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Palccoyo vs Vinicunca

What is the difference between Palccoyo and Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain?

Despite being a new tourist destination, thousands of people go every day to Vinicunca to experience its wide range of colors. But what many people do not know is that there are several Rainbow Mountains south of Cusco, and that visits to a second multicolored mountain, Palccoyo, are already increasing in popularity.

Vinicunca and Palccoyo give surprisingly similar views, but these are two attractions that have important differences that can make you prefer one more than the other.

About 3 hours south of the city of Cusco, bordering the Vilcanota mountain range, is a group of whimsical mountains of unique colors that never fail to attract the attention of travelers and tourists around the world. Here, ocher, red, white and blue emanate from the earth generating a spectacular effect.

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Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain

Vinicunca was the first Rainbow Mountain to become a sought-after tourist attraction in Cusco, with thousands of tourists touring its colorful lands every day. Palccoyo, on the other hand, has become its most popular alternative in the last year, calling attention not only for its kinship to Vinicunca, but also because in reality it is about multiple rainbow mountains that coexist in the same mountain range.

One of the most notorious differences between both mountains is the physical requirement to reach them. While Vinicunca consists of a four-hour trek round trip with a considerable slope, to reach Palccoyo you only take 1.5 hours round trip for a relatively flat stretch. Both trips are made at 5 thousand meters high, so the risks of puna are high in anyone.

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Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Vinicunca vs Palccoyo: Comparative Table

Differences Palccoyo Vinicunca
Atitude 4,900 m 5,020 m
Difficulty Easy Hard
Duration of the hike 1h 3h
Length of the hike 2km 5km
Elevation Mostly flat Steep
Departing time Between 5:00 and 5:20 am Between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m.
Tourists Only a few Crowded
Climate Cold Cold

If you are excited about the demanding stretches and are in good physical condition, then Vinicunca could be ideal for you, rewarding your effort with a privileged view of Ausangate, the fifth highest mountain in Peru with 6,372 meters. If you prefer a lighter walk, without demanding too much of your body, Palccoyo is the answer. Anyway, in Vinicunca you can hire horseback riding services that take you to the top of the mountain.

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