Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Hike 1D

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Duration: 1 Day
Availability : Availability: Every Day.
Depart: Cusco
Destination: Palccoyo
Difficulty : ★★★ Moderate
Adventure : ★★★ Off the beaten path
Min Age : 8
Max People : 12

Palccoyo Hike Highlights

  • Marvel at the colourful striations of the “other” Rainbow Mountain, Palccoyo
  • Stroll through the fascinating Rock Forest and enjoy breathtaking views of the Red Valley and Ausangate mountain
  • On the way, stop at the quaint village of Checacupe to see Colonial and Inca bridges

About the Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Hike

Have it all with Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain, the perfect alternative rainbow mountain hike that lets you marvel at the stunning Rainbow Mountains of Peru while avoiding the crowds.

Make this a 2-day trip!  Add another day to your Palccoyo hike itinerary and visit the famous Q’eswachaka Bridge! This unique Inca rope bridge is rebuilt in a special ceremony every year. The Q’eswachaka bridge festival happens every June but you can visit the bridge any day of the year.

See Full Description

Peru’s Rainbow Mountain has exploded in popularity in recent years. Incredibly, Rainbow Mountain is now the second-most visited tourist destination in Cusco, after Machu Picchu, with nearly 2000 visitors per day. All this in just a few short years!

But you can still see the incredible Red Valley of Peru and its rainbow mountains, without the hordes of tourists.

Our Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain hike is a great alternative rainbow mountain hike. Palccoyo offers a gentler trail with less elevation gain, so it’s a great option for someone looking for a more casual day hike in Cusco. The Palccoyo hike also has some added highlights that the classic Rainbow Mountain hike does not, like the village of Checacupe for a taste of high Andean culture, and the chance to explore the fascinating Palccoyo Rock Forest.

Send us an enquiry to book your trek, or click through the navigation bar above to read about the trip Details, the detailed Itinerary, or to check out some more Photos of this incredible trip.

Not convinced by this alternative Rainbow Mountain option? We also offer our own version of the classic Vinicunca hike, which keeps you out of sync with the vast majority of fellow hikers:

Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


4-6 people


7-8 people


9-12 people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Palccoyo Trek

What is Included?

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain hike departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Any applicable entry fees
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Boxed lunch. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

What is Not Included?

  • Breakfast and dinner.
  • Tips for the guide
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage

You Should Bring

Optional Extras & Upgrades

    We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

    • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 7kg (15lbs) per person
    • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
    • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
    • Combine with a day trip to Machu Picchu


    • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
    • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
    • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. This discount does not apply to train fares. Children under 2 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Trekkers Wanted

    Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this Palccoyo trek itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • Remember that no trek in the Andes is easy. You still should be fit and prepared to hike in difficult conditions.

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Checacupe – Huallatacunca – Palccoyo – Cusco

    The journey to see the incredible Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain starts at a respectable hour. We leave Cusco at 7am in our private transport, and head out along the Cusco-Puno highway. During the drive to Palccoyo we pass some beautiful spots, like the village of Checacupe. This Andean village boasts a unique attraction: three bridges from three different historical periods, Incan, Colonial and Republican! It’s a Peru history lesson in 3D.

    After nearly 2 ½ hours on the road to the alternative rainbow mountain, we reach the small town of Combapata. From here we take a detour onto a dirt road, where we will travel a further 29 km (approx. 1.25 hrs) until we reach Huallatacunca (4770m / 14,665 ft), the trailhead for Palccoyo.

    Hiking Up to Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain!

    At this point, we begin our gentle ascent towards the first Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain lookout point (4860m / 15,945 ft). After about 15 or 20 minutes, we’ll have our first glimpse of the incredible Red Valley Peru, and several smaller colored mountains. The Red Valley and Rainbow Mountain Peru area is a stunning feature of the Peruvian Andes. Rich in mineral deposits, these mountains are simply a wonder to behold.

    After admiring the breathtaking views and getting that Instagram-perfect shot, we continue another 15 or 20 minutes until we reach the principal Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain lookout. At a whopping 4950m (16,240 ft), you’ll feel on top of the world!

    Here you’ll have a chance to appreciate the full splendour of what’s become known as the “alternative rainbow mountain,” as well as Ausangate Mountain (6370m / 20,899 ft), the highest peak in the Cusco region. Did you bring your thermos? It can get very chilly at these high altitudes, and you will appreciate being able to sip on some hot coca tea while you take in the views!

    Breathe Deep and Enjoy Mother Nature

    We’ll enjoy a well-deserved break here admiring the view, and then we have the option to continue on a bit further to the Palccoyo Rock Forest (5080m / 16,667 ft). It’s about a 10-minute uphill hike to reach this fascinating geological feature, a stunning outcropping of jagged rocks. This is a great spot to get more of those classic Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain shots, and take in all that Mother Nature has to offer.

    At this point, it’s time for lunch and we’ll enjoy our snack in the open air before walking back along the same path to the trailhead, where our private vehicle is waiting. We will return to Cusco along the same road, arriving there at around 6 pm.

    Total Walking Distance: 3.2km (4.4km, counting the walk to the Rock Forest)
    Total Walking Time: 1-1.5h
    Minimum Altitude: 4770m (14,665 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 5080m (16,667 ft)

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