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How much does it cost to go to rainbow mountain peru?

As one of the hottest natural attractions to emerge in recent years, Rainbow Mountain in Peru has captured the imagination of travelers worldwide. Known locally as Vinicunca, this geological marvel of vivid mineral striations rising high into the Andes has become a must-see destination. But how much will it actually cost you to visit Rainbow Mountain Peru? Let’s break it down.

Getting to Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain is located about 80 km southeast of Cusco in the Peruvian Andes, which means you’ll need to factor transportation into your budget. There are a few options for getting yourself there:

Join a Tour

By far the most popular and convenient way to visit Rainbow Mountain is via an organized tour. Tours pick you up from your Cusco hotel and handle all the logistics, including roundtrip transport by private vehicle, guides, entrance fees, and meals.

Tour Type Price (USD)
1-Day Group Tour $50 – $80 per person
1-Day Private Tour $100 – $150 total

As you can see, joining a day tour is very affordable, ranging from $50-150 per person depending on group size. Private tours with just your party are on the pricier end.

DIY Trip by Taxi

With some logistical effort, it’s possible to get to Rainbow Mountain on your own via taxi. The route is around 3.5 hours each way from Cusco. Hiring a private taxi for the day will cost approximately $100 total.

While cheaper than a guided tour, attempting Rainbow Mountain independently means organizing your own entrance fees and missing out on an experienced guide. The DIY option is best for seasoned travelers with good Spanish skills.

Public Bus + Taxi

The most budget way to reach Rainbow Mountain is by public transportation. First, you’ll need to catch a bus from Cusco to the village of Cusipata. Buses depart in the early morning and cost around $5 each way. From Cusipata, you can hire a local taxi to drive you to the Rainbow Mountain trailhead for around $15-20 each way.

Total public transit transportation costs will be approximately $30-40 per person roundtrip. While very cheap, this option requires early mornings, multiple transfers, and fluent Spanish. Hardly ideal for most.

Entry Fees

Once you’re at the base of Rainbow Mountain, there is a mandatory entry fee charged by the local community that owns and maintains the area. This helps fund conservation efforts. Fees are:

Visitor Type Entry Fee
Adults $3.50
Students $2
Children (under 12) Free

These fees are included if you visit Rainbow Mountain on an organized tour. If traveling independently, be sure to carry cash (soles, not USD) to pay this required cost on arrival.

Guided Trek

The landscape of Rainbow Mountain is quite expansive, extending far beyond the main lookout point. To properly explore the area, hiring a local guide for a trek is highly recommended. Guides can lead small groups on trails through the mountainside with stunning vistas for around 2-3 hours. Rates typically range from $15-25 per person depending on group size.

Having an experienced guide navigate challenging terrain and share insights into Andean culture is well worth the small additional cost.

Packing Checklist

Due to Rainbow Mountain’s extreme elevation of 5,020m (16,470ft) above sea level, you’ll need to come prepared with proper gear:

Essential Items
– Warm layers (jacket, hat, gloves)
– Hiking boots
– Sunglasses & sunscreen
– Snacks and water
– Altitude sickness medication
– Small backpack
– Cash for fees & tips
– Camera!

Tours will remind you to pack properly for the conditions. If traveling solo, research altitude sickness prevention and come prepared with plenty of layers and hydration.

When to Visit

Due to its high elevation, Rainbow Mountain is only hikeable during the dry season from May to September. The rest of the year brings heavy rains, snow, landslides and high risks of altitude sickness.

June to August are the peak months due to school vacations in the northern hemisphere. Expect larger crowds and prices during this period. For a balance of good weather and fewer people, May and September are great choices.

Permits & Regulations

Visiting Rainbow Mountain once required securing a permit weeks in advance and hiring certified guides due to strict regulations. However, red tape has been reduced over recent years.

These days, no special permit is needed beyond paying the standard entry fee on arrival. Guides can be hired last minute on site. But do follow any rules set by your tour operator or the local community.

Food & Accommodations

There are no restaurants or hotels in the immediate area of Rainbow Mountain. All tours provide roundtrip transport from Cusco in a single day.

However, if you wish to spend a night near Rainbow Mountain, basic homestays and lodges can be found in the village of Cusipata. Meals here are simple but filling, with costs around:

Item Price (USD)
Budget hotel room $10 – $15 per night
Homestay with family $5 per person
Dinner (soup & main) $3 – $5 per person
Breakfast $2 – $3 per person

For a true immersion into Andean culture, an overnight stay in Cusipata is a great experience. But for simplicity, a day tour from Cusco is recommended for most visitors.

Insider Tips

Follow these tips from experienced guides to get the most out of your visit:

  • Acclimatize for 1-2 days in Cusco before trekking up to avoid altitude sickness
  • Bring plenty of warm layers – it’s freezing at the summit!
  • Hire a local guide for insightful commentary and help pacing yourself
  • Start early before fog rolls in and obscures views
  • Carry cash for entry fees, tips, and souvenirs
  • Don’t rush the descent – slippery terrain causes accidents
  • Respect trail etiquette by staying on paths and not littering

Travel Insurance

One often overlooked but incredibly valuable expense for international trips is travel insurance. Comprehensive policies cover any sudden medical expenses, flight delays and cancellations, lost baggage, and emergency evacuation. For less than $100 for a two week trip, travel insurance provides invaluable peace of mind.

Many companies like World Nomads allow you to easily compare plans online for your specific destination and dates.

Total Costs

Taking everything into account, here is a breakdown of approximate total costs per person to visit Rainbow Mountain Peru:

Expense Cost (USD)
Tour (shared group) $50 – $80
Guide Tip $5 – $10
Meals $10 – $15
Gear Rentals $5 – $10
Souvenirs/Incidentals $5 – $10
Approx. Total $75 – $125

By joining a group tour, traveling during shoulder season, and splitting costs with a friend, it’s possible to experience Rainbow Mountain Peru for around $75-100 per person including transportation.

On the pricier side, small private tours in peak summer can run up to $150+ per person when factoring gear rentals, meals, tips and other costs. But for a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trek, the experience is well worth the splurge!

Is Rainbow Mountain Worth It?

For travelers debating if Rainbow Mountain lives up to the hype, the resounding answer is yes! While reaching the summit requires an early start and challenging hike, you’ll be rewarded with one of Peru’s most unforgettable vistas. Just be sure to come prepared.

In just a few years, Rainbow Mountain has become one of South America’s iconic natural wonders, frequently topping Peru’s must-see lists. Looking down on vibrant mineral stripes rippling across the Andean peaks against a backdrop of glaciers will create lifelong memories.

As more visitors discover the magic of Rainbow Mountain, go now before massive crowds alter the fragile landscape. An affordable day tour from Cusco is the perfect way to experience this geological gem for yourself!