|Elevation||5,200 m (17,100 ft)|
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.
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.
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. 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. In terms of fauna, travelers are able to view a wide variety of alpacas and other camelids in certain short-term seasons.
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.
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.
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.
Ausangate as seen from Vinicunca
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