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Vinicunca or Winikunka, also called Montaña de Siete Colores, Montaña de Colores or Rainbow Mountain, is a mountain in Peru with an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level.[1][2]

Vinicunca is located in Peru
Highest point
Elevation5,200 m (17,100 ft)
Coordinates13°52′13″S 71°18′11″W / 13.870227°S 71.302951°W / -13.870227; -71.302951Coordinates: 13°52′13″S 71°18′11″W / 13.870227°S 71.302951°W / -13.870227; -71.302951
Parent rangeAndes

Tourist access requires a two-hour drive from Cusco, and a walk of about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) or three and half hour drive through Pitumarca and 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) steep walk of 45 minutes to the hill. As of 2019, no robust methods of transportation to Vinicunca have been developed to accommodate travelers, as it requires passage through a valley.[3]

It is located on the road to the Ausangate mountain, in the Andes of Peru, in the Cusco Region, between the districts of Cusipata, province of Quispicanchi, Pitumarca, and the province of Canchis.[4]

In the middle of the 2010s, mass tourism became attracted by the mountains' series of stripes of various colors.[5] This due to its mineralogical composition present on the slopes and summits.[6]



The Red Valley, a path that connects Pitumarca with Vinicunca.

Leaving the city of Cusco, one can arrive to Vinicunca through the Longitudinal Race of the Peruvian Sierra del Sur (PE-3s) in the direction of the town of Checacupe where we take the fork to the town of Pitumarca, and from this town along a tricky trail passing through several rural communities such as Ocefina, Japura, Hanchipacha, until arriving at the community of Pampa Chiri. The road ends, requiring one to start a 5 kilometer walk to the Vinincunca pass, where you can see the natural formation in the shape of a rainbow, considered the Mountain of Colors.[7]

The entrance to the Rainbow Mountain is made by a village of Pitumarca, two hours from the city of Cusco, then a walk on foot, by car or motorcycle on the slopes of the mountain and then you can go up on horseback or on foot the rest of the way until you reach the Montaña de Colores.[8] If you decide for 45 minutes hike instead of 2 hours hike from Pitumarca, then you have to travel by car for an additional one and half hour drive on a non-paved road through the mountains. The drive is beautiful containing view points where you'll see the valley, lamas and alpacas been herd by the Shepard on the mountains.


Travelers to Peru and locals generally agree that the best time of the year to visit the colorful site is in the month of August, since it is dry season and provides a beautiful view, maximizing the vivid colors of the mountains. Nevertheless, the famous colors always look aesthetically beautiful.

Travelers are advised to try to avoid days following significant rainfall (namely in the months of December, January and February) and much more in times when snow has fallen.[9] In terms of fauna, travelers are able to view a wide variety of alpacas and other camelids in certain short-term seasons.

Mineralogical compositionEdit

Aerial view of Vinincunca.

According to the investigation of the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralization of the City of Cusco, the colorations of the mountain of the 7 Colors are due to the mineralogical composition that it has: the pink color is for the red clay, fangolitas (mud) and arilitas (sand). The whitish, because of the quartzose, sandstone and marls, rich in calcium carbonate. The red one made up of the claystones (iron) and clays belonging to the upper tertiary. The green is due to the compound of phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian. The earthy brown is a product of fanglomerate composed of rock with magnesium belonging to the Quaternary era. And the mustard yellow color for the calcareous sandstones rich in sulphurous minerals.[10]

Mountain concession for miningEdit

The process began on March 30, 2015 in Lima, when the mining exploration company Minquest Perú SAC, owned by the Canadian Camino Minerals Corporation, requests the Red Beds mining petition from the Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute (INGEMMET). the territory of the districts of Cusipata and Pitumarca with an area of 400 hectares that cover the whole of the Mountain and which also overlaps with the peasant communities of Chillihuani and Pampachiri. Superposition that was warned by the INGEMET together with the assumption to the Regional Conservation Area Ausangate promoted by the Regional Government of Cusco. Finally, on March 16, 2018 with Presidential Resolution No. 042-2018-INGEMMET / PCD / PM INGEMMET, the title of metallic mining concession was granted.[11]

On May 21, after the rejection, the company informed the Regional Government of Cusco, its renunciation of the concession, however, the Regional Government indicated that it is the Ministry of Energy and Mines that must assume the administrative actions to recover possession of these lands. The National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) expressed its deep concern over the management of Vinicunca, one of the most important components of the new tourist offer in the country.[12][13][14][15]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Montaña de siete colores | Montaña Arco Iris | Rainbow Mountain en Vinicunca, Quispicanchis, Cusco – Arqueología del Perú | Historia, Turismo, Arte , Inca, Prehispánico, Pre-Inca" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  2. ^ "Fotos: Montaña de Colores de Vinicunca es víctima de su popularidad". RPP (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  3. ^ "Cusco: denuncian que han dañado la Montaña de Siete Colores". América Noticias (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  4. ^ "Conoce la belleza de Winikunka, la montaña de 7 colores de Cusco". 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  5. ^ "Salvemos La Montaña de Colores: Está Corriendo Grave Peligro". ACCESOPERU.COM (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  6. ^ PERÚ, Empresa Peruana de Servicios Editoriales S. A. EDITORA. "En el Día Internacional de las Montañas conoce las 7 cumbres más altas del Perú". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  7. ^ "Tour Full day montaña de colores cusco 2018 | Intupa Cusco". Machu Picchu Tours | Viajes a Machu Picchu | Tours Cusco | Intupa Cusco (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  8. ^ Andrés Vögler (2016-10-11). "Montaña Arcoíris, Cusco". BITÁCORAS DE VIAJE (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  9. ^ "La Montaña de Siete Colores | Vinicunca Cusco - Perú | Guía de Viajes" (in Spanish). 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  10. ^ "Vinicunca Perú | La montaña de colores en Perú | Cusco". Vinicunca ES (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  11. ^ Cooperacción. "Incoherencia del sistema de planificación territorial". CooperAcción. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  12. ^ "Empresa decidió renunciar a la concesión minera de la Montaña de Siete Colores en Cus". 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  13. ^ "Rainbow Mountain Hike Peru". Rainbow Mountain Peru Info. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  14. ^ "Salvemos la Montaña de Colores: está corriendo grave peligro". La República. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Formación Geológica de la Montaña de los 7 Colores". Vinicunca Peru.

External linksEdit