The splendid Andean region of Cusco not only has impressive and megalithic Inca constructions, but also geological wonders that captivate due to their great showiness. Although the most visited is the rainbow mountain of Vinicunca, there is another dream place whose scenic beauty deserves all the attention: the Palccoyo mountain range.
Located south of the Imperial City, this jewel of the Andes is made up of three colorful mountains accompanied by a spectacular view of the snow-capped Ausangate. Getting there does not demand a great physical demand and it hardly takes about 45 minutes, so it is also possible to visit it with the family. If you are not used to long walks, this is a pleasant alternative to enjoy the bounty of nature.
The Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Range is located 124 km southeast of Cusco, at an altitude of 4,900 meters above sea level.
As with Vinicunca, the Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Range has such striking colors due to the minerals found here, such as red clay, sandstone or copper oxide. It is believed that millions of years ago, this area was completely covered with water, which brought all these sediments that give Palccoyo its characteristic colors.
The landscape of these two destinations in Cusco is quite similar, but the excursion to this place has two main differences: the difficulty of the walk and the number of people who visit each day.
On the one hand, while to get to the Mountain of 7 Colors or Vinicunca you will have to do a demanding trek of about three hours, access to the Palccoyo Rainbow Range is much simpler: you will only have to do a fairly simple walk for a hour.
On the other hand, the fame of Vinicunca has grown a lot in recent years, so hundreds of people visit this place every day. The Cordillera de Palccoyo, however, is still quite unknown, which gives it the benefit of not having many visitors. You can practically enjoy it by yourself!
|Physical Difficulty||Low||Medium High|
|Duration of the Walk||From 1 to 2 hours (round trip)||From 2 to 3 hours (round trip)|
|Maximum height||4,900 m.a.s.l. approx.||5,000 m.a.s.l. approx.|
|Best Time to Visit||April to September||April to September|
Although the main goal of Palccoyo is to visit the Rainbow Mountain Range, the landscape will surprise you with other wonders of nature. On the one hand, on the way to Palccoyo you will find an impressive stone forest, with truly enormous rocks and striking shapes.
On the other hand, this Rainbow Mountain Range is accompanied by an impressive deep red valley that will make you feel like on Mars.
And as if this were not enough, you will do the entire trek with llamas and vicuñas as traveling companions. Doesn't sound bad at all, does it?
Also, if you want to make the most of your trip to Palccoyo, we recommend you take a walk through the Checacupe district. Here, you will be able to appreciate in one place three bridges from different eras: Inca, colonial and republican.
The Palccoyo mountain has a cold climate due to its proximity to the snowy Ausangate. The temperature can drop below 0ºC. That is why, at some times of the year, the slopes are covered with snow.
In addition to being a natural attraction of incomparable beauty, the Mountain of the Seven Colors is the natural habitat of various types of animals such as llamas, alpacas, vizcachas, condors and more.
On the route that connects Cerro Colorado there is a stone forest formed naturally millions of years ago. From there you can closely appreciate the beauty of the snowy Ausangate, the largest in Cusco.
Due to the cold weather, visits to the Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo are only in the mornings and part of the afternoons. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The best time to visit the Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo is during the dry season (April to October). In those months, rains occur much less frequently, making the excursion easy.
As always, we recommend you do this route with an authorized travel agency. The tour to Palccoyo takes place in just one day. Normally, the route departs at eight in the morning from Cusco and returns the same day at seven in the afternoon. In addition, many companies stop at other tourist attractions in the area, such as the Raqchi Archaeological Complex, the Four Lagoons or Checacupe. So you can take advantage of every minute to get to know different places along the way!
To get to Palccoyo you have two options: on your own or through a tourist tour. If you choose the first alternative, you will have to travel by car for about three hours from the city of Cusco in the direction of the Combopata district. Minutes before reaching this town, you must turn left taking the town of Checacupe as a reference point. Then, continue the journey for another hour until you reach a car park. Once here, you will only have to start a 40-minute walk until you reach the mountains of colors.
Guided tours are also another option that you can consider if you do not have your own mobility. These include transportation service, food for the tour, a tour guide, entrance ticket and medical assistance. During the trip, you can see the hanging bridges of Checacupe, made up of a colonial bridge and vestiges of what was an Inca bridge.
Arriving at Palccoyo, one witnesses the majesty of the place and the uniqueness of the landscape. It is a geological formation produced by the accumulation of minerals and water, as well as by the local winds and the existing humidity. This combination of elements generated in the past the oxidation of the surface, the same one that acquired that special diversity of tonalities. In the surroundings of the mountains you can also find a viewpoint located in the middle of a forest of stones up to ten meters high that give the appearance of a geological labyrinth.
The best way to get to the Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo is with a tour through a tourism agency. The most common services are those that last 1 full day and can be contracted in the Historic Center of Cusco.
The tour to Cerro Colorado de Palccoyo costs approximately 70 dollars (USD). The price varies according to each travel agency and the quality of the service they provide.
Visiting Cerro Colorado is also possible without a tour. To do this, you only have to make the trip on your own to the town of Checacupe. From there you can buy the entrance tickets directly. The visit without a tour is without a tour guide.
To visit Cerro Colorado on your own, you must purchase the entrance ticket in the town of Palccoyo. The cost for foreigners is 10 soles (3 dollars). National tourists pay 5 soles (2 dollars).
Tours to Cerro Colorado vary according to the tourism agency. In general, the tours include the following:
To visit the Mountain of the Seven Colors of Palccoyo, it is advisable to bring the appropriate utensils to combat the heat during the day and the cold at sunset:
Once you decide to visit Palccoyo Mountain, you could add the best destinations to combine the history and experience for your trip to Peru. Peru offers the most beautiful destinations, culture and naturals. we recommend to extend your holidays and choose these best destinations and prepare your itinerary: