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Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain together? Feels like striking gold. Not only are they the two most famous sites in Peru, they’re etched in our collective psyche. And guess what: we’re checking off both in just four days! Starting in Cusco, we’ll first hike a short two-day Inca Trail, with its Andean peaks, subtropical cloud forest and numerous ruins, culminating, of course, with the Lost City of the Incan Empire. The next two days will be reserved for camping in the Andes and reaching Vinicunca—the unreal Rainbow Mountain standing 11,155 feet above sea level. Enjoy Peru’s finest in four epic days.

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  • 2 in 1

    Witness the unparalleled beauty of the two most famous Peruvian attractions in one 4-day tour!

  • Surreal scenery

    Andean peaks, cloud forest, Rainbow Mountain, Red Valley, numerous Incan ruins—it’s all part of the adventure

  • Camping in the Andes

    Experience the thrill of camping in the Andes during your Rainbow Mountain hike

Itinerary

Welcome to a 4-day journey combining the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain into one unforgettable experience. The first 2 days, walk a section of the Inca Trail and explore Machu Picchu. Afterward, camp at K’airahuiri Alto and reach Vinicunca—the Rainbow Mountain revealing layers of vibrant rock sediment. Immerse yourself in Andean beauty, history, and culture, starting and concluding the journey in Cusco. This unique Peruvian expedition includes all transit, an experienced guide, and most meals for a seamless and enriching experience.

  • Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 5:30 am, marking the beginning of your journey to Machu Picchu. Afterward, a picturesque 2.5-hour train ride from Ollantaytambo station leads your group to the trail’s starting point. Traverse the Rio Urubamba river, explore the Chachabamba ruins, and commence a 5-mile (8 km) ascent to the mesmerizing Wiñay Wayna Inca site. Wiñay Wayna, boasting agricultural terraces and religious sectors, serves as a captivating lunch spot. The journey continues to ‘Inti Punku’ for your first enchanting view of Machu Picchu—which you will explore tomorrow. Following a scenic descent, you’ll reach the town of Aguas Calientes for an overnight stay and a well-deserved dinner.

    Meals: Lunch and dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
    Distance: 8 miles (13 km)
    Altitude gain: 1,970 feet (600 m)
    Walking time: 6-7 hours

    Inca Trail hikers about to cross the Urubamba river.
  • The day begins with an early bus ride to Machu Picchu, setting the stage for a 2.5-hour guided tour and personal exploration of this mystical Incan citadel. For panoramic views, consider an optional climb up Huayna Picchu. After ample exploration, return to Aguas Calientes, indulge in a satisfying lunch, and catch a train back to Cusco, with departure times ranging from 2:30 pm to 6 pm. Arrive back in Cusco, reminiscing about the wonders of Machu Picchu and the rich history embedded in its ancient stones. The memories of this iconic Incan marvel will linger, leaving an indelible mark on your Peruvian adventure.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Cusco (not included)

    Llamas in Machu Picchu, Peru.
  • Commence your day with a 7:30 am departure from Cusco, directing your journey toward the Pitumarca Valley (Red Valley). You’ll initially be passing through the fertile Vilcanota Valley, providing a glimpse of the region’s lush landscapes. A turn onto an unpaved road leads to the charming village of Checacupe, offering a brief stop for refreshments. The adventure continues as you ascend the Pitumarca Valley, passing through picturesque valleys and canyons. Llamas and alpacas add to the scenic charm. Arrive at the village of Hanchi Pacha after a 4-hour hike, where a hearty lunch awaits. Post-lunch, embark on a 2-2.5-hour hike, steadily climbing to the village of K’airahuiri Bajo (14,925 ft / 4,550 m). Capture breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding mountains. The trek concludes at K’airahuiri Alto (15,420 ft / 4,700 m), where your group will set up a camp.

    Meals: Lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Tents at the K’airahuiri Alto campsite
    Walking time: 6-7 hours
    Altitude gain: 1,700 ft (520 m)

    The Pitumarca Valley, dubbed Red Valley, near the Rainbow Mountain, in Peru.
  • An early start propels you on a 1.5-hour hike towards Vinicunca Pass. As altitude increases, breathe in the crisp mountain air and enjoy the anticipation. Upon reaching the pass, revel in the astounding Vinicunca, showcasing vibrant layers of rock sediment in turquoise, orange, brown, and red hues. Weather permitting, catch awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped Apu Ausangate. Capture memorable photos during sunrise before retracing your steps to the trailhead. The return downhill, approximately 2-2.5 hours, promises additional scenic beauty. Return to the village of Hanchi Pacha for an early lunch, bid farewell to the local crew, and journey back to Cusco in private transport, arriving around 4:00 pm.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Cusco (not included)
    Walking time: 4-5 hours
    Altitude gain: 985 ft (300 m)

    Hiker enjoying the view of Vinicunca, Rainbow Mountain, in Peru.
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Meet your guide

CrossoverPeru
5.00
CrossoverPeru
CrossoverPeru offers small group adventure tours all around Peru and South America. They are the perfect choice for anyone looking for a unique adventure in Peru. Experience historical Incan trails, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, and many more without needing to hire a car or do any of the planning!
5.00 (6 reviews)
carmen larson

Yaritza was amazing. We had so much fun with her. She is knowledgeable & we loved listening to her talk about the history here. She went over and above. Unforgettable experience!

Joaris S (November 2023, source: TripAdvisor )

Cusco,Perú was amazing!!!!!!! And I would say Crossover Peru and their incredible and knowledgeable guide Juan Carlos made that experience so much beautiful and fulfilling. They were sooo organized, professional, kind and transmitted that sense of responsibility, respect and security we all look for when we select and trust a tour guide agency in a foreign place we (at least this was my first time visiting Perú) have never been before. He was very welcoming and my family just learned so much about Perú, he explained everything we were going to do and the information of each attraction as many times as we asked with such serenity a peace. Oh and the best part, he is a great photographer, have amazing pictures thanks to him. Thank you for everything guys! Blessings!

Incredible Experience & Guide
Ben B (source: TripAdvisor )

I loved every bit of my experience with Crossover Peru. I was lucky enough to be led by Juan Carlos on both the Rainbow Mountain and One day Inca Trail hikes. He was so knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend the team to anybody who visits Cusco in the future. So grateful!

Rainbow mountain and the short Inca Trail.
Quinten G (source: TripAdvisor )

Our fearless leader Juan Carlos, led us to victory in two separate occasions. The first being our momentous achievement on the Inca Trail. Juan Carlos gave the troops an ample time to rest inbetween difficult sections as well as push us to complete the hike in time. Our second victory was on the treacherous Rainbow Mountain hike. At a high altitude and steep inclines defeat was certain. Juan Carlos reassured us saying that we will overcome it and all of its colorful challenges. One of our men hurt their knee and couldn’t carry on. However Juan Carlos is a firm believer of no man left behind. He threw the wounded solider over his shoulder and carried him up the mountain. The things we witnessed that day were glorious. All thank to the fearless leader of the Peruvian 300. Juan Carlos. This is an experience you don’t want to miss.

Inca trail fun!
Hannah S (source: TripAdvisor )

BEST trip of my life! Keivin, Esmal and Gregorio the chef made the Inca trail incredibly special and unforgettable. I can’t wait to share my experience with my friends, and hopefully get them to take on the trail!

Amazing guide, and experience of Peru togheter in stunning nature!
Simen U (source: TripAdvisor)

10/10, amazing experience! We were two couples togheter with Kevin (tour guide), and could not complain about anything from beginning to the end. Kevin made our trip perfect, and I wish everyone considering this attraction a try!!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • Experienced, local hiking guide(s) with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 2 days of hiking along the Inca trail and a visit to Machu Picchu
      • 2 days of hiking to Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain)
      • 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners (vegetarian and vegan options available)
      • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes on Day 1 and accommodation in camping tents on Day 3 (based on double occupancy)
      • 3-person tents (each for every 2 people), basic foam mattress, and camping equipment on Day 3
      • Horses during the Rainbow Mountain hike (for equipment, food, and personal items)
      • Permits and entrance tickets (excluding the ticket for Huayna Picchu, which is optional)
      • Hotel pick-up in Cusco on Day 1
      • Train transportation from Cusco City to the Short Inca Trail trailhead and from Aguas
      • Calientes back to Cusco
      • ​​All bus transportation between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
      • Private transportation from Hanchi Pacha to Cusco
      • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Cusco
      • Accommodation in Cusco before and after the adventure
      • Accommodation in Cusco on Day 2
      • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
      • Sleeping bag (possible to rent for $20)
      • Inflatable mattress (possible to rent for $15)
      • Walking poles (possible to rent for $5)
      • Ticket for Huayna Picchu ($85 per person) — optional (and based on availability)
      • Porter fees if you want your pack to be carried during the Inca Trail ($80 per person)
      • Tips for the crew — customary
      • Travel insurance
  • To participate in this guided Inca Trail and Rainbow Mountain hiking tour, you should be a physically active person and have a very good level of fitness. You should be a person that regularly hikes, especially in hilly terrain. You will hike for four days in a row, tackling challenging terrain and covering up to 8 miles (13 km), with altitude gains of up to 2,000 feet (600 m).

    That said, the main obstacle during your hikes will be high altitude. Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) boasts an altitude of 16,400 feet (5,000 m), which is a challenge for all hikers, regardless of their experience. It is necessary to acclimate a couple of days before the tour in Cusco. You may also consider taking medicine for altitude sickness, but make sure to check with your physician. Drinking coca leaves tea is also a popular local remedy for altitude sickness.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Day Pack (25-40L)
      • Sleeping bag (can be rented)
      • Inflatable mattress (can be rented)
      • Waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support
      • Raincoat
      • Thick jumper
      • Hiking down jacket
      • Hiking T-shirts
      • Hiking pants
      • Middle layer (fleeces would work)
      • Thermal underwear
      • Warm hat, gloves, and a scarf
      • Casual clothes for when you’re not hiking
      • Sunscreen and SPF lip balm
      • Other toiletries (hand sanitizer, hand cream, wet wipes etc.)
      • Cap and warm hat
      • Sunglasses
      • Wool stockings or Sport Socks
      • Water bottle (2L capacity)
      • Flashlight/headlamp
      • Camera
      • Personal medications

    Bring comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing that can be worn in layers. You’ll be able to discuss your packing list prior to the adventure—changes can be made depending on the season and expected weather conditions.

  • It is advisable and important that you arrive at Cusco at least 2 days prior to the trek, in order to acclimatize to the altitude. The city of Cusco is located at 11,155 feet (3,400 m) above sea level so you may feel slightly ill or dizzy due to altitude sickness, known as “soroche.”

    A few tips on do’s and don’ts for adapting to the altitude:

      • Do not eat heavy food the day before traveling to Cusco.
      • Make sure you drink between 6-8 glasses of water the days before your trip and during your stay in Cusco.
      • Once you arrive at your hotel, lie down a few minutes before going out to explore the city.
      • Once you are ready to go out and explore the city, try not to become agitated climbing stairs or walking fast. The best thing is to enjoy every corner of Cusco with calm and respect.
  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this group adventure, the maximum group size is 16 and the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 9:1.
      • It takes a minimum of 2 people for a tour to operate.
      • Cost is per person and doesn’t change as the group grows.

    Short Inca Trail and Rainbow Mountain trek can be arranged for private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Cusco, which is the beginning point of your trip, most people fly into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport. From there, take a taxi or a shuttle to your accommodation.

    Your guide will pick you up at your hotel at 5.30 on Day 1. Please note that it is necessary to stay in Cusco a couple of days before the tour starts to acclimate yourself.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • For set dates, a 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If you cancel your trip 60 days or more before the start of your trip, you are entitled to an 80% refund
      • If you cancel your trip 30 days or more before the start of your trip, you are entitled to a 50% refund
      • If the cancellation has been made 15 days before the start of your trip, you are not entitled to any refund.
      • CrossoverPeru will need to be notified of any change or cancellation of your trip as soon as possible.
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