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Somewhere Over the Rainbow Mountain

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Have you ever thought about what’s on the other side of the rainbow or just to go somewhere over the rainbow?

No, you won’t be transported to Oz nor will you find a pot of gold. You will, however, be surrounded by colour. Just take a trip to Peru’s Rainbow Mountain, Vinicunca.

Located in the Andes in the Cusco region of Peru, Vinicunca’s trailhead is a three-hour drive from Cusco. The lookout, will be more of a challenge. To get to the lookout, you will have to hike about 6 miles and is not really recommended for beginner hikers.

The hike to the peak would take you 17,000 feet or so above sea level, making the hiker work harder and lose oxygen throughout the trek so going on a guided tour would be slightly costly but it will keep you safe throughout.

The tour you book will most likely pick you up anywhere between 2am and 4am, regardless of which tour company you choose. Getting ready at such an early time may seem daunting, but your arrival at the trailhead offers amazing early morning sceneries and a taste of local life.

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Apart from conquering Rainbow Mountain, the journey is just as good as the destination. During the trek up, you will continuously be greeted by stunning 360-views of landscapes and glaciers.

As for many hiking trips, the weather plays an important factor in your experience. It is best to plan your trip when there is no chance of rain or snow, not only will these conditions make the trail more difficult, but the colours of the mountain would turn out to be duller. Ideal conditions to hike up Vinicunca and see the colourful hues would be either right after sunrise or right before sunset.

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The colours of the mountains have formed because of the reactions caused by the ice that used to cover the area. When the ice started to melt, the water mixed with the minerals in the ground, causing the formation of the colours. Reds are due to the rust mixtures, greens from chlorite, purples from goethite or oxidized limonite and yellows are due to iron sulphide.

When you reach the lookout, don’t be surprised at the colours of the mountains. The colours may not be as vibrant as the ones you see on the internet that are often enhanced by Photoshop, but seeing it in person isn’t as dull either. The colours of the mountainsides look as though they were painted in reds, greens, purples and yellow, but they look more natural in person.

 

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