to the small town of Chillca, and finishing in Ollantaytambo. Our 'Alpaca' trip also visits Machu Picchu as part of a packed 10-day Peru itinerary.

Find Out More About our 'Alpaca' Trip

The Lodges ('Tambos')

Along the way we'll stay in 'Tambos', traditional, comfortably appointed mountain lodges designed specifically for hikers passing through the region.

Huampococha Lodge apu ausangate trek hike rainbow mountain

Huampochoca Lodge, the location for our second night on the Apu Ausangate trail (image courtesy of andeanlodges.com).

The lodges on the hiking route have no electricity, so gas lamps are used for lighting, and gas stoves for cooking. Whilst we're on the trail, daily meals will be prepared by experienced chefs who love introducing guests to the huge variety of Peruvian dishes and produce. Our evening meals will be served at the lodge, and will be accompanied by authentic music played by locals - sure to liven up the 'tambo' experience!

Find Out More About Accommodation on our Adventures

apu ausangate trek hike lunch

The lunch tent on the Apu Ausangate Trek, ready to welcome hungry hikers!

The lack of electricity in these quaint, hidden mountain lodges add to the feeling of escape and seclusion in this beautiful part of the world. This place and these lodges are the perfect opportunity to switch off from life in the 'real world', appreciate the beauty of the natural environment, and connect to the spiritual significance of the area.

Read Reviews of our Adventure Trips

What causes the colouring of 'Vinicunca' (Rainbow Mountain)?

 The incredible colours of Rainbow Mountain are caused by a very specific set of mineralogical and climatic conditions - both past and present. The subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South America plate caused signifcant volcanic activity in the process of creating the Andes range, and along with that came a wide variety of minerals.

Rainbow Mountain Horse Man

A local man pausing to enjoy the stunning colours of Vinicunca.

The dominant red colour of the landscape infers iron oxide rust is present - that tells us iron-rich sediments, when exposed to oxygen and water, rust, just like a nail does! The other colours are an indication of other mineral deposits, and the colouring is, in many cases, due to the tectonic activity and movement of the landscape's layers over time, and each mineral's interaction with others present in the geology. So in simple terms: red - iron oxide (rust!) yellow - iron sulphide, green - chlorite, brown - geothite or oxidised limonite.

More useful information:

 

 

  • Peru Lodge to Lodge Trek - Alpaca

    10 Days  | 

    Peru  | 

    US$5399

    ACTIVE 5
    • ACTIVE 1

      What's The Rush?

      I’m not a triathlete, but I’m in decent shape and I’m not looking to experience a place just through a bus window. I’m happy to slow down on the trail, soak it in and breathe in the fresh air.


    • ACTIVE 2

      Leg Stretcher

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they’re even worn in, but they don’t go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.


    • ACTIVE 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation so that I can eat and drink what I like without feeling guilty. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.


    • ACTIVE 4

      Challenge Accepted

      I’ll let my trusty guides sweat the small things, so I can focus on my goal. Getting to the top, reaching the end, achieving my dreams! Sure, it’ll be tough, but the views will be worth it.


    • ACTIVE 5

      The Ultimate

      I’ve put in the hard yards and now I get to reap the rewards. I’m a seasoned adventurer, not afraid to get my boots wet.


    • Read more about the Active Range

    5.00 out of 5 (from 3 reviews)

    Immerse yourself in Peru's cultural richness, explore the Pisac Ruins, Rainbow Mountain and take a comfortable alternative route to Machu Picchu, via the Classic Inca Trail.

  • Titicaca and Bolivia Adventure - Chinchilla

    10 Days  | 

    Peru  | 

    US$3999

    ACTIVE 2 - 3
    • ACTIVE 1

      What's The Rush?

      I’m not a triathlete, but I’m in decent shape and I’m not looking to experience a place just through a bus window. I’m happy to slow down on the trail, soak it in and breathe in the fresh air.


    • ACTIVE 2

      Leg Stretcher

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they’re even worn in, but they don’t go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.


    • ACTIVE 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation so that I can eat and drink what I like without feeling guilty. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.


    • ACTIVE 4

      Challenge Accepted

      I’ll let my trusty guides sweat the small things, so I can focus on my goal. Getting to the top, reaching the end, achieving my dreams! Sure, it’ll be tough, but the views will be worth it.


    • ACTIVE 5

      The Ultimate

      I’ve put in the hard yards and now I get to reap the rewards. I’m a seasoned adventurer, not afraid to get my boots wet.


    • Read more about the Active Range

    4.45 out of 5 (from 22 reviews)

    There's so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu - the Chinchilla is our multi-activity, cultural immersion of Peru and its beautiful neighbour - Bolivia.

Trip Reviews

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

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We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

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