Day 1: Cusco – Cusipata – Rainbow Mountain – Cusco
We will pick you up in Cusco about 4 a.m., from whichever hotel you are staying at within Cusco. It is about a three and a half hour drive in our private van, during which we will pass through traditional villages and see some amazing views of the Andes. Before we reach the trail head for this hike, we will stop and enjoy a lovely breakfast, prepared by locals. We will begin the hike at 4,400 m/14,435 ft elevation. From here, it will be about two hours uphill hike or you could do on horseback riding (optional) to reach the famous Rainbow Mountain. Along the way, you will enjoy amazing views of the Andes, glacial peaks, red mountains, rocky hills, and traditional llamas and alpacas grazing along the valley. As you reach the summit of the mountain, you will be able to spot some Andean wildlife. This is the only place in Cusco where you can see wild Vicuñas, the Andean camel. Vicuñas are in the same family as llamas, although they are smaller. Their wool is the most expensive wool in the world.
Once we arrive at the top of Rainbow Mountain, you will have enough time to absorb the majesty of the red mountains that surround this area. You will also see amazing views of the valleys and Ausangate Glacier Peak in front of you. Ausangate is the tallest mountain of the Cusco region (just under 21,000 ft elevation), and is part of the Cordillera Vilcanota Range. While taking in these magnificent views, your tour guide will share some information with you about the composition of these mountains and how they became striated in the rainbow of colors. After taking a few amazing pictures and soaking in the views (perhaps we will even see a few condors floating on the air currents), we will begin our descent with a two hour, downhill hike. Following, will catch our private van and you will be able to see the lifestyle of these local people, who still practice the ancient traditions of the Incas. Here, they speak Quechua, practice their earth-based religion and agriculture. They honor the mountain spirits and the Sun, to ensure that their crops and herds flourish. The natives also weave the textiles that you will find in the museums around Peru. We will then stop to enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared, hot lunch. Finally, after lunch in local restaurant , we will start our return trip back in our private transport back to Cusco. We will drop you off at your hotel around 4 p.m.