When you speak of mountains, only a few defining features come to mind: how tall it is, how broad it is, or if there is anything significant about it which separates it from other high elevations. Hardly does anyone describe a mountain for its solely color, unless for further elaboration.
But when you speak of one particular mountain in the Andes region of Peru—that is, Vinicunca—you would probably be amazed by how distinct it is solely for its motley of colors, unique to itself. It is not the height nor the broadness of this mountain which makes it so remarkable, it’s its coloring. Thus, the so-called Rainbow Mountain of Peru.
The world itself, as we know it, is consistent of many colors perfectly complementing one another which makes a huge canvass of abstract. Narrow the same logic specifically at the Vinicunca—or the Rainbow Mountain—and you get the same idea, only a different kind as defined by the parallels of colors that are painted on it.
Vinicunca may not exactly mimic the color combination which makes a rainbow as it is, but the unique assortment of colors to be found on this place will make you wonder how it came to be in the first place. What is more amazing about it is that it is completely as a result of natural phenomenon and with little to no manipulation coming from the human hand—it is like an art crafted by Mother Nature herself with utmost precision to say the least.
It is therefore without a wonder why Vinicunca makes for one of Peru’s most visited places, almost inundating it on a daily basis. If rough estimation is enough to quantify the number of people going to and from this colorful mountain, my best guess has to be at around thousands. With that in mind, you can just imagine how cramped this place can get during its peak season (hint: not during rainy days!).
And, like any other place worthy of a personal visit, Vinicunca did not elude our desire to see it first-hand.
Our journey towards the Rainbow Mountain of the Andes started off with trek along the lowlands where traffic is quite commonplace for any vehicle. At three hours’ drive away from the city of Cuzco, the site is at a considerable, yet very accessible distance.
Having reached the site from a lower elevation, we were only at the first step to the needed leg work required to coming across the site deemed Mother Nature’s own painting over a mountain. We were already exhausted from the activities we’ve done in the previous days so we decided to rent a horse. The drop off point is quite near to the viewing area but going up was still a bit hard for me because of the high elevation.
Coming across the varicolored mountain may be physically-taxing as it takes some trekking to get to and personally see but it is all worth it when you are already out there and actually stepping. If anything, it feels like being a part of an unfinished art project—which is rather breathtaking—that can be commemorated with a few shots of a camera.
However, for something which shines the brightest at day time, we strongly suggest to check the weather before thinking of visiting the place. While our experience about Vinicunca is generally positive as it was sunny, there were also sad stories about the place which only occur when it rains.
In the same manner as the painting is not meant to be water-washed, excessive rainfall has a way of ruining the experience with Peru’s famed Rainbow Mountain, albeit to those who are there to see it.