We will pick you up at 4:00 – 4:30am from any hotel, Airbnb or hostel in Cusco. It will be a 2½ hour drive to the trailhead - we will arrive at around 7am. Here at the trailhead our chef will make a delicious breakfast including coffee, hot chocolate, teas, bread, fruit salad, eggs, and hot drinks. Cusco’s elevation is 3300m / 11,300ft and the trailhead, which is called Phulawasipata, is at 4200m/ 14,300ft. Cusco’s weather is usually quite cold and the trailhead is even colder, so early in the morning. Be sure to bring a warm jacket, scarf, hat and gloves. After breakfast we’ll hike about 2 hours uphill to the Rainbow Mountain range. At a slower pace it could be 2¾ hours, or if you are really fit, quick and acclimatized well, some people can do in 1½ hours. The hike up includes some short breaks where the guide will explain some important information about the mountains and the geography of the area. Perhaps you’ll have chance to catch sight of some of the locals, including llamas and alpacas that frequent this area. The trail itself is quite wide and so is helpful for those with vertigo or fear of heights. The trek is best during dry season as the trails are not paved, so it can be a bit dusty, and in rainy season it can be slippery since it may be wet, but with good waterproof hiking shoes and hiking poles, it will be just fine.
Upon your arrival to the top of Rainbow Mountain, around 9-10:00am, you will have about 1 hour to explore the amazing views of the surrounding areas - valleys, mountains and to view the highest glacial mountain in Cusco - Ausangate, whose summit is at an elevation of 6,384m / 20,944ft, making it one of the tallest mountains in Peru. After giving you a bit of time to take some treasured photos, your guide will give you some interesting facts about this fascinating place - like why the colors?! – and he will also share some detail about the Inkan history. A few last photos of this amazing mountain and we will begin our descent. We do this a little differently than other groups. Instead of hiking the same route as the others, we will hike to a lookout point to see the Red Valley and hike it. This valley is the icing on the cake - many of our hikers say that it is even nicer than Rainbow Mountain! It is about 2½ hours - mostly downhill - from Rainbow Mountain to the end of the trail, which is near where we started the hike. Here you will enjoy a fresh meal, prepared by your chef, which includes cold drinks, appetizers, soup and a main course. After lunch, it will be another 2½-hour drive to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel at around 5:30 – 6:00pm.