Vinicuna Mountain (Rainbow Mountain) is yet to be discovered by many travelers. Rainbow Mountain is gaining popularity rapidly for its pristine natural bliss and need less to say the multi-colored beauty that sticks out a mile in the Peruvian Andes. These colors are deposits of minerals such as iron, copper, dolomite, sulfur, lime, lead and hematite, respectively.
Most travel agencies in Cusco offers more or less similar pattern of day tour which usually costs S/.120 (USD 35). The tour starts at an ungodly hour. You would be picked-up from the hostel between 0300-0400 in the morning for a 3 1/2 hours drive in a mini-van to the base camp where breakfast would be served before starting the 15 kilometers’ strenuous hike from 4,326 m (14,189 ft.) to 5,020 m (16,466 ft) to the peak to get a seraphic view of colors striped through the mountain.
A flashpaker introduced me to the tour operated by Rainbow Trek Palcoyo. The tour has a slightly different pattern. Unlike the regular ones, this tour starts with a pickup at 7:30in the morning for a 3 hours drive through the scenic roads off the Cusco City. And what makes it a different? The mini-van goes right to the top of the mountain, which means there is no 3 hours of arduous hike involved.
In a split second I made up my mind and booked a tour to the impending attraction.
As the sun trounced the blanket of darkness, the journey to the picturesque place began at 0730 in the morning. The bus skittered through the rustic neighborhood of Cusco, with erratic views of Alpacas and Llamas grazing on the natural terraces of the Peruvian Andes. This scenic ride came to an end as the bus stopped in a pokey little area snuggled in a mountain valley. I got myself immersed in the sensational view of the Mountains. The enigmatic view of vicuñas grazing on one side while the Llamas feeding on the other with an enchanting view of the valley and colorful mountain was inexplicable.
The guide introduced us (the little group of 5 travelers) to a perky woman with a bright blue jacket and a floppy hat, she spoke not a word of Spanish but just Quechua. She lead us through the a dirt path between looming peaks of green and startling red rock, offering us some coca leaves at a regular interval to survive at the altitude of 5,020 m (16,466 Ft.)
Struggling against buffeting winds we reached to the top of the mountain in 45 minutes with frequent stops to capture the austere grandeur of mountain scenery in my Camera. The enormity of the struggle escaped me as I was rewarded not just with the serenity of the place but also with the much awaited view of the mountain with seven colors stripped on it.