The Rainbow Mountain Peru with Kids

The Rainbow Mountain Peru must be one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations!  Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain, was virtually unknown in 2015.  Sure, it existed on a unique lodge to lodge trek (see  Lodge to Lodge trekking in Peru) but the vast majority of the world was unlikely to visit it.

 

 

That all changed with ONE Instagram photo from a guy named Eric Hanson!  After his Instagram photos and associated blog appeared, everyone wanted to visit!  Within 12 months most agencies in Cusco were offering this trip.  Within 24 months it was the second most popular place to visit in Cusco after Machu Picchu.

 

The Rainbow Mountain Peru with Kids
The Rainbow Mountain Peru. Photo courtesy Drink Tea Travel.
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“Interestingly, Vinicunca is a social media phenomena – it is about getting the picture,” says Ariana Svenson, Co-Founder Apus Peru.  “You trek up to 5200m with thousands of other people on a muddy trail. Then you admire the views and hike down.  It is not really about the experience.  It is about the images you capture and, I suppose, publish on Social media.”

 


So – Do You Want To Visit Vinicunca, The Rainbow Mountain Peru, With Kids?

 

These are our thoughts:

In terms of being an experiential experience it’s not something we would recommend for younger children.

On the one day trip you travel for about 9 -10 hours in a car (upwards of 5 hours each way).   The cheaper your service the more hours you spend doing pickups around Cusco city and adding to the amount of time in the car.  If you go directly in a private group you might reduce your total travel time to 9 hours.

You spend hours hiking to 5200m which is freezing cold, and can be obscured.   You take a photo and then hike back down.

 

The Rainbow Mountain Peru with Kids
The area is very high, and very cold. Photo courtesy Drink Tea Travel.

 

If you opt to do a two day hike like, Apus Peru offers (check here for more details and rates ) you camp at  K’airahuiri Alto (4700m/15420ft).  As this is a high campsite, they will require three days of acclimatization in Cusco (or at altitude) before doing this hike.

This is high altitude camping and will be cold!  Also, likely you would suffer some mild effects of altitude sickness even if you are well acclimatized.  In short, this is is not something that we would recommend for kids.

If you want general travel information about Peru check out Lonely Planet travel books.  We have traveled with them for years and always find them a valuable resource for any location.

 

 

Visiting The Rainbow Mountain Peru In 2018

 

Peru Rainbow Mountain-0703
Can you see all the people standing along the ridge? Photo courtesy Drink Tea Travel.

 

We plan to be in Peru in 2018 with children aged 8 and 4.  As our plans currently stand, we won’t be taking them up to the Rainbow Mountain Peru; it is too extreme and hard of a trip.   We might take them if we opt to stay at one of the closer Andean Lodges (see our Andean Lodge review) or stay in accommodation in the Valley near Pitumarka (Thus saving 4 hours of travel that day).

It is just not something that we think is particularly kid friendly, but we would love to hear your views if you have taken your kids!

 



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The Rainbow Mountain Peru with Kids

 

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6 comments

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  • Funny how Insta does this to a place. I can see why people love it – it is striking, but I hate seeing a place get ruined by too many travellers. Appreciate your honest opinion Ariana

  • It is beautiful, but you bring up excellent points. I certainly don’t think my 3-year-old would tolerate that kind of car trek or cold. Thank you for the honest advice!

  • I don’t think I would be attempting that hike with young children either! I read an interesting story not that long ago about how many people are disappointed when they get to Rainbow Mountain because the photos that they have seen on Instagram have been so heavily edited that the colour variations look much more extreme than they actually are in real life. It’s fascinating how social media is impacting the travel experience!

  • Wow, I had no idea. Thank you for being so upfront about this not being the best destination to take younger kids. I don’t often read people giving that kind of advice or feedback when sometimes, it’s needed. Not every place is a good place to bring children, especially young ones.

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