17,000 feet above sea level in the Andres of Peru lies one of Earth’s geological wonders, Rainbow Mountain.
Vinicunca, the rainbow mountain in Peru’s Cusco region, gets its coloration from the intermixing of oxide rust — which causes the red color — and iron sulfide — which produces the orange and yellow hues.
Discovered in 2015, the rainbow mountain emerged from leftover mineral deposits from ice sheets that once filled the area. As the ice melted, the mineral deposits were exposed to the sun, causing them to oxidize and ultimately develop their vibrant colors.
How and when to hike Rainbow Mountain
Climbing the spectacular mountain requires endurance — it takes about 2 hours to get up and another 1 hour to get down. The trek to get there is a challenge in itself! But you can also hire a horse to take you up.
The best time to visit the mountain is the dry season, from May to October. The rainy season, lasting from November to April, can make it difficult to hike.
The Rainbow Mountain is a stunning geological phenomenon and one of the most spectacular sites to see in the Andes.