Riding my bicycle around the world there are so many world heritage sites and natural attractions that it would be impossible both logistically and financially to visit each and every one but every now and again I am shown a picture a picture of something which blows me away. This is the case of the rainbow mountain in Peru. The minute I saw a picture of a mountain striped with the colours of the rainbow I knew I had to visit this. I had never seen anything like it and knew I never would again.
Tours run from Cusco and cost about $100 but for me and my bicycle I was able to cycle up to the start of hike and then just pay the $2 entry fee to hike to the top and back. To be able to visit the mountain outside of the mass tourism was also an amazing opportunity since I was able to stand on top of the mountain and take in all the views without hordes of people queuing up with their selfie sticks! I was also lucky enough to be joined by Morgane and Greg two cyclists from France and it was great to share the experience with them and also laugh and joke on the long uphill to the start of the hike.
We were kindly hosted by Jamie, a keen cyclist in the town of Chechacupe which sits at the base of the climb and he also permitted us to leave some of our heavier gear at his house whilst we went exploring for two days. This made the climbs so much easier and his hospitality both before and after visiting the mountain will not be forgotten. The first day the cycling was beautiful as pavement gave way to a well maintained off road track which ran alongside a fast flowing little river and we all made steady progress uphill. The highlight of the day was when we decided to camp in little village at around 4000m elevation. We were told we could camp on the school field and when we arrived a football game was in full flow so me and Greg asked to play. Playing football at 4000m is a tough task and after about 10 minutes both Greg and I were in goal, too tired to run with the lack of oxygen at this elevation. It was fun to play and some of the kids were really good, much better than us and we went to bed exhausted ready to hike to the top of the mountain the following day.
The hike begins at 4600m and there are a few little stalls selling snacks and drinks should you require them. We arrived at around 2pm which I think is the perfect time as all the tourists are then leaving to join their buses back to Cusco so you have the hike and the views all to yourself. The hike itself is steady with the last 100m being quite windy and steep as you climb to 5200! When you reach the top the views are amazing and it is simply mind blowing to take it all in. The colours, the peaks and valleys of the Ausengate mountain range all around you! We all were smiling huge smiles as together we jumped around and took photos to celebrate this amazing place.
There are some things which have taken my breath away on this trip and the Rainbow Mountain is one of many and a must see if you are passing this in Peru.
Buy me a beer!! Thank you
This blog follows my cycle ride from Reading, Berkshire to Reading, Pennsylvania.