Vinicunca or Winikunka, also called Seven Color Mountain, Rainbow Mountain or Mountain of Colors , the inhabitants call it Cerro Colorado , in the Cusco Region, between the districts of Cusipata, province of Quispicanchi, Pitumarca, and the province of Canchis in southern Peru with an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level. It is characterized by the presence of parallel vertical streaks of 7 different colors, which make the mountain look like a rainbow.
Geology : This mountain owes its color to an accumulation of sediments for millions of years. Its multicolored appearance, totally natural, is due to the mixture of red iron oxide, the green color of copper sulphate and yellow sulfur.
The famous Rainbow Mountain, better known as Mountain of Seven Colors or Vinicunca, is one of the many attractions that Cuzco and its surroundings are home to. Thanks to its spectacular color variety, more and more travelers are including it in their route. It is true that getting there is not a simple task, but it can be a perfect option for hiking enthusiasts.
Today After the wonder of Machu Picchu, Vinicunca Mountain or Seven Colors has become one of the most visited natural tourist destinations in Cusco by national tourists and from around the world. Currently at least 1.000 tourists per day visit the Vinicunca mountain, through the road access enabled by the district of Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis.
The particularity of this mountain has led it to be “one of the 100 destinations to travel to before dying” according to National Geographic.
Access : Coordinates: -13.870227, -71.302951 / As in almost any remote destination, there are several agencies that offer tours to the Rainbow Mountain, although there is the possibility of making the road on your own. /
Reaching the beautiful site is possible by the district of Pitumarca, in the province of Canchis that from Cusco, it takes about two hours of travel by bus or car, from there on foot or by horse.
Vinicunca – Pitumarca Route : route starts from the Cusipata district, which is 78 kilometers southeast of the city of Cusco in the Cusco province of Quispicanchi. Getting to Cusipata takes about an hour and a half from the Imperial City, from there another hour by bus to the end of the road in Pampachiri to join with an hour of walking.
- Vinicunca : the Mountain or Seven Colors : The different colors are due to the different minerals, which have settled and overlapped over millions of years. The fact that today the different layers are in vertical stripes can be explained by plate tectonics: the collision between the Nazca plate and the South American plate pushed the earth’s crust upwards.The different colors are given by the following minerals:
Red is given by iron oxide .Pink is given by manganese.Yellow derives from sulfur.The whitish derives from marl (calcium carbonate).The oxidation of copper by reaction with water and oxygen has led to blue-green coloring. Brown is composed of a rock and magnesium sludge.The black stripes are given by the granite.
- Vinicunca – Pitumarca Route : this route offers various attractions such as Surimana glaciers, viewpoints , lagoons, water mirrors and the main attraction, the hill Seven Colors.
- the Vinicunca viewpoint : It is worth knowing that, regardless of how you approach the walk, it reaches up to 5100 meters in the Vinicunca viewpoint. The path that is still more frequent (the Pitumarca route) is 8 kilometers and, as we say, it can take about three hours.
- Apachetas : Apachetas are stone mounds, one over another, they are considered “stone offerings.” These offerings are left by the traveling travelers, who ask for health, tranquility and protection during the trip to the Apus. During the trip to Vinicunca mountain there are many apachetas on the sides of the roads, roads and trails.
Admission fees : ticket price Mountain of the 7 Colors:Price in soles (S /.) Price in dollars ($) National tourist (Peru) S /. 5 2 USD Foreign tourist S /. 10 3 USD
Tip : the end of the road in Pampachirri, where the access parking is located. From there, with payment of 10 soles (5 for local people), you can start the trek to the Mountain of 7 colors.
Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking to Vinicunca / day trips from Cuzco / horseback trek / Vinicunca Trekking Tour / Drive through the countryside of Cusco / Enjoy the characteristic fauna of the high Andean landscapes such as llamas, vicunas, alpacas, vizcachas, condors and more.
Go next : Cuzco / Pitumarca / Sacred Valley (Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero) / Pisac, Colorful marketplace / Lake Titicaca / Machu Picchu / Choquequirao / Ollantaytambo / Province of Sicuani