Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is a recent discovery. Despite its few years in operation as a trekking route, it is extremely popular. The Vinicunca history is curious. This will be a lesson in recent and ancient history.

Vinicunca, or the Montaña de Siete Colores, is a popular hike. To visit Rainbow mountain you will need to hike for around 3 hours. Around the summit you will have this view of the hues of the mountain against the blue sky. 

Vinicunca rainbow mountain has exploded in popularity during the last 7 years. During that time it has become a classic in adventure experiences. This also has many details behind it. Including the discovery of other rainbow mountains. 

We’ll go into the details of the history of this Mountain trail. Vinicunca history hides interesting details that will offer a new perspective. Colores Mountain is more than just a pretty landscape.

Vinicunca History

The Accidental Discovery of Vinicunca: Unearthing Nature’s Palette

Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain, was unknown until 2015. The Vinicunca Mountain was known as part of the Vilcanota Mountain range. However this discovery has a sad tone.

Vinicunca Mountain was a snow-capped mountain for most of the year. But as a consequence of the climate change, the snow cover melted. Local herders and farmers knew about the peculiar color of Vincunca, but they never paid attention to it.

The Red Valley And the Vinicunca Discovery

On the other hand, we have the Red Valley.  A really niche trekking route before 2015. And even now it is kind of a complement of the Rainbow Mountain (Peru) experience. 

The Valley is stunning. As the name suggests, most of the ground is red clay. The earth takes this color for the richness in iron oxide. This landscape was not so frequented due to being in a remote area.

A local trekking guide on a visit to the Red Valley, discovered the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain.  quite by accident. The mountain did not have enough snow on top to keep hiding the colors. 

By the public information available, we don’t know much about the trekking guide who discovered Rainbow Mountain. But it was its closeness to the tourism industry which will create the fame of the mountain. We will discuss that later.

Vinicunca History: A Geological Masterpiece

The geological forces that shaped Vinicunca took millions of years. It is easy to infer just from the closeness with the Red Valley that the terrain is rich in minerals. The soil is rich in calcium carbonate, iron oxide, copper oxide, etc.

Possibly the color was the result of chemical interactions that happened hundreds of years ago. And they slowly rose to the surface. The existence of Vinicunca shows earth’s dynamic processes. Vinicunca history goes beyond history itself. 

Trailblazing to Popularity: The Establishment of the Rainbow Mountain Trek

The trail to Vinicunca Mountain began as a small path used by farmers. Its narrow and challenging nature comes from the fact that it was never meant to accommodate visitors. Over time, it evolved into an official route. This is a new chapter in Vinicunca history.

Tour operators recognized Vinicunca’s potential. And it occurs in the best time possible. By 2015 and 2016 the tourism industry changed. 

The rise of social media changed the tourism industry in many ways. During those years the concept of a viral tourism destiny was established. Now a viral image could make a famous destination.

Social media sites like Instagram helped propagate the news about Rainbow Mountain. Travel bloggers made this trail famous. And it is easy to see why. This when the Vinicunca history changed forever.

The views of the mountain are stunning. It is really easy to capture the beauty of the mountain in photos. The Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain became a sensation overnight due to its photography appeal.  

Vinicunca History, rainbow mountain discovery

Cusco Region: The Perfect Place

But social media was just one factor. The other is the perfect position the Montaña de Siete Colores was already in. If a new destination pops out of no-where, not immediately there will be the capacity to accommodate visitors.

But the Cusco Region is built differently. Even before Machu Picchu was a world wonder, the Cusco region thrived with tourism. Cusco City is used to accommodate hundreds of visitors each year. Vinicunca history would not be the same in other place.

And the demand was already there. For many visiting Cusco and the Peruvian andes, a day trek around was already appealing. It justified extending the visit to the region. 

The Economic and Cultural Impact

Nobody can deny the economical benefits of Colores Mountain in the local economy. The trek brought economic growth. The Vinicunca history is one of success.

Hundreds of jobs appeared. The demand for local products increased. The Vinicunca fame helps entire communities to improve their quality of life.

Vinicunca history involves the success history of many natives. The interest in the area also helped to incentivise the conservation of the traditions. The global interest in cultural experience became a cultural incentive for the local communities. 

Beyond Vinicunca: Exploring Other Rainbow Mountains like Palccoyo and Pallay Punchu

Like many natural phenomena, when it happens once, you can see this happen more. And as unique as Vinicunca history is, the history repeated itself at least a couple of times. This does not make Colores Mountain less amazing.

But it definitely connects the Vinicunca history with the narratives of Palccoyo and Pallay Puchu. 

Palccoyo, Pallay Punchu and The Vinicunca History 

Both mountains are geological occurrences that resemble Vinicunca. They are colorful mountains resulting from chemical and geological processes.  

Palccoyo, is the “alternative Rainbow Mountain”. Its discovery is undeniably related to the Vinicunca history. It became known shortly after the popularity of Vinicunca. Possibly it was known before only by locals.

It offers a similar visual spectacle. The hike is a little less strenuous for visitors. Palccoyo is more accessible. It is also recognizable for the three rainbow-colored hills. However, this is a high altitude hike that still requires acclimatizing to the altitude.

Pallay Punchu, is the newest rainbow mountain. It was revealed to the public around early 2020. This destination’s full name is Pallay Punchu of Apu Tacllo. 

For convenience it is called Pallay Punchu or Pallay Poncho. Its name indicates its more remarkable feature, the resemblance to a weaved poncho.

The surge in popularity of these two destinations is part of the effects of the Vinicunca history. They were recognized as possible places of interest thanks to the success of Vinicunca.

Ancient Echoes: Vinicunca in the Pre-Columbian Era

Vinicunca Mountain holds historical significance. This site was sacred in the Andean world. The mountain was considered an Apu. However, we don’t have much documentation of the lore of Vinicunca as a protector deity.

To explain the role of the Apus or god mountains in the andean world, woul require another entry. However, the clear reation ship with the Vinicunca hystory is there.

The Vinicunca history in the ancient past is kind of loose. We can infer that it had a role in andean spirituality. This permeates to this day. But there are some gaps in the information we could gather for this entry.

Vinicunca History