Rainbow Mountain is truly a dream. Getting there, that was a nightmare.
We had a full two days to ourselves before the end of our amazing G Adventures Peru trip. Michelle and I looked at the possible side excursions we could do and decided on Rainbow Mountain. I looked at the photos and said, “Yes, I’m in!” And she was like, “You know, the trek is four hours. We’ll need to take horses up because of my bad ankle.” (She had ankle surgery a few months prior) Not only would it be an excruciating journey, but I’ll get to ride a horse for the first time!
We needed to work with the Peru G Adventures representative, who gave us the contact information for the Rainbow Mountain tour. Essentially, we booked this tour with a third party. The drive from our Cusco hotel would take about six hours, so we needed to leave at 3am in the morning. The tour company told us to be in the lobby at 3am. So there we are, Michelle, Elle (someone else in the G Adventures tour group with us), and myself sitting in the lobby, half asleep. A gentleman pulls up in a Toyota Corolla, comes through the door, and shows us his phone with Whatsapp open – and our names in the message field. We nod, he tells us to follow him. We get into the car and notice another gentleman in the passenger seat. Thoroughly wigged out, we just go with it… And off we go, 3am in the morning in a foreign country with two men we don’t know.
As we’re driving throughout the town, we’re all secretly freaking out. It doesn’t help that eventually the driver stops and pulls to the side and enters what looks to be a convenience store and leaves us in the car for a good 20 minutes. We’re thinking, “Oh crap, we’re being transported to the human trafficking ring!”
A few more hours of driving later and we pull up to a small village. Low and behold, we were actually hitching a ride with the village’s cook and his driver, who was preparing the breakfast for a group of other tourists and ourselves. Phew… Taken: Peru avoided.
The difficulties went from 0 to 100 once we got to Rainbow Mountain. Although we paid the G Adventures rep the $100 CAD or so for the tour, nobody at Rainbow Mountain knew we were arriving – let alone providing us horses. Luckily, we reached out to the tour group that was there and explained to her our issue. I believe she made contact with the appropriate G Adventures contacts and was able to secure us our tickets and horses, although having to wait a bit. She’s in the video below – thanks a million whoever you are!
The base of Rainbow Mountain is a vast, gorgeous horizon of mountain, sand, llamas and alpacas. Oh, and sheep! Once we finally got our horses, which were actually donkeys, we were off! In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t a full trek up with the donkeys as some inclines were too steep to go up with a donkey, so that’s when we needed to go up the mountain by foot.
Many hours later, and after walking up so very sketchy rocks, we got to the top. And it’s too beautiful to put into words. At the very top, every direction you look, there’s a different type of mountain – Rainbow Mountain, turn around to see a snow-covered mountain, turn right to see a sand-covered mountain. It is insane.
(Look at the llamas cool earrings!)
The journey down wasn’t any easier either! Yes, we got to ride our donkeys down for half the journey, but you still need your core muscles to keep you upright so after many hours of hiking and donkey riding, my body was just doneso. Once we got to the bottom, I had a migraine, I was cold and hot at the same time, I was sweating, but I was also full of exhilaration.
Once we got back to Cusco, we bumped into our group once again going for dinner and joined them. It’s really cool having dinner with people from the other side of the world who were brought together for the same purpose – to experience Peru.
Check out the vlog below and please be sure to like and subscribe.