Nature and outdoors

Wild Place: Peru’s Rainbow Mountain

A few hours from Cusco awaits Vinicunca, a 5,200-metre mountain in striking hues of reddish brown, yellow and green

Think of Vinicunca – Rainbow Mountain – as the product of a sort of vast open-air cement mixer. Tectonic plates beneath the Andes region of Peru heave up and down. Wind and rain oxidise exposed minerals. Goethite and limonite turn sandstone brown, iron sulphite adds a yellow hue, chlorite lends a shade of green. Hence Rainbow Mountain’s attraction to geologists; Peruvians, who worship the 5,200-metre edifice as the deity of Cusco, the nearest city; and an increasing number of trekkers who either make a day trip to fill their Instagram feeds, or include it as part of the 70-kilometre Ausangate circuit, rated as one of South America’s most challenging hikes.

EDITOR’S PICKS

Discover More

Cathay Travell Book

ABOUT

Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
Discovery Book Silkroad Book