I arrived in Cusco two days ago. First day was committed to resting from an awful bus ride and the last bits and pieces of my flew. But I decided to go for a city tour in the afternoon to get a first impression.

We went to a part of the old Inka ruins in Cusco. They spread all over the city and apparently Cusco is the oldest Inka city which is still inhabited today. Our guide explained to us a bit more about the rituals which were used to cure illnesses but also the very important connection to earth. He said the most important state of mind for the Inkas was not happiness or anything else but gratitude. I guess a very healthy attitude…

Nice thunderstorm rolling into Cusco

As a starter for Peru I decided to visit the Rainbow Mountain. It’s a fairly new site which has only been accessible in a day hike since a bit more than a year. A very unique combination of tectonic plate movements, volcanos spitting out minerals and further movements created this unique site the density of different minerals which can be seen on an open ridge are very unique.

Left at 3am for the three hour car ride to the the beginning of the trailhead. Already the drive into the valley is super-espectacular! A very narrow valley with natural terraces and a sketchy road. Unfortunately I couldn’t capture any of it…


The view back from where we came. The road goes through the valley and sometimes up on the sides with steep drops.

The trail starts at about 4.300m and when we stopped for a quick breakfast the fields were still frozen – chilli! The trailhead is next to the most important and sacred mountain in southern Peru, the Ausangate. Great contrast to the colourful mountains.

The trail itself is a fairly easy one. Steady but doable incline. I guess the last weeks in altitude show their positive effect now. While others struggled heavily I didn’t really feel any altitude effects anymore. First checkpoint was here:

The locals positioned themselves after the first few hundred meters with their horses offering to bring you up (50S) or up and down (80S). What can I say – a very good business. There were quite a few that jumped on the horses right away but man more were also picked up along the way 😉

The scenery was great. You could already see the differently coloured rocks. And the hills are Llama and Alpaca country!

After about an 1:45h to 3:00 depending on your level of fitness and acclimatisation you arrive on the ridge. It get’s quite crowed since all the groups start at around the same time. But it’s still an amazing site. Once you get up on the ridge it does get really cold. The wind blows from one valley over the pass into the next one and since you are exposed on the top you get hit by it full force. When I got up there it was already overcast and a mixture of snow and hail started hitting us horizontally.

The two valleys and Ausangate in the background to the right


A bit more of sun and blue sky would have probably been more impressive. But it’s just an impressive scenery. #ilovemountains




The way down through llama country again and a long drive back to Cusco.


Facts & Figures:
Rainbow Mountain can be easily reached as a long day trip from Cusco.
Pick up at 3am and return between 6 and 9pm depending on your group.
The tour can be booked at any agency and you should not pay more than 60 incl. breakfast and lunch (10S entrance fee extra to be paid to the locals on the trail).
Be aware – the mountain is 5.200masl, that’s another 1.600m more than Cusco. Not a trip for the first days if you are not acclimatised!