The mysterious and beautiful Mountain of Colors or Rainbow Mountain as it is known, has been captivating thousands of tourists daily since it is considered the new icon of Cusco tourism and one of the hundred places that the prestigious National Geographic magazine recommends visiting to its readers. before dying so don’t wait any longer to visit the Mountain of Colors.
In just over two years, travelers who come to take photos at the summit; they went from a few dozen to about 1,000 people a day despite the cold and the altitude of the place. Thanks to its popularity also driven by social networks; in which hundreds of travelers tell their experience of this great adventure. The Mountain of Colors became a regular destination in the rankings of tourist attractions in the world.
For example, in August 2017, it appeared on Business Insider’s list of 100 places to visit before you die recommended by travel experts.
The tourist boom is quite recent, but the history of the mountain and its colors began millions of years ago.
Mountain of Colors, About 100 kilometers southeast of Cusco in the Cordillera del Vilcanota at 5,200 meters above sea level, in the district of Pitumarca in the province of Quipicanchis, department of Cusco, is the mountain of colors its name comes from of two Quechua words: “Wini”, for the rounded and heavy black stones that abound in the area, which were called “wini rumi” (stone). The second is “Kunka” which means neck, because the narrowness of the hill resembles a pass neck. Initially, the muleteers of the highlands and the settlers knew it as “Qolla Ñan” or “path of the Qollas”.
To get to this incredible mountain you have to walk for 2 hours and a half or you can go through the new short route of Cusipata which is 1 hour with 30 minutes of walking. You can go up on horseback or on foot the rest of the way until you reach the Mountain of Colors. The road presents a great scenic beauty; where we will observe a great multitude of llamas and alpacas that I have never seen, which are at the mercy of shepherds dressed in beautiful colorful costumes. Then passing through beautiful ravines heading to the highest parts; surrounded by snowy peaks (Ausangate), almost upon reaching the top we will observe the change in the landscape at a height of 5200 M.S.N.M.
According to the report of the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Cusco; its appearance is due to “a complex geological history of marine, lacustrine and fluvial sediments”.
Over time, the residues that cover it formed layers (with different grain sizes); that today they are seen as the strips that attract thousands of tourists every day; Likewise, in this study, the composition of each color that gives life to the Mountain of Colors is found.
Here we will explain how this natural wonder Mountain of Colors was formed:
- Pink or fuchsia: from the combination of red clay, fangolitas (mud) and sand.
- Whitish: from the combination of sandstone (quartz sand) and limestone.
- Purple or lavender: from the combination of marl (a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate) and silicates.
- Red: from the combination of argillites and clays.
- Green: from the combination of clays rich in ferromagnesia (a mixture of iron and magnesium) and copper oxide.
- Yellowish brown, mustard or gold: from the combination of limonites, calcareous sandstones rich in sulfur minerals (combined with sulfur).
The visit to this site has such a special addition, I am referring to the imposing Ausangate snow-capped mountain; the fourth highest mountain in Peru with 6,372 meters above sea level. From the mountain next to the colored one you get a wonderful and beautiful view of this snow-capped mountain. Your photographs will be very special, but even so they will not be able to reflect what is observed with your eyes.
The “Apu” Ausangate; It is for the Andean culture, giver of life and guardian of one of the most varied ecosystems in the world; its name means “copper” in Quechua. If you happen to visit this mountain, remember that it is sacred to the local people. Nearby communities have pilgrimage dates to the top of the Mountain of Colors, such as the community of Chillca; who are mostly shepherds of llamas and alpacas, who have inherited cultural traditions from their ancient pre-Inca and Inca inhabitants. It is possible to share the daily life of the shepherds and the work with the llamas through experiential tourism.
The sacrifice that this walk implies is rewarded with the unique natural wonders that you will admire and that will surely form an important part of your life, that is why we invite you to visit this wonder with us Cusco Peru Trips, you cannot miss it!