Rainbow Mountain Weather: 2023 updated information to help you plan your trip to Rainbow Mountain!
Depending on the time of year that you travel, the weather could ruin what you had planned. It can be easy to overlook, but knowing how to prepare for Rainbow Mountain weather is an essential part of planning. When properly prepared, no matter the season, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the beauty of Rainbow Mountain.
Rainbow Mountain is located just outside Cusco, Peru. Often locals refer to the mountain as Vinicunca, but the name Rainbow Mountain is more popular among tourists. The colorful mountain has a peak altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level (17060 ft.). There is currently no standard or public method of transportation to Rainbow Mountain due to restrictions presented by the landscape. Getting to the colored mountain also entails a good deal of walking, so knowing what the weather conditions are is crucial.
Vinicunca sits about a two-hour drive (and then a 5 kilometer hike) outside of Cusco. Due to its elevation and location in the region, the weather changes a lot. Typically in Cusco and the surrounding region, there are two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season (little to no rain).
For some visitors who want to enjoy the vividly colored mountain in all its glory, they consider the dry season the best season to go to Rainbow Mountain. Others who are up for a more challenging climb may consider the rainy season as the best season. Knowing what your preferences are and experience level will help you to determine which season you’ll enjoy the most. We’ll take a look at how to plan for the weather of each season properly.
The dry season in the area surrounding Rainbow Mountain typically starts around the months of April or May. It will usually last up until around October or November. Generally speaking, the days are mostly sunny in the months of May through November. During this time the area around Rainbow Mountain will usually experience fewer rainy or wet days.
As for the rainy season around the Cusco region of Peru, this lasts from about November to the month of March, April the latest. During the months of December, January, and February the amount of rainfall can be quite significant. Snowstorms and even hail have been reported during this time. Oddly enough during the rainy season temperatures are usually slightly warmer than in the dry season.
No matter what season it is or what month you visit Rainbow Mountain, the weather can be very unpredictable. Just because it may be the dry season when you visit, don’t expect to temperature to be extremely hot.
During the dry season, the weather can actually be rather cold and windy. This is particularly true for the months of June to August. The weather has been known to get rather extreme during this time bringing with it strong cold winds and even snow on occasion. With a height of around 16,400 feet (5.000 meters) above sea level, the higher you climb the colder it will get.
It can be hard to know what you need to bring when traveling and the weather is unpredictable. During the early summer months, there is less rain however you also have less daylight and cold winds. As far as clothing goes, think layers.
You will want to bring clothing that can be easily layered or worn over each other. When you depart early in the morning for your trek to Rainbow Mountain, it’s going to be very cold and you will want to have gloves, a hat, a jacket or more ideally, multiple layers on.
As the day goes and you start to warm up and you’re hiking the trail, you’ll start to remove some of those layers. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in shorts for awhile. Those strong winds get a lot cooler as you make your way to the summit where you will probably have more layers back on by then.
Preparing yourself for a trip to Rainbow Mountain during the rainy season can also be tricky. Unlike the beautiful picture you see of colorful mountains, the area very well maybe covered in snow. It may not be as colorful but it doesn’t take anything away from the beauty of the mountains and the area.
Although you can expect heavier rainstorms, the temperature is a bit warmer and the rains don’t tend to continue for long periods of time. However, at this height, you may not feel any warmer as the temperature rises as you descend down towards the jungle below. During this season you can expect heavier winds and even hail on occasion.
Preparing to visit Rainbow Mountain in the rainy season is much like preparing to visit in the dry season. You need to pack clothing that can be easily layered. In addition, you also will need a few more things like a waterproof jacket or poncho. You’ll want to have a pair of hiking boot instead of sneakers for better traction.
Also, it’s a good idea to bring a small backpack to carry some of those clothing layers. You’ll to bring a water bottle and some snack for the journey to keep your energy levels up. The trek can be strenuous enough without having to deal with bad weather.
Due to the fact that the weather can vary from day to day on Rainbow Mountain, it’s advisable to go with a travel agency instead of winging it on your own. With an agency, they are more familiar with the area and more knowledgeable about the weather patterns. Make sure to check out Rainbow Mountain Travels to know what to expect from a top-rated tour operator.
Another suggestion is to bring extra money. There are toilets however there is a fee to use them. There also is an option to rent a horse to that you can ride instead of hiking to get to Rainbow Mountain. The cost to rent a horse is somewhere around 70 soles, or $21 U.S. dollars. For some people, this may be a great option because the animals are familiar with the terrain in all seasons.
Lastly, don’t forget the basics when traveling somewhere where you’ll be spending time outdoors. Make sure to bring a hiking pole which can add stability and help to keep yourself balanced. You will want to make sure to bring sunscreen because at this height the UV rays are much stronger. Also, make sure to spend at least a day or two acclimating to the altitude before being part of one of the best treks in Peru.