Vinicunca: The Mountain of Seven Colors

Laura Lee
Sep 08, 2021

If travelling to South America isn’t on your bucket list, the beautiful Vinicunca mountain will definitely change your mind. Also known as Winikunka and Rainbow Mountain, this gorgeous mountain is located in the Andes of Peru with an altitude of 17,100 ft above sea level.

Alpacas in the Rainbow Mountain

Getty Images / Photodisc / Keren Su

The mountain’s stripes of seven different colors are the result of its mineralogical composition. According to the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralization of the City of Cusco, the pink color is due to red clay, mud, and sand; the white is due to quartzose, sandstone and marls; the red is due to claystone, as well as clays from the Upper Tertiary period; the green is due to phyllites and clays rich in ferromagnesian; the brown is due to fanglomerate made of rock with magnesium from the Quaternary period; and the yellow is due to calcareous sandstones rich in sulfurous minerals.

The best time to visit the colorful site is in August. Although the beautiful hues of Rainbow Mountain always look gorgeous, the eighth month of the year is the dryest, which maximizes the vivid colors of the mountain. There are two ways to access Vinicunca. Either a two-hour drive from Cusco followed by a 3-mile walk, or a three-hour drive through Pitumarca followed by a 0.3-mile steep walk to the hill.