Trekking the Painted Hills of Vinicunca

Vinicunca and its rainbow-like hills are a sight only recently gaining steam as a popular tourist attraction in Peru. The iconic photo of its Dr. Seuss-like seven-colored spine has attracted hoards of travelers to Vinicunca since the trail first opened at the end of 2015. A stunningly scenic trek through lush landscapes, remote mountain villages, and herds of alpaca and llama, the trek to Vinicunca is actually no small feat. Reaching an elevation of 16,466 feet, the actual trek can be a shockingly challenging experience for many if unprepared. The standard 3 a.m. pick-up from Cusco can also make for a sleepy day.

For these reasons, we decided to put together several alternative Vinicunca Trek itineraries that ensure you’re acclimated, well rested, and making the most of your journey into the Vinicunca foothills.

For the Trek-Focused Traveler

The 2D/1N Trek to Vinicunca

Rather than cram the entire experience into one day, we offer a 2D/1N itinerary that brings you to the base of the mountain the night before. En route to your cozy lodge in Anantapata (one of the lodges of Andean Lodges’s Ausangate Lodge-to-Lodge Trek), we’ll make stops at the Urcos Market and the colonial bridge and Church of the Immaculate Conception in Checacupe for some sightseeing. Later that afternoon, we’ll arrive at the lodge where you can rest, relax, and cozy up to the fire with views of the snow-capped Ausangate Mountain in sight. Awake the next morning well rested and refreshed for your trek to Vinicunca Mountain.

For the Multi-Active Traveler

The 2D/1N Vinicunca Active Experience

For those of you looking to add a tad more adventure into the experience, we offer a 2D/1N itinerary that starts with some rafting on the Urubamba River in Cusipata. Paddle your way through Class I, II, and III rapids followed by a delicious and scenic lunch on the riverbanks. You’ll spend the night in a hotel in Cusipata and set off on your trek to Vinicunca the next morning.

The 3D/2N Adventure in Vinicunca

If you have three days to spare and you live for active adventure in beautiful places, we recommend our 3D/2N itinerary. Over the course of three days raft the raging Urubamba, rock climb the vertical faces of Pitumarca (with routes for every level of climber), and trek the beautiful trail to the Rainbow Mountain. By giving yourself a couple of days in the Vinicunca foothills, you’ll be more than acclimated for your high-altitude trek on Day 3.

The painted hills of Vinicunca Mountain are truly a sight to see, but altitude and lack of sleep can stand in the way of enjoying the moment to its fullest. Consider these multi-day alternatives to the standard one-day itineraries offered by most agencies and make the most of your trek to Vinicunca Mountain.

For more information about these Vinicunca trek options, please contact us.

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