Montaña Arcoíris Vinicunca vs Palcoyo Which one to choose?

Despite being a new tourist destination, thousands of people go to Vinicunca every day to experience its wide range of colors. But what many people don’t know is that there are several Rainbow Mountains south of Cusco, and that visits to a second multicolored mountain, Palcoyo, are already rising in popularity. Vinicunca and Palcoyo deliver surprisingly similar views, but these are two attractions that have important differences that can make you prefer one more than the other.



                                                The Rainbow Mountains of Cusco









Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca.


About 3 hours south of the city of Cusco, near the Vilcanota Mountain Range, there is a group of whimsical mountains of unique colors that do not stop attracting the attention of travelers and tourists around the world. Here, ocher, red, white and blue emanate from the earth generating a spectacular effect.

Vinicunca was the first Rainbow Mountain to become a desirable tourist attraction of Cusco, with thousands of tourists touring its colorful lands every day. Palcoyo , on the other hand, has become his most popular alternative in the last year, drawing attention not only because of his relationship to Vinicunca, but because in reality it is a question of multiple rainbow mountains that coexist in the same mountain range. In willkatravel we have a trekking to Vinicunca and a trekking to Palcoyo. Both excursions include lunch, entrance tickets, pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation in Cusco.




Vinicunca or Palcoyo: physical requirement



One of the most notorious differences between the two mountains is the physical requirement to reach them. While Vinicunca consists of a 4-hour round trip trek with a considerable slope, to get to Palcoyo you only take 1.5 hours round trip for a relatively flat section. Both excursions are made at 5 thousand meters high, so the risks of puna are high in anyone. We recommend you read our article to avoid altitude sickness .

If you are excited about the demanding stretches and you are in good physical condition, then Vinicunca could be ideal for you, rewarding your effort with a privileged view of Ausangate, the fifth highest mountain in Peru with 6,372 meters. If you prefer a lighter walk, without demanding too much from your body, Palcoyo is the answer. Anyway, in Vinicunca you can hire horseback riding services that take you to the top of the mountain.




Vinicunca or Palcoyo: tourist influx


For those who have climbed to Vinicunca, they will well know that the trekking is done by numerous groups of travelers every day . The popularity of this mountain is so high, that a thousand people visit it daily, putting the integrity of the environment at risk. If you are going to do this trekking you must take into account that you will share the path with many others.

For some, this can take away a lot from the experience, especially if what you are looking for is a particular connection with the environment, to experience the immensity of nature and how small we humans are. In this sense, Palcoyo offers a beautiful isolation that is difficult to obtain in Vinicunca. So if what you want is more silence and fewer people around you, lean towards Palcoyo.




Vinicunca or Palcoyo: access quality


One of the advantages of hiring a tour is that the operators who perform them know the roads, their quality and the correct accesses. However, if you plan to visit any of the Rainbow Mountains of Cusco on your own, you should know that vehicular access to Palcoyo is much more complicated than to Vinicunca . The roads are not in good condition (or think about doing it if you do not have a good 4 × 4) and it is very easy to get lost. As Vinicunca is an established destination of Cusco, the routes are better known and therefore carry fewer risks. Find out more information about how to get to Palcoyo and how to get to Vinicunca .


Vinicunca or Palcoyo: Comparative chart


In short, if you want a demanding walk but full of breathtaking scenery , Vinicunca could be a great personal challenge. If what you want is a relaxed and short hike through mountains of colors , then Palcoyo is the option. Each one has its own!



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