RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TOURS
Almost all the Rainbow Mountain tours on offer from Cusco have the same itinerary.
Early morning pick up from Cusco, a 3-hour drive to the mountain, breakfast, hiking up the mountain, and then returning back to Cusco (possibly with lunch included as well).
Any difference in price will be due to the service you receive, the quality of transport and how many meals are included.
One significant difference in price is due departures times from Cusco with more expensive tours leaving at 3:00 AM compared to 5:00AM, which cost less. Part of this cost is because the tour guides are up in the middle of the night.
However, you are also paying extra to arrive before other companies and hopefully have the mountain to yourself. Aside from this, the mountain and the hike are the same for everyone.
RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TOUR COMPANY COMPARISON
|Local Agency||Rainbow Mountain Travels||Experience Peru|
|Trip Advisor Rating||N/A||4.5 Stars (462 Reviews)||5 Stars (222 Reviews)|
|Pick-Up Time||5:00AM Onwards||3:00-3:30AM||2:15-2:30AM|
|Group Size||Coach (20+)||Mini-Van (15 max)||4 People Max|
|Food||Small breakfast, lunch, no snacks||Buffet breakfast and lunch, no snacks||Breakfast, buffet lunch and snacks|
CHEAPEST OPTION - LOCAL AGENCY - $10-20
We didn’t explore this option personally ourselves so there’s some estimating going on here as well as some cobbled together information from random reviews on trip advisor.
This is the cheapest option available. You will be able to find prices below $30 from the street vendors and smaller tour companies around Cusco, mainly ones that cater to locals rather than backpackers.
Although the pick-up might be as early as 3:30 AM, these are usually larger tours with more people, so most of the morning is spent driving around the town picking people up.
You may also get a Spanish speaking only tour. But this isn’t the end of the world as you are spending most of the day trekking.
Basically, you get what you pay for.
Is This Tour For Me?
If you are on a budget, don’t care about reaching the summit early to avoid the crowds, and don’t particularly care what you will given to eat – then yes!
MID RANGE OPTION - RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TRAVELS - $30
This is the option we went for, and we’ve written up our experience of the whole day in a handy guide here if you want to know the complete in’s and out’s of the tour.
Pick up was bang on time at 3:30 AM, and we were given thick blankets for the first part of the journey so we could stay warm and fall back asleep.
Our buffet breakfast and lunch were at the same restaurant, but the food was fantastic and substantial, providing all the energy we needed for the day.
We arrived at Rainbow Mountain just after sunrise and was one of the first groups to start trekking up the mountain, but we weren’t the first ones to the top as there are a few other tour companies that leave early. However, by the time we made our way back down, the trail was packed with people arriving from later tours.
Is This Tour For Me?
If you want to spend a little extra for some added comforts and to avoid a large amount of the crowd then yes. Rainbow Mountain Travels has some of the best reviews of Tripadvisor and is also the cheapest option available within a mid-price range.
Other tours on Get Your Guide start at around $40 so for $30 it’s really a bargain.
EXPENSIVE OPTION - EXPERIENCE PERU - $125
The final option from Visit South America is a private tour. For that extortionate price, you get the same exact experience as Rainbow Mountain Travels offers with only a couple of small differences.
This tour starts at 2:30AM, and you will literally be the only ones on top of the mountain with no other tourist in sight. We imagine the entire experience is also a lot better with added comforts such as better food and snacks.
Is This Tour For Me?
If you have the money and want to be the first and only one on top of the mountain then yes. We don’t imagine many backpackers will be choosing this option though.
This is a no brainer really. Rainbow Mountain Travels ticks all the boxes.
Best all-round price and experience that gets you up the mountain early enough to avoid huge crowds while making the day out feel more than just paying for transport by providing excellent food and engaged tour guides.
And if you haven’t planned Cusco yet then our city guide will help you get started.
Or if you are looking for more trekking around Cusco then you should consider the epic 5-day Salkantay Trek.