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Vinicunca or Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

If you are planning a trip to Peru, you may be wondering which of these two rainbow mountains is the best one to visit. Both are located in the Cusco region and are popular tourist attractions, but there are some key differences to consider when deciding which one to visit.

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain

First, let’s start with Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain. This is the classic rainbow mountain that most people are familiar with. It is located about 3.5 hours from Cusco, and the best time to visit is during the dry season (April to October). The dry season also tends to have the most blue skies, which makes for great photos. However, keep in mind that the altitude at Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) above sea level, so altitude sickness is a common concern.

If you are planning a day trip from Cusco, you can visit Rainbow Mountain as part of a tour that usually leaves early in the morning. Keep in mind that it can get quite crowded, as this is a popular destination for tourists.

Vinicunca or Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain is another option for those looking to visit a rainbow mountain in the Cusco region. The mountain is located about 45 minutes from the trailhead at Palccoyo village, making it a more convenient option if you do not have a lot of time. Palccoyo is also a bit lower in altitude (around 4,900 meters or 16,076 feet above sea level), so it may be a good option for those who are concerned about altitude sickness.

One downside of Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain is that it does not have the same bright colors as the classic Rainbow Mountain. However, it is still a beautiful destination, and it is a great option if you want to avoid the large amounts of tourists at Vinicunca.

Vinicunca or Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Which mountain should you visit?

Vinicunca or Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Overall, both mountains are worth considering as part of a trip to the Cusco region. Here are a few additional points to consider when deciding between Vinicunca and Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Peru:

Tour options

If you want to visit Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, you will likely need to book a tour. These tours typically include round-trip transportation from Cusco, a local guide, and sometimes a packed lunch. Some tours also include a visit to the Red Valley, which is a beautiful area located near Vinicunca.

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain, on the other hand, is more of a DIY destination. You can either hire a private driver or take a taxi to get there. However, taking a Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour is also a good option.

Difficulty level

Both Rainbow Mountains involve a hike to reach the top, but the hike to Vinicunca is longer and more strenuous. It is about a 2-3 hour round-trip hike, with an elevation gain of over 700 meters (2,300 feet). Palccoyo, on the other hand, is a shorter and easier hike.

It is about a 1-1.5 hour round-trip hike, with an elevation gain of about 300 meters (1,000 feet). If you are not in good physical shape or have difficulty with steep inclines, Palccoyo may be the better option.


As mentioned earlier, Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is known for its bright and colorful stripes, which are caused by mineral deposits in the mountains. Palccoyo, on the other hand, has more muted colors and is not as colorful as Vinicunca.

However, Palccoyo is still a beautiful destination and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Vinicunca or Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Regardless of which rainbow mountain you choose to visit, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to acclimate to the high altitude and to enjoy the stunning views of the Andes mountains!.

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