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Inkayni Peru Tours

Inkayni Peru Tours

EXPLORE TWO NATURAL TREASURES OF CUSCO: HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN?

Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain? Do you think one is better than the other?

You are in Cusco and don’t know which full-day tour to take: Humantay Lake vs Rainbow Mountain tour? Don’t worry! Today, we will determine which route of these two hikes is the most ideal one for you.

Both hikes are spectacular and one-of-a-kind. To help you choose between them, we need to analyze different characteristics and beauties while providing complete information to help you make an informed decision and enjoy your adventure to the fullest.

Join us to discover which hike is better! Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain?

WHAT IS THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN?

Rainbow Mountain, also named 7 Colors Mountain, Colored Mountain, Mountain of 7 Colors or Vinicunca, is a geological formation that lies roughly in the southern Cusco region, Peru.

It shows a wide range of colors on its slopes, from red, orange and yellow to green, blue, violet and even white sometimes. Each layer has unique characteristics such as ground, mineral and color.

Located among the Vilcanota Mountain Range, beside Ausangate Mountain, this attraction is immersed in the majesty of the Andean Mountain Range standing out for its connection with mountains, adding a component for those seeking to explore the natural wealth of the Cusco region.

Panoramic view of Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain – Second best tourist attraction in Cusco

WHAT IS HUMANTAY LAKE?

Humantay Lake was formed by glacial melting, located in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, just in front of Humantay snow-capped. So, this Andean lake is fed by pure glacial water from the Humantay Mt.

This lake stands out for its intense bright turquoise color. In addition to its natural beauty, Humantay Lake is integrated into a high-altitude mountain environment, making it a key tourist attraction in the Peruvian Andes.

Likewise, its proximity to Salkantay Mountain, which is the highest one in the Vilcabamab Mountain Range, and other mountain peaks add additional attraction to this exceptional landscape.

Andean lake in Cusco - Humantay lake or rainbow mountain

Humantay Lake hike

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS SURROUNDING THEM

Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain? Both outstanding natural and adventure tourist destinations in the region are sharing the distinctive feature of being surrounded by other natural attractions that will enrich your trek or tour, allowing you to immerse yourself even more in the peculiar geography of the Cuzco mountain range.

RAINBOW MOUNTAIN

RED VALLEY

This uncommon but impressive red valley, whose tone is due to oxidation caused by iron oxide in the rocks, is dotted with green and grey clay. These formations give the landscape an appearance, evoking an otherworldly setting.

Furthermore, the Red Valley is part of a mountain range with small streams flowing down through mountains and unknown valleys, which are adorned and protected by the impressive snow-capped Ausangate. Red Valley spread until Palcoyo mountain. 

This natural wonder is distinguished by its notable peace, since it is visited by very few tourists, making the tour extremely pleasant whereas the Rainbow Mountain. Along the Rainbow Mountain’s way, many tourists choose to return through this red valley, thus allowing themselves the opportunity to explore both places on an unforgettable hike in just one day.

Red Valley Peru

Red Valley: An additional tour to the Mountain of Colors

HUMANTAY LAKE

HUMANTAY SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAIN

This beautiful mountain is located in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range with 5,450 m / 17,880 ft of height, in the Peruvian Andes. So, this mountain provides glacial water to the lake.

The word “Humantay” has its Quechua origin, “Uma or Huma,” which translates as “head.” Thus, the name “Humantay” means “high head” or “superior,” as it is located near Salkantay Mountain.

SNOW-CAPPED SALKANTAY

It is the second-highest snow-capped mountain in the Cusco region, with a height of 6,264 m / 20,551 ft, and it is considered an Apu or sacred mountain in the Andean world.

When you admire it, you will experience a sensation that will leave you breathless. This snow-capped mountain is also a favorite for mountaineers and climbers from all over the world.

Its popularity is due to the famous trekking route, known as Salkantay trekking, where hikers explore unique places and enjoy panoramic views. During this hike, you will traverse the Salkantay Pass, located at an altitude of 4,600 m / 15,091 ft ASL, thus establishing an invaluable connection with nature.

If you want to discover two wonders in a single walk, the Humantay Lake and Machu Picchu, the perfect choice is the Salkantay trek, which has two versions: one of four days and another of five days. In both alternatives, you will be encounter and experience nature in total disconnection.

Salkantay mountain and Humantay Lake

Salkantay mountain and Humantay Lake

WHAT ARE THE ALTITUDES OF HUMANTAY LAKE AND THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN?

Altitude and habitat are the main differences between those tourist and natural destinations. Even though both lie in the Peruvian Andes, they seem totally different and raise this question: is Humantay Lake better than Rainbow Mountain?

Humantay Lake Rainbow Mountain
Trailhead altitude of the hike 3,900 m / 12,795 ft ASL. 4,626 m / 15,177 ft ASL.
Highest altitude of the hike 4,200 m / 13,779 ft ASL. 5,020 m / 16,469 ft ASL.
Highest altitude of surroundings highest  snow-capped mountains 6,271 m / 20,574 ft ASL. 6,384 M / 20,944 ft ASL.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS ON BOTH HIKES

If you’re thinking a lot about choosing the Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake, it’s essential to consider that both routes involve high-altitude hiking.

As altitude increases, the percentage of oxygen in the air remains constant, and atmospheric pressure decreases causing the air to become thinner, so many people feel breathless.

What is altitude sickness?

What is altitude sickness?

HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN? IS ACCLIMATIZATION MANDATORY?

When people face altitude hiking trails, they must acclimate well before embarking on or taking part in what they really want to do.

To tell the truth, there is no magic or scientific formula to acclimate because it is a matter of time, and each person has his own proper time to climate themselves.

Therefore, if you have just arrived in Peru and have traveled directly from Lima to Cusco, your body will not yet be comfortable with the altitude, which is why we recommend acclimatizing for at least 02 days in the city of Cusco.

To properly acclimate, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take the time necessary to acclimatize to the altitude for 01 or 02 days before embarking on visiting Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain.
  • Consult a doctor about any recommended medications that may help you adapt to high altitudes. Always consider allergic and forbidden medicines for you.
  • Incorporate coca tea into your routine, a natural remedy made from coca leaves and traditionally used by local inhabitants to counteract altitude sickness, hunger, and thirst over generations.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals, alcoholic drinks, and smoking.
  • Make sure you stay properly hydrated.

Yep, check out our blog if you need additional information regarding altitude sickness.

A HIGH ALTITUDE ADVENTURE IN CUSCO: WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT HUMANTAY LAKE?

Have you decided to embark on a hike to Humantay Lake? However, you may remain insecure about the best time to visit Humantay Lake.

Let us accompany you on this opportunity because Inkayni Peru Tours is here to guide or lead you. Through this blog, we will explore in detail completely everything you need to know and learn about the best time to visit Humantay Lake.

CONTINUE...

Suitable acclimatization for the hike to Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain

HOW CHALLENGING IS THE HIKE TO HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN?

Difficulty is the charm of both routes. After walking at considerably higher altitudes, your reward is to delight in exceptional landscapes and the exclusivity that only nature offers.

HUMANTAY LAKE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
Altitude 4,200 m / 13,779 ft ASL. 5,020 m / 16,469 ft ASL.
Hiking time About 3 hours About 4 hours
Starting time of the tour Around 4 a.m. Around 4 a.m.
Best hours for hiking Between 9 to 11 a.m. Between 9 to 11 a.m.
Services along the route Bathrooms, grocery stores and horses. Bathrooms, grocery store and horses.
Trek difficulty Moderate Moderate

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN BOTH HIKES

BEST SEASON

Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake, if we compare the best season to do both, which is better?

Furthermore, as both are located within the Cusco region, close to the Andean Mountain Range, they share roughly similar climates and the best time to visit.

We recommend doing both hikes during the dry season, which runs from April to November. During this period, you can enjoy sunny days, although the nights can be colder than in the wet season, but there is a slight chance of rain.

RENTING A HORSE

The hikes to Lake Humantay and Rainbow Mountain allow you to rent horses along the route. If you think you won’t be able to complete the route or simply want to enjoy landscapes without putting in too much effort, hiring a horse is better.

However, consider the following tips:

  • On both excursions, whether Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain, you will have options for renting horses at the beginning, middle, or the returning way; with an approximate cost of 25 USD.
  • It is important to remember that in the final stretch, the hike to Rainbow Mountain is steep, and people have to walk anyway because horses do not cover this section.
  • Likewise, the Humantay Lake hike’s final stretch is too steep compared to the Rainbow Mountain hike. That’s why you will have to walk no matter what.
  • Note: We don’t recommend hiring a horse returning from Humantay Lake.

 AVAILABILITY OF HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Both hikes are available year-round; you can visit them on any day. If you want to book a tour, you can do so even a day before the chosen date. But we recommend booking at least 02 days in advance through a trusty travel agency like Inkayni Peru Tours.

Unlike the Inca Trail or Machu Picchu, which require reservations months in advance, these two hikes don’t need as much advance notice. Since they are very close to Cusco city and can be visited in a single day, planning takes no longer than 1 hour.

WHY IS RAINBOW MOUNTAIN PERU COLORFUL? DISCOVER IT NOW!

Welcome to an expedition looking for the mysteries and wonders of Peru. In this new blog, together, we will explore and discover the enigmas behind Rainbow Mountain, a geological formation that has left everyone in awe.

You wonder… Why is Rainbow Mountain Peru colorful? Join us in this incredible story behind this natural phenomenon and discover the secrets that make this mountain such an extraordinary jewel in the Andes.

READ ON

Also, Humantay Lake and Rainbow Mountain are part of huge and famous long treks. For example, there are 02-day options, including Rainbow Mountain, the Red Valley, and the snow-capped Ausangate.

There are also 05 and 04-day versions of the Salkantay trek, which include a visit to Humantay Lake on the first day.

HOW TO RESERVE THE HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN

With Inkayni Peru Tours, both hikes have the same reservation process. Don’t have an idea how to do it? Below, we’ll teach you some guidelines:

Step 1: Choose a reliable travel agency

It’s so important to select a travel agency cautiously, read their itineraries and inclusions. Also, we recommend checking other travelers’ reviews.

Inkayni Peru Tours is the best option. How come? Because we offer quality tourist services and guarantee personalized attention and service.

Step 2: Contact the agency

Once you have identified a trustworthy travel agency, you can contact them. Generally, Peruvian travel agencies usually use WhatsApp, Messenger, email, or international phone calls.

Through these channels, you will be able to discuss how the service or inclusions will be.

Step 3: Confirm availability and book

Be sure to check availability for the chosen date. And if you have questions, you can ask your travel personal Inkayni Peru Tours’ advisor for more details.

Step 4: Make payment

Please note that booking policies could vary among agencies, so be sure you understand every detail. Some travel agencies ask for a certain percentage as an advance or require full payment for the tour.

Take your time to research and make sure you are making the best decision based on your needs and expectations.

DO YOU WISH TO ESCAPE FROM ROUTINE AND ENJOY ONE OF THE BEST INCREDIBLE VACATIONS?

Book your next vacations or tours with Inkayni Peru Tours to enjoy the jewels of the Cusco region and the Peruvian Andes.

CLICK ON HERE!

IS THE HIKE TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN OR HUMANTAY LAKE DANGEROUS?

Like any other outdoor excursion, both hikes can be dangerous if bad weather is present. However, both treks are well-signposted, and getting lost is rare. The road and path are slippery in the wet season, so tough terrain and weather are common.

To avoid mishaps, you must pack your backpack correctly, with only essential items, to carry less weight. Also, when hiking, take the necessary rest, take your time, and don’t force your body into dangerous situations if you feel sick.

EXTRA HIKES

What characterizes the hike to the Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake is that they’re full-day tours due to the distance from Cusco City.

But if you have additional time and want to enrich your experience in the Cusco region, we recommend joining the following tours:

02 DAYS HUMANTAY LAKE

Explore the first day of the Salkantay trek, including the Salkantay pass, Humantay Lake, and Soraypampa, spending a night at 3,900 m.a.s.l.

RAINBOW MOUNTAIN, RED VALLEY, AND THE SNOW-CAPPED AUSANGATE

On this 02-day tour, you will visit two fascinating natural destinations: The Rainbow Mountain and the Red Valley. Prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking sight of the highest snow-capped mountain in the Cusco region: Nevado Ausangate. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the grandeur of this natural wonder.

Rainbow Mountain trek 2 days

Rainbow Mountain trek: Vinicunca mountain, Red Valley and Ausangate

SALKANTAY TREK – 04 DAYS

Observe more beautiful wonders from Cusco: Soraypampa, Salkantay Pass, Salkantay Mountain, Lucmabamba, and Machu Pichu at the end.

The Salkantay trek is not a historical route like the Inca Trail, but some ancient Incan sites along the route are present. Furthermore, you can also opt for the 05-day Salkantay trek, which has a detour to Humantay Lake.

Salkantay trek 4 days and 3 nights

Salkantay trek 4 days and 3 nights

PACKING LIST FOR HUMANTALY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN HIKES?

If you want to undertake both hikes, it’s necessary to pack well for a moderate hike. All the essential hiking items should be into a small backpack. Among the things that you must pack are sunscreen, toiletries, medications, and extra batteries.

Layered clothing, such as a waterproof jacket, a hoodie, trekking pants, and fleece is a must.

  • A pair of gloves.
  • Rain poncho.
  • Water bottle.
  • Snacks.
  • Cash.
  • As these are hikes on irregular terrain and slippery sections, up to the weather, we suggest that your trekking shoes meets the following characteristics:
Characteristic of good hiking shoes

Characteristic of good hiking shoes

Another recommendation is renting hiking poles for the Rainbow Mountain and Humantay Lake hikes. Trekking poles help with 25% percent of physical effort while trekking, like walking with 4 feet.

Trekking poles uses

Hiking poles while trekking

SO…HUMANTAY LAKE OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN, WHICH DO YOU THINK IS BETTER?

You’re the only one with the most accurate answer when choosing between the Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake. They are very popular and sometimes very crowded for tourists wanting to spend time in the Cusco region.

Humantay Lake, with its crystal-clear waters and surrounding snow-capped peaks, invites you to connect with nature; on the other hand, the Rainbow Mountain dazzles with its multicolored strata, creating a surreal landscape and altitude.

So, both hikes offer unique experiences. Dare to discover some of the natural jewels of Cusco!

Rainbow Mountain trek

Rainbow Mountain trek

Now that you know the similarities and differences between both hikes, which do you think is better? Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain? Discover them with Inkayni Perú Tours, your best travel agency option. We offer you personalized trips, the best guides and daily departures.

Think no more! If you are in Cusco city and hove some free days, you cannot miss the opportunity to complement your experience by including these short trips.

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  • Gonzalo Rodrigo Tapia Condori

    Gonzalo Tapia was born in the rainforest of Peru, Madre de Dios, and he's been living in Cusco since 2008. He has been exploring Peru due to his main hobby as a birdwatcher. Also, he has a lot of experience in outdoor activities and wilderness.

    View all posts

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