Rainbow Mountain & Ausangate to Machu Picchu Trek - 8 Days

Trek the world class Ausangate trail to the Rainbow Mountain ending at Machu Picchu

Rainbow Mountain & Ausangate to Machu Picchu Trek - 8 Days

Trek the world class Ausangate trail to the Rainbow Mountain ending at Machu Picchu

Struggling to choose between Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain? The Ausangate trek provides the perfect solution with an 8-day adventure that combines these iconic destinations, along with an exploration of the culturally rich Sacred Valley. The Rainbow Mountain Trek & Machu Picchu Package offers the best of both worlds.

Journey through the high Andes as you uncover the hidden beauty of the Vilcanota Mountain range, where the towering Ausangate rises to approximately 6,300 meters (about 21,000 feet). This trek spans about 52 kilometers (approximately 32.3 miles) and encompasses elevations ranging from around 3,300 meters (approximately 10,827 feet) to 5,050 meters (approximately 16,568 feet). It promises a unique off-the-beaten-path wilderness experience, delivering breathtaking Andean vistas.

The Rainbow Mountains, also known as the Vinicunca Mountains, display their vibrant, striped hues, crafted by layered sandstone formations infused with iron and minerals. Along your journey, you'll encounter pristine turquoise lakes, majestic glacial mountains, and the charming presence of llamas, alpacas, chinchillas, and perhaps even the elusive wild vicuña.

Your trek concludes with a guided visit to the iconic Machu Picchu, one of the world's 7 wonders!

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Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cusco

Upon your arrival at the Cusco airport, a friendly representative from FlashpackerConnect will be waiting to welcome you and provide a convenient transfer to your hotel.

Overnight: You will stay at the Casa Andina Standard Catedral or a similar accommodation in Cusco.

Day 2: Full-Day Exploration of the Sacred Valley

Prepare for an immersive journey through the Sacred Valley with visits to four key sites: Pisac, Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo, and Chincherro. Your guide will collect you from your hotel lobby between 7:00 am and 7:30 am, kicking off a picturesque drive winding through the mountains north of Cusco. Along the way, we'll pause at the renowned El Mirador, a captivating lookout point providing a glimpse into Inca history. We then proceed to Pisac, where you'll receive a guided tour of the ruins and have approximately 30 minutes to wander and explore at your leisure. Our next stop is the lively Pisac market, where you can indulge in some bargain hunting.

After the morning's explorations, we'll break for lunch at a local buffet (lunch costs not included), offering a diverse array of Peruvian dishes for your enjoyment. Following lunch, we'll follow the Urubamba River to the town of Ollantaytambo. Once we arrive, we'll explore the ruins, a significant Incan construction from the height of the Inca civilization. Notably, these ruins feature rock formations representing the Inca deity, Wiracocha. To cap off the day, we'll guide you through the ruins of Chincherro before returning you to your Cusco hotel. (Moray/Maras can be substituted upon request) (B)

Overnight: In Cusco Casa Andina Standard Catedral or similar

Day 3: Start your Rainbow Mountain Hiking Adventure - From Cusco to Upis

Your adventure kicks off with a 6 am pickup from your Cusco hotel. You'll be whisked away in a private van to the starting point of our trek at the base of the majestic Ausangate Mountain. The journey begins in Upis pampa, and you'll traverse remote villages with numerous stream crossings until reaching the quaint town of Upis. Here, we have exclusive private cabins for your overnight stay. A sumptuous lunch prepared by our skilled cook awaits, and after dining, you can choose to embark on a 2-hour hike to Upis Lake. As night falls, you'll be treated to a starry sky, a memory to cherish.

Hiking Distance: 7 km (4.5 miles)

Hiking Time: 3 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead Elevation: 4,220 meters (13,840 feet)

Accommodation: FlashpackerConnect Private Cabins

Day 4: Rainbow & Ausangate Trek - Upis to Pucaccocha

Today begins with a 5 am wake-up call, complete with coca tea or coffee delivered to your tent, followed by a delicious breakfast. In the morning, the journey leads to Arapa Pass (4,968 meters), where you'll encounter local farmers and alpacas, with the magnificent Ausangate snow-capped mountain gracing the landscape. Your English-speaking guide will provide insights into the flora, fauna, and the terrain. If luck is on your side, you may even spot condors, chinchillas, and vicuñas. The path also features colorful lakes before arriving at our Pucaccocha campsite, surrounded by towering mountains and hanging glaciers. Tents within rustic thatched shelters provide extra protection, allowing you to rest and enjoy a well-deserved nap. Following lunch, you can explore Pucaccocha Lake and its vibrant birdlife before savoring dinner in our rock and mud-built dining room.

Hiking Distance: 10 km (6 miles)

Hiking Time: Approximately 5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Campsite Elevation: 4,500 meters (14,760 feet)

Accommodation: FlashpackerConnect Private Campsite

Day 5: Rainbow & Ausangate Trek: Pucaccocha - Ananta - Kayrawiri

Prepare for a challenging day as you ascend Pucaccocha Pass (5,051 meters), surrounded by vibrant, breathtaking mountain scenery. You'll enjoy stunning views of Mount Ausangate and the colorful glacier lakes before entering the untouched Red Mountain valley, a landscape bursting with vivid colors and friendly llamas grazing nearby. Along the way, we'll stop for lunch at our exclusive mountain hut. After the meal, the second pass, Warmi Saya Pass (4,500 meters), beckons. From this vantage point, you'll catch a glimpse of the distant Rainbow Mountain, your next destination. Descending, you'll circumnavigate a beautiful lake, and then continue along relatively flat terrain until you reach our campsite. If weather conditions are favorable, a visit to the Rainbow Mountain for a sunset experience is on the agenda.

Hiking Distance: 10 km (6 miles)

Hiking Time: Approximately 7 hours

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Campsite Elevation: 4,900 meters (16,076 feet)

Accommodation: FlashpackerConnect Private Campsite

Day 6: Rainbow & Ausangate - Kayrawiri – Rainbow Mountain- Red Valley – Cusco

The day you've eagerly anticipated has arrived. You'll be roused at 6 am with coca tea delivered to your tent, and after a brief 45-minute hike, you'll arrive at Rainbow Mountain. There, you'll have ample time to explore the area and capture the mesmerizing landscape in photographs. Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on your hiking speed and weather conditions) will be spent here. Following this, we'll venture to the Red Valley, a half-hour journey away. Afterwards, we'll descend the mountain and board our private van for the return trip to towards Cusco, we will continue on to the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo (approx 4.5 hour journey) stopping for some food before boarding our train to the town of Aguas Calients which sits at the base of the magnificent Machu Picchu. From here you will enjoy a dinner on your own, and settle into your hotel for the night, also enjoying a much deserved warm shower.

Hiking Distance: 1 km (0.6 miles)

Hiking Time: Approximately 45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Trailhead Elevation: 4,900 meters (16,076 feet)

Driving time: 4.5 hours (From Rainbow Mountain to Ollantaytambo)

Accommodation: Tara Mapi 3* Hotel or similar

Day 7: Guided Exploration of Machu Picchu

Today marks the pinnacle of your journey, a day filled with enchantment. Depending on your designated entrance time to Machu Picchu, your guide will assist in determining the ideal wake-up time for your tour. If you're granted an early entrance, the day begins around 4 am, allowing you to catch the first bus to Machu Picchu and witness the sunrise casting its warm glow over the ancient ruins. For those with a later entrance, a bit more rest can be savored before taking the bus to the site (entrance times are assigned based on your booking date). Your guide will spend approximately 2 hours unveiling the marvels of Machu Picchu, sharing insights into its exquisite features. After the guided tour, you'll have the opportunity to explore the ruins independently. If you've arranged to ascend Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (prior booking required, with an extra fee), you'll have time for your chosen hike and enjoy leisurely exploration. In the afternoon, you'll return to Aguas Calientes town via bus. Later, you'll board the train bound for Ollantaytambo, where a private van awaits to transport you back to Cusco. Anticipate your arrival in Cusco between 6-8 pm.

Accommodation: Casa Andina Standard Catedral or similar

Day 8: Farewell to Cusco

Cusco → Lima (mid-morning/afternoon flight)

As the journey draws to a close, we'll transfer you to the Cusco airport, where you'll say your goodbyes to the FlashpackerConnect team.

Additional Trip Info

  • Airport transfers in Cusco
  • All accommodation - (3 star hotel, upgrades available on request)
  • Entrance fees & permits
  • Train Tickets
  • Transfers to/ from your hotel to the tours
  • Camping gear
  • Fluent English / Spanish speaking local guides
  • Some meals
  • First aid kit/ oxygen
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue
  • Gratuity
  • Extras
  • Services not indicated
  • International flights
  • If traveling solo there is a single supplement fee

A complete packing list will be sent upon booking


Weather in the Andes can be unpredictable ranging from hot and sunny to rain, wind and cold. Hikers should be prepared with proper gear and be ready for variable weather conditions throughout the day. Small changes in the itinerary are a possibility as well as trip cancellations due to bad weather. We reserve the right to cancel a trip prior to departing Cusco if we feel conditions are unsafe. If this happens you will be refunded your deposit in full, or have the opportunity to reschedule, however trips still depart when there is rain, snow or fog and refunds are not granted due to poor weather conditions. Temperatures can range from 0 degrees Celsius in the morning to 15 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. The sun can get intense in the afternoon and we highly recommend bringing sun protection.


Our treks take place anywhere from 10,000 feet up to 17,000 feet. It is essential to spend 2-3 days minimum in the Cusco region or similar elevation prior to taking any trek with us. We recommend staying well hydrated while you are in elevation and to get plenty of rest prior to your trek. FlashpackerConnect is not responsible if you get altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor is you are concerned with the altitude.


Our guides and staff are paid on a per trip basis based on the number of days they spend on the trail. While tipping is not required, it is a common practice in Latin America. If you feel your guide, and crew went above and beyond to make your trip special gratuity is greatly appreciated. A common tip is 10-15% of your total trip cost


We recommend booking 3-4 months prior to ensure availability. If your dates are flexible we can take reservations on short notice, however our treks tend to book out as we keep our group sizes very small. In order to book we send out an invoice for deposit via PayPal, and your final payment is due at least 30 days prior to your trip departure date.


Our treks depart everyday upon request with a minimum of 2 guests (Solo travelers can be matched up with existing groups)


We take pride in preparing a wonderful variety of food throughout your trek. You will always be served local Peruvian style dishes in a family style manner and you will never go hungry. We can cater to any dietary needs, but ask that you notify us of your request at the time of booking. If we are not informed during your booking we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate.

First Aid

Trekking in the Andes and in high altitude can be dangerous and because of this our staff always carries a proper first aid kit along with emergency oxygen for our guests to use if they are feeling ill.


All accommodation on multi-day treks is tent camping. We bring quality 4 person tents but sleep a maximum of 2 persons to each tent. For tours that require hotels, accommodation is based on double or triple occupancy. Solo travelers will be matched with another guest of the same gender unless a single supplement is paid.

Group Sizes

Our treks depart everyday with a minimum of 2 guests and a maximum of 8 guests. We can also accommodate private trips and large group trips. Group pricing is available if your group is 4 or more people.


Travel protection is essential for your peace of mind and safety throughout the trip. Unexpected medical emergencies or illnesses prior to or during your trip could make you lose pre-paid, non-refundable payments. Emergency medical transport and air ambulances in remote locations can be extremely expensive and will probably not be covered by your medical health plan so it is compulsory that you purchase personal adequate travel insurance which is appropriate for your trip. This insurance must cover personal accident, medical expenses, air ambulance, loss of effects, repatriation costs and all other expenses which may arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience during your trip. We also suggest you purchase cancellation and curtailment insurance. When obtaining travel insurance, you must inform the insurer of the type of travel to be undertaken, especially when "adventure activities" are included in your trip. There are several insurance companies offering travel protection plans available for purchase online.

Visiting Machu Picchu

We suggest booking activities such as Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley prior to trekking the Rainbow Mountain. This will allow for proper acclamation, and prevent altitude sickness. Check out our tour packages linking the Rainbow Mountain hike with Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. If you are wanting a longer trek check out our Ausangate trek+ Rainbow mountain we offer 2,4 and 6 days options.

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