More HIKING!!!! My absolute favourite…jk. All I kept saying was that my calves better look damn good after all this walking. But the views were absolutely worth it. And it’s very clear as to why they call this Rainbow Mountain. The colour bursts along this mountain are so unique and cool and unlike anything else in the world. Its something that you’ve got to see!
Now, this excursion is not necessarily something you need to book in advance. There are a ton of adventure offices in Cusco that you can visit to book the trip. We just shopped around a bit to find a decent price and hostel pickup, and eventually stumbled on one that was a pretty good price (I forget how much it was). But we just reserved our spot 2 or 3 days before our trek so really no rush.
But what we didn’t really think about was that the day before we would be doing our visit to Machu Picchu which we didn’t realize who tire us out so much, and not have us back to our hostel and in bed until 11pm. And while that doesn’t seem late, it does when I mention that the excursion for Rainbow Mountain picks you up at 330am! So we got a lovely 4 hour sleep.
Well unless you can sleep on the bus. So we got picked up in front of our hostel at 330 and joined a few other very tired guests. Along the way we made a few other stops in the city to pick up the rest of our mini bus. From Cusco its about a 3ish hour drive to the base of the mountain. So if you can get comfy than you’re in for another 3 hour nap.
Just before you reach the base you stop for a very very mediocre, if not terrible breakfast. It was buns, instant coffee or tea, and a very inedible looking egg. I will say that the tea was very appreciated as it was pretty cold in the morning and it was a nice pick me up before we started a big hike. After the breaky you drive through some twisty and windy roads for another 20/30 minutes before arriving at the base.
If you can, get the walking poles with your excursion company. These things may look ridiculous in your home neighbourhoods, but out here they were the absolute best things to have. By the time you reach the base of Rainbow Mountain the elevation is already at about 4100 m. Which is much higher than the city of Cusco and likely as high as you’ll have been all trip and maybe ever. So in order to prep for this excursion you’ll want to pack a lot of snacks and water (We had granola bars, cookies, and 2L of water each-you’ll also just want something sugary, and some swear by the cocoa leaves). The altitude can make this probably mediocre hike into a very difficult one. You’ll notice that you are out of breath very quickly and your muscles will be very tired. You may also start to get headaches as well. Before we started our climb we were told to avoid sitting down throughout the hike as it can cause a headrush when you stand back up, which could lead to fainting. So needless to say those hiking poles were a godsend!
But if you start to feel crappy or exhausted, you can always opt in to hop on the horse for some guap($) and have them take you up most of the way. But we trekked it out and made that hike to the top. The hike itself took us about2/2.5 hours to the top and than another hour down. But its the views around you which are the coolest. As you can see from the photo above, there were plenty of snowcaps around us. The views are full of snow filled mountain, colour mountains due to all of the different minerals in the ground and regular greenery mountains. And whats even better is that there are just sheep and llamas running around everywhere!! They are so cute…but they run away from you the moment you get close.
The hike was definitely so much harder than I was expecting, but again it was so worth it. The views from the very top were incredible. It was actually the walk back down that was harder on me. I started to get a bad headache probably fro a mix of the quick descent, exhaustion, dehydration, and hunger. So basically I was falling apart, and was oh so excited to make it back to that bus.
THATS IT! That is everything that I have to say and share about my recent travels to Peru! If you read this far than thank you so much for reading about my trip! I hope I may have inspired you to book your own, or have given some helpful tips and tricks for when you do go there! I will say that it was an incredibly beautiful country with so much to do. I would also advise, that if you do have time than to take a quick trip down to Bolivia and check out the salt flats.
Next stop is Munich in October (for what else, Oktoberfest) and more. Stay tuned!