All photos were taken in collaboration with Scott Reichard
Are you wondering how to see some of the most beautiful places in Peru? How does a 6 day Rainbow Mountain trek sound? I didn't know it would be something I wanted to do! I remember scrolling through Instagram and seeing someone’s pictures from Rainbow Mountain Peru. That’s when my obsession with trekking in Peru started. Then there was Machu Picchu, Cusco, and a slew of other Peruvian hot spots that suddenly became the only places I wanted to explore. Somewhere between daydreaming and thinking about how I would get there, I came across the Killa Expeditions page. Killa offers treks and guided tours through Peru. They focus on ethical and sustainable travel, making my decision to reach out to their team that much easier. I love that Killa Expeditions also makes a point to give back to the community as part of their ethical focus. They host numerous charity events and support local businesses quite frequently.
Numerous emails between the Killa Expeditions team and I finally led to a decision on a trek: the Rainbow Mountain Ausangate Package. The Rainbow Mountain Peru Trek includes 6 epic days of trekking in Peru through the Ausangate Mountain range, which brings us to Rainbow Mountain and beyond. 4 of those days will be spent getting to Rainbow Mountain while the last 2 days will include day tours and a stop at Machu Picchu. Scott and I would be photographing the entire trip. I don’t think either one of us was expecting to fall so in love with a place! What trek details do I have? How does one go about planning a similar trip? This blog is going to go over all of it! I know Peru is as much of a dream destination for most adventurers as it was for me. I’m going to make sure I go over every detail of my experience with Killa Expeditions and what to expect when getting ready to do a Rainbow Mountain trek. I’d also like to point out that Killa Expeditions and Mountain Chicks are officially partners! We will be planning treks and other Peruvian adventures together for community members and their friends for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned for those!
I didn’t know this before we met with our Airbnb hosts, but some nights, the city of Cusco turns off the water around 8pm to locals until the next morning. Keep the water in mind when choosing your accommodations and planning your nights out on the town. Water never turns off for hotels! I will say that I was happy our Airbnb was about $60 for this trip- what a steal! It was also nice that our hosts offered to store our luggage we would not be taking on our Rainbow Mountain trek. I highly recommend that you check with your accommodations beforehand to make sure they can store your luggage! You will not be able to bring all of your non-hiking belongings with you on your Rainbow Mountain trek. If you do not have many other options, you can also ask Killa Expeditions ahead of time to do this for you!
Where to Arrive
You can expect that you will have to book 2 flights to get to Cusco in order to be in the right place for your Rainbow Mountain trek! Scott and I flew into Lima and then from Lima to Cusco. Our plane tickets from LAX costed about $700 each (this is the total for our LAX to Lima and Lima to Cusco flights). Should you chose to take your Rainbow Mountain trek in the summer, you can also expect tickets to be more expensive than they might be in other months. I personally think it is worth it to pay the extra money for better weather, but that is your call!
We found a restaurant called Green Point for breakfast, which ended up being our go-to for the duration of our time at Cusco. You better believe we went back to Green Point after trekking in Peru. The rest of the day was spent catching up on sleep.
Explore Plaza De Armas
Our second day at Cusco was somewhat of a repetition of the previous day. This is when I felt like we were really starting to acclimate to the altitude before starting our 6 day Rainbow Mountain trek. We had breakfast at Green Point, grabbed a coffee, and headed to the main square. I decided to take a bunch of pictures, and to my luck, there was a festival of the schools taking place! The Cusco colleges paraded through the square and had groups of students put together dances for bystanders to watch. Their costumes were just as vibrant as their dances. I couldn’t get over how fun and colorful everything was. There are museums and other historical sites you can explore once you get here! If you arrive in Cusco on the 24th of June, you can expect to see the Inti Rami festival taking place. I imagine it is much bigger and even more colorful than the one we caught! This was a great way to build some excitement before we began our Rainbow Mountain trek.
Tipon, Pikillaqta, Andahuaylillas Day Tour
A Tipon trip is a good option for a day tour before beginning our Rainbow Mountain trek and Machu Picchu hike. Throughout the day, you’ll have the opportunity to see beautiful Inca terraces and historical sites.
During the adventure, we were able to tour this church and visit huge terraces! This was when I realized just how rich the Peruvian culture was.
Who knew there was so much to see south of Cusco?
Trekking to Rainbow Mountain Peru
The next four days, you will complete your Rainbow Mountain trek through the Ausangate Mountains. The day before, we had a trek brief with our guides. This is also they day they gave us dry bags so we could go back to our hotel, pack our day bags for the trek, then pack the dry bags for the horses to carry.
To this day, I haven’t seen glacier lakes, and mountain ranges more beautiful than these! The trek left me in awe each day. The Killa Expeditions team spared no expense to make sure we were taken care of throughout the trek. Scott and I are vegans and were somewhat worried about what we would eat during days of non-stop hiking. Their cooks were able to accommodate us with no problems! Some days I ate better than I do at home.
Can we also talk about all the Alpaca on the trail?
I’d also like to point out that you’ll be in a different hemisphere, so make sure you look up at the sky! The stars will be brighter and a little bit different than what you’ll see at home.
We also conquered a 16er and a 17er, which left my legs questioning every decision I’ve ever made. Expect that day 3 of the Rainbow Mountain trek will be the challenge day.
This sunrise portion of our Rainbow Mountain trek was pretty unreal! I couldn’t feel my toes after hiking through snow for an hour, but looking back it was quite the experience. That being said, I would expect it to be cold on your trek. Wear warm layers and prepare for the possibility of their being ice on the trail or maybe some snow!
Aguas Calientes is the town closest to Machu Picchu. It’s is relatively touristy and crowded, so be warned. You'll see plenty more tourists who have probably been trekking in Peru too! I will note, though, that most of them probably didn't just finish the Rainbow Mountain trek, so you have something to brag about.
Then you will need to wait at least another hour for the sun to come up. While I didn’t try it, I have heard of some folks having better luck roaming the ruins at sunset! It might be something to look into for when you decide to visit.
One Last Day in Cusco
Day 10 was a rest day for Scott and me. We went to the Cusco Starbucks (very touristy of us), edited photos, packed our bags, and got ready to leave for home. If you’re up for it, you can also use this day to go on another day trip. If you want plenty of tours to choose from, go trekking in Peru with a company like Killa Expeditions! You can see their selection of treks here.
Peru was nothing short of amazing! I’m already planning my return. I couldn’t be more excited to be partners with Killa and bring some more folks to this beautiful country! What part of this trip would have you feeling the most excited? Let me know in the comments below!
To learn more about Killa Expeditions and their tours, visit their website here. Happy exploring!
This blog was written by Mountain Chicks Founder Dani The Explorer
Author - Dani The Explorer