Lady wearing a beanie and smiling at camera on top of Rainbow Mountain, Peru

What to bring and wear to hike Rainbow Mountain

Feb 21, 2024
Reading time: 3 minutes

Here's a list of everything to pack and wear for the short but tough hike up Peru's famed Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain!

What equipment should I bring?

You don't need to bring much to climb Rainbow Mountain as it's only a two- to three-hour hike. That said, the climb is steep and the trail can be rough underfoot. Moreover, the elements can be harsh.

With this in mind, we advise that you bring the following equipment:

  • A pair of reliable and water-resistant hiking boots.
  • A small backpack for carrying drinking water and rainproof gear.
  • Trekking poles, if you have them.
Scree and loose rocks on the side of Rainbow Mountain Peru

Loose rocks and scree on Rainbow Mountain

Trekking poles are particularly useful should there be rain or snow to make the trail muddy and slippery. They might also make you feel more secure when you navigate loose rocks and scree.

Rainbow mountain or Vinicunca Montana de Siete Colores and beautiful sky, Cuzco or Cusco region in Peru, Peruvian Andes mountains

The mountain is also called Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colours) 

What clothes should I wear?

Vinicunca sits on Peru's high altiplano (plateau), where the weather is cold, dry and just generally unforgiving. So you need to dress appropriately to ensure you stay warm and dry on your hike.

You climb to 5,040 m (16,535 ft) on a Rainbow Mountain hike – that's much higher than Mt Blanc, which reaches 4,809 m (15,777 ft) above sea level.

The daytime weather on Rainbow Mountain ranges from roughly 7 to 15°C (45 to 59°F). There can also be rain and even snow in the wet season, and you're often exposed to strong winds. So it's important to pack protective clothing.

Happy hikers at Rainbow Mountain, Peru

 

Specifically, we advise that you wear the following:

  • Trekking pants (trousers) – this will keep dust and dirt from finding their way into your boots.
  • Long johns or thermal leggings.
  • Warm hiking socks.
  • A long-sleeved thermal vest.
  • A fleece.
  • A winter jacket.
  • Gloves.
  • A warm heat like a woollen beanie.
  • A scarf or snood.

Be sure to also put the following into your backpack:

  • A poncho (or a rain jacket, backpack rain cover and maybe rainproof over pants).
  • A sports cap or sunhat in case the sun's rays are more of an issue than the cold.
  • Sunglasses.
Hikers walk the road to Rainbow Mountain, a place very visited by tourists in Cusco, Peru.

The trail up the mountain

What else should I pack?

Here are a few important items to bring in your Rainbow Mountain backpack:

  • 10 Peruvian soles for the entrance fee (unless covered by your tour operator).
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm (as UV rays are more potent at high altitude).
  • Drinking water.
  • A high-energy snack.
  • Your camera, of course!
  • Tissues (in case the wind gets your nose running).
  • Toilet paper (this isn't provided).
  • Hand sanitiser or wet wipes.

If you pack all of the above, you can be confident you'll have all you need to enjoy a truly memorable Rainbow Mountain hike. And if you're looking for someone to take you there, please check out our Rainbow Mountain day hike. 🤓

Young girl in front of the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain with two llamas on it, Peru

Llamas are commonly seen on the hike