Laguna Humantay Vs Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca
Which of These Places is Worth Visiting ?
Here we will compare Humantay Lake vs Rainbow Mountain in Peru, then you will decide which one you want to hike. If you have not yet decided which of these places to visit on your trip to Cusco, here we will clarify your doubts:
As well as the Humantay lagoon and the Rainbow Mountain are places that should be on your travel itinerary, however, if you don’t have much time to visit both places here we will help you choose the right one.
Something you should keep in mind is that both places, Rainbow Mountain and Humantay Lagoon, require quite physical effort, but don’t be afraid, because in both of them you also have the option of renting a horse for the climb, but which of these places is really worth visiting?
What’s the difference between Rainbow Mountain & Humantay Lake?
This is a question that many people do not find an answer to as each of these two places is unique and a must see, here we will help you decide which one to visit.
Vinicunca Mountain, also known as Montaña de 7 Colores or Rainbow Mountain was hidden for centuries under thick layers of snow and ice. And then, probably as a result of climate change, it gradually melted.
The rainbow mountain is located in the Peruvian Andes next to one of the highest snow-capped mountains in Peru (Ausangate 6,384 m / 20,940 ft).
It’s not just the mountain itself, but the whole landscape is very colourful, In fact, you can see colorful mountains like this in all the Andes, however this is one of the brightest, most exposed and accesible in Cusco, it can be visited from Cusco, one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Peru, from where you can also visit Machu Picchu. The summit of Rainbow Mountain is 5,200m, (17,000 feet) which is almost as high as Everest Base Camp at 5,389, can you imagine? but don’t worry, the trek itself is not particularly difficult, for the most part, it’s a gentle upward slope. However, the altitude makes it incredibly difficult. To prevent this it is recommended to be acclimatized to the altitude so that the altitude will not cause you many problems during the hike to Rainbow Mountain. There is an alternative for those who are afraid that altitude sickness will spoil their trip. Upon starting the hike you will see many local people with their horses. The rate, is 60 (not round trip) soles for a horse all the way from the beginning to the base of the mountain. At that point you will have to get off and climb the rest yourself.
How High is Rainbow Mountain?
The rainbow mountain is located at 5,200 meters above sea level (17,060 feet), to reach the top it is necessary to hike between 1 hour and 2 hours at a slow pace, but there is also the option of renting horses for the climb which will save a lot of energy and ensure you reach the top in good condition.
What to expect to see?
Definitely the hike is worthwhile either on horseback or on foot what you can see along the way are beautiful and unique landscapes as well as some other snow-capped mountains surrounding the rainbow and the alpacas that adorn the mountains, if you want to connect with the Andean world the rainbow mountain is the best option since the place is perfect to know the real Peru and it is possible to interact with the local people, people here still dress in their typical clothing and this stands for a symbol of being proud of the place where they are from.
Altitude Sickness on the Rainbow Mountain
If we compare between the Humantay lagoon and the Arcoiris mountain we can say that both could cause you some issues of altitude sickness if you have not yet been adequately acclimatized since both are over 4000 meters above sea level which makes the hike a little tough, it is advisable to stay in Cusco or in the Sacred Valley for a couple of days to adjust to the altitude and drink plenty of water during your stay before your hike to the Rainbow Mountain or to the Humantay lagoon.
These are some of the things that make Rainbow Mountain so special:
- It is located on one of the highest peaks of Cusco from where you have a spectacular view.
- It is one of the 4 colorful mountains in the world.
- It is one of the 100 places around the world that you must visit before you die.
- You have a direct contact with the Andean culture and traditions of the people where it is found.
- Fun is guaranteed!
- The whole route is full of curious things like Andean plants (medicinal) several species of birds, rodents, alpacas, llamas etc.
You observe the Andean agriculture from very near, the agriculture of different products, such as potato, beans, tarwi, olluco, oca, year, etc. and the cereals like aba, peas, quinua, quiwicha, barley, wheat, among others.
Why not to Trek Rainbow Mountain Perú
- No way for vehicles to reach the summit of Rainbow Mountain, vehicles only go to a trailhead, so don’t expect any vehicle to drive right up to the Rainbow Mountain lookout point.
- Don’t trek Rainbow Mountain in the rain or snow, hiking to Rainbow Mountain in the rain is a nightmare, unfortunately you won’t be able to see anything, not even the colors of the mountain for which it is famous and the trail transforms into a river.
- The rainbow mountain trail badly needs repair, Rainbow Mountain is visited by about 900 people a day and there is only one path which is being destroyed little by little and it only seems to be getting worse every day.
- Don’t underestimate the altitude of rainbow mountain, headaches and nausea are common symptoms that people experience when they go to Rainbow Mountain. To avoid this you must be totally acclimated to the altitude and at least have stayed in Cusco for 2 days before the trek.
- The roads are terrifying to many because they were built on the edge of mountains with huge abysses, (becareful)
Should I go to Rainbow Mountain?
We finish by telling you that it is really worth visiting Rainbow Mountain, our only recommendation for you not to be disappointed on your trip is “Don’t go in the rainy season”
Why visit the Humantay Lake?
Located in the Vilcabamba mountain range, at the foot of the Humantay snow-capped mountain at an altitude of 5473 meters and the second highest in the region is the fascinating Humantay Lakeof the same name over 4200 meters.
To get to this lake of glacial origin, you must go from the city of Cusco to the town of Soray Pampa, which is located 3,900 meters above sea level, near another spectacular snowy Salkantay.
Then, you must walk for about 3 hours on a high Andean trail in whose path you can see multicolored landscapes where predominantly cultivated local areas that harmonize with the snow-covered mountains.
Here are some of the things that make Humantay Lake so special:
It is the perfect place for those who are nature lovers.
The lake is well hidden what it will do when you see a unique and very special moment.
The lake is located at the foot of the snow-capped mountain that bears the same name, but even so the cold is not too cold.
The landscape is one of the most beautiful things that will captivate you from the first moment.
It is an enchanted place where you will find yourself and you will not want to leave there.
At the beginning of the hike you will walk in front of Cusco’s second highest peak (Salkantay).
Geographically the Humantay Lake is much more beautiful than the Rainbow Mountain.
You will have the opportunity to see those who are traveling to machupicchu doing the Salkantay hike for 5 days.
The best thing is that it is at a lower altitude than Rainbow Mountain so you won’t have to struggle too much, just make sure you have had enough time in Cusco to acclimatize and you won’t have to worry so much about it.
Some of the disvantages of doing Humantay trek
During high season sometimes there is not much space to take photos, you have to be patient and wait for those who arrived first are back and make the most of it to take the best photos.
The roads to the lake are very narrow and you have to be very careful.
You will see more horses and mules than llamas and alpacas.
If you are planning on going to Rainbow mountain or Humantay Lake you will not regret it! Although many tourists prefer to stay in Cusco doing some other day tour, there are people looking for adventure in the Peruvian Andes, either Rainbow Mountain or the Humantay Lagoon the adventure is guaranteed!
You can also book your trip to one of these places and enjoy an incredible life experience. Be sure to get your passport stamped at the station at the top! We recommend using horses on the way up for anyone who lacks experience hiking in high altitudes. It doesn’t matter if you hike or ride a horse, both of them are worth it. The views are spectacular from the top; when you reach the top it is something that leaves you speechless,
if you want to know more about these hiking day trips in Cusco check out our one day tours to the Humantay Lagoon from Cusco or to the Rainbow Mountain on a private tour just for you and your friends. We recommend doing these hiking trips after visiting Machu Picchu so you can be sure that you have already adapted to the altitude; but keep in mind that despite this there is the possibility of feeling dizzy up there, however it is common to feel some problems of altitude sickness as long as they are not complicated for this our guides are trained who will also carry an oxygen bottle and a first aid kit.