Today we woke up at 4:00 a.m. to begin the trek to Rainbow Mountain, which is a three hour drive away from Cusco and then a 2-3 hour hike up. We started the hike at 4,477 meters and hiked 5 km to an elevation of 5,009 meters (~16,500 ft). As you can see from the pictures above, the views were absolutely breathtaking (and not just from the altitude!) Our amazing guide, Giselle, explained to us that the reason Rainbow Mountain (or Apu Winicunca or Montaña de Siete Colores) has only been accessible to visit for the past couple years is because it was once completely covered in snow. Due to increased temperature of the earth, the snow began melting about 30 years ago and is now completely gone. With the reveal of the beauty underneath, it has attracted many a traveler. The sediment layers seen were created from tectonic plate activity and the layers include iron, sulfur, zinc, copper, and silver.
If you are ever in the Cusco region, traveling to Rainbow Mountain is an absolute must! We could not think of a better way to end our trip.
~Maddie, Sam & Nicole