Peru’s Rainbow Mountain
Conquer Rainbow Mountain, boat through Amazonia by twilight and cycle the Sacred Valley
Peru’s Rainbow Mountain
About your trip
Embark on this adventure and you’ll come home a verified mountaineer. Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime?
Not for the faint of heart, this 12-day adventure will see you ascend 5,200 metres to the summit of Rainbow Mountain, stopping to camp beneath the stars and feast on cuisine served up by a private base camp chef (this is Flash Pack, after all). Passing glaciers and distant snow-capped peaks as you climb, you’ll be buoyed by the support of your group as each of you conquers this multicoloured natural wonder.
But that’s not all. In the days leading up to your mountain challenge, you can expect to sail through the Amazon Rainforest at twilight, mountain bike through the breathtaking Sacred Valley and uncover the Lost City of Machu Picchu. And as for Pisco Sours – we wouldn’t let you leave Peru without being a veritable connoisseur.
The ultimate Peru experience and the ultimate achievement to look back on with pride – the mountains are calling, will you answer?
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 3 domestic flights
- 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
- Stay in hand-picked 4 & 5 star hotels
- Minibus, train, boats & mountain bikes
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
- Arrival airport transfer
- Tips for your Pack Leader & driver
Flashpackers are required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination 30 days before departure OR proof of a negative test within 72 hours of their adventure starting. Flashpackers must also provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Lima Flavours
Welcome to Lima, Peru’s sprawling coastal capital and the heart of the country’s foodie scene. Having checked into your central hotel and met your group of soon-to-be friends, you’ll be taken to the bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco for an immersive culinary tour that will see you hopping between this eclectic suburb’s top eateries. You’ll visit three revered haunts, including one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, tasting several dishes at each spot. Expect anything from home-style criollo (spicy Peruvian fare with Spanish and African influences) to Barranco’s best churros. This will be a flavour journey across the traditions that have shaped the country’s cuisine and so the perfect introduction to Peru (and each other).
Day 02 Cooking class & Lima sights
Today the foodie theme continues (you’re in Lima, after all). After a leisurely morning exploring the city, it’ll be time to return to Barranco for a Peruvian cookery class. Hosted on a rooftop with views out to the Pacific Ocean, here you’ll learn how to make a traditional recipe and, of course, the infamous Pisco Sour. This will all be followed by a three-course lunch which you’ll get to walk off on a true local tour of Barranco. The stomping ground of the city’s artists and musicians, it made sense that your expert guide knows the artistic side of Lima like the back of their hand. You’ll be led to the workshop of Victor Delfin – one of the leading sculptors and painters in Peru, best known for his sculpture El Beso (The Kiss) – and get to appreciate the abundance of colonial architecture. After all of that walking, your authentic Peruvian coffee at one of the city’s best cafes, Bodega Verde, will go down a treat.
Day 03 Into the Amazon
Today you’ll all catch a 90-minute flight from built-up Lima to off-grid Puerto Maldonado, then step aboard a traditional Amazonian boat to cruise your way to your hidden jungle lodge. With just enough time to freshen up in your classic stilted cabana, prepare to sweat all over again with an immersive rainforest trek. Hike through the steamy foliage, following huge butterflies through this lush, world-famous habitat. In the evening, another special experience awaits: exploring the rainforest under the cover of darkness with an atmospheric night-time boat ride down the river. With the stars of the southern hemisphere twinkling above you and caiman silently watching you from the riverbanks, witness the transformation of the jungle as it comes to life in a cacophony of sound.
Day 04 Walk amongst treetops
This morning will see you trek through the Tambopata Reserve to Lake Sandoval. Boasting a rich abundance of flora, fauna and wildlife, this sun-dappled route proves why this is regarded as the biodiversity capital of Peru. In the afternoon, take a canoe to the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway – a labyrinth of hanging bridges and observation decks towering 98 feet over the jungle canopy. Traverse the treetops from up high, with toucans, sloths and curious monkeys to accompany you on your strolls. As night falls, be ready to channel your inner Attenborough, observing how the jungle changes once more as nocturnal animals emerge from hidden corners.
Day 05 Your gateway to the Andes
Savour your last morning waking up to the sounds of the jungle; after breakfast it’ll be time to hop back into the wooden boat you arrived on for your journey back to the airport. Your next stop? The Sacred Valley, where you’ll check in to your glorious Casa Andina hotel. Expect a chalet-style retreat surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. You’ll have a free afternoon and evening here, so make use of the full-service spa, grab some dinner and drinks and then spend the night stargazing at the hotel’s planetarium.
Day 06 Mountain bike the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley is breathtaking from any angle, but there’s something really special about experiencing these dramatic landscapes on a mountain bike. Kitted out and ready to fly between iconic ruins, you’ll start by cycling to the famed site of Moray with its abundance of terraces and platforms, built by the Incas for agricultural research. Afterwards, you’ll pedal right on to the salt mines of Maras, where thousands of salt pans fan out across the land. As you turn back for the day, you’ll make time to stop at the ruins of Pichingoto, where you’ll find tiny stone houses burrowed into the face of the cliff, before crossing the Urubamba River and meeting your driver, who will transfer you back to your beautiful hotel.
Day 07 Machu Picchu & Train luxury
It’s time for your pilgrimage to world-famous Machu Picchu. Your transport? A train with panoramic windows and glass ceilings that allow you to capture every glimpse of the phenomenal scenery. Having enjoyed a stop at Aguas Calientes for a pinch-me Machu Picchu moment high up in the Andes and some lunch, you’ll embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a Vistadome train. Hurtle through the Andes in a window covered carriage with traditional music playing while you raise several drinks with your fellow travellers. This incredible day will end in Cusco, where you’ll check into your new hotel and exchange stories around the fire pit.
Day 08 Cusco’s Inca heritage
Start your morning the local way: in San Pedro Market, perusing stalls lined with fresh produce and traditional textiles. Then, you’ll dive straight into Cusco’s rich heritage. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this imperial city was the historic capital of the Inca Empire until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century. Begin at Koricancha Temple, built in honour of the Sun God, before weaving through the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the Qenqo Temple. After lunch, you’ll gather with your group for an exclusive chocolate-making workshop in the heart of Cusco. This is a hands-on experience, roasting the cacao beans, peeling and grinding them, turning them into chocolate, and best of all, eating it.
Day 09 Hike to base camp
You’ll spend this morning making the journey towards Rainbow Mountain base camp, located at a staggering 4,000 metres. On arrival in Quesiuno, you’ll be greeted by a herd of mountain mules and muleteers, and from here it’s about six kilometres of high-altitude trekking to base camp, with glaciers and snow-capped peaks rising in every direction. It’s not an easy hike by any standards, and you’ll require a good level of fitness to tackle this ascent, especially given the high-altitude air. The support of your group will be invaluable, too, as you each cheer one another on. Arrive at camp in time for dinner (served up by your own private chef) as the night sky comes to life with stars – a stark reminder of why this challenge is so worth it. Then, make the most of a short sleep in mountain tents, with thermal sleeping bags for added warmth. It’ll be pretty basic in terms of amenities tonight, but the location will more than make up for it.
Day 10 Ascend over 5,000 metres
You’re off to an early start this morning as together you begin your ascent. Admire the spectacular beauty of the mountains as you go, with streaks of turquoise, maroon and gold painting the landscape in rainbow hues. From Vinicunca Pass, located at 5,020 metres, it’s a short hike to the summit. At the top, savour a quiet moment of triumph with your group, surrounded by breathtaking views of the sierra. You did it, you’re a mountaineer. Then, begin the long descent to Llamachipampa, where a private bus will be waiting to take you back to Cusco in time for some well-earned drinks.
Day 11 Recovery in Cusco
Enjoy a relaxed morning as you recover from yesterday’s achievements. With a few hours to spare, we recommend exploring charming Cusco. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, this beguiling city is the gateway to ancient citadels and ruins, scattered across a vast mountainscape. Wander the picturesque stone streets lined with Inca architecture and baroque cathedrals. Tonight will be your final meal, and what an adventure you’ll be able to toast to.
Day 12 Hasta la vista, Peru
After conquering Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu, your Peruvian adventure has come to an end. Depending on what time your flight is, you can explore Cusco a little more, before making your own way to your next destination. What an adventure, what an achievement and what a group to do it all with.
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción
Search for crocs, swing in hammocks and hike the jungle from these atmospheric huts in the heart of the Amazon. This is escapism at its finest, and you’ll fall asleep to the nightly chorus of the forest’s nocturnal creatures.
Just steps from the bohemian Barranco district and a few blocks from the Miraflores boardwalk, you’ll find this sophisticated hotel in one of the best areas of the city. Expect bright and modern rooms, and a sociable lounge where you can enjoy a nightcap with your fellow Flashpackers – the classic Peruvian cocktails here come highly recommended.
Los Portales, Cusco
Positioned right in front of the Incan Temple of the Sun and just four blocks from Cusco’s Main Square, you’ll be in the heart of all the action at the Los Portales hotel. Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and equipped with everything you need to rest weary feet after an adventure-filled day.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Lima Airport (LIM) and out of Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport (CUZ).
- What time should my flight arrive? (to arrive in time for the welcome meeting)
Before 4pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 5pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 40 minutes away from the airport.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish. The airport is approximately 15 minutes away from the hotel, and your Pack Leader can help you book your transfers the night before if needed.
- Are airport transfers included?
Yes. The arrival transfer is private to Flash Pack and will be in a group depending on flight times.
We don’t include the departure transfer however, the airport is approximately 15 minutes away from the hotel, with the cost in a taxi being around 55 PEN, the equivalent of less than £11.
If you and some other Flashpackers are getting the same flight, we recommend splitting the taxi journey.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
Overall, Peru is our most active adventure with Rainbow Mountain only being suitable for experienced hikers. Remember, you’ll be trekking at an altitude of over 5,000 metres, which adds another level of difficulty.
This adventure also includes a long hike up Machu Picchu and a full day of mountain biking, but it’s a great choice if you enjoy being active.
If you have a regular fitness regime, are used to doing multi-day hikes (especially in the mountains) and have spent time acclimatising to the altitude, you should have no problems meeting the challenges of this trip.
If you don’t have a lot of hiking experience or exercise regularly you may want to consider embarking on a fitness program before you travel to Peru. This might include cardiovascular training or several day hikes in your local area.
If you’re interested but unsure if this trip is right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Will the altitude affect me?
At certain points during this trip, you’ll be over 5,000 metres above sea level and for some it can be hard to adjust to the altitude. This why we have one day in Cusco before the start of the climb, and one day after to help with acclimatization.
Your base camp is 4,000 metres high so you will be camping at an altitude that can also be hard to adjust to. We strongly recommend only joining us on this adventure if you’re an experienced hiker or if you have hiked at altitude before.
Here are some recommendations to reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness:
- Take it easy. Get lots of rest and don’t over-exert yourself. Light activity during the day is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol and other depressant drugs including barbiturates, tranquilisers, and sleeping pills. These depressants further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the symptoms. If you do consume alcohol, tobacco and coffee, make sure you drink extra water to compensate for the dehydrating effect of these substances.
- Eat a high carbohydrate diet. Experts recommend consuming more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates while at altitude.
- Drink lots of fluids. The age-old Andean recipe for altitude sickness (known here as soroche) is coca leaf tea, but any hydrating liquid (herbal teas, water, juice, or electrolytes) will help.
- Why do we need to pack light for the Amazon?
Due to the remoteness of the location and the small boat that takes you there, you will need to repack in Lima and take only necessary clothing and toiletries in a smaller bag for three days/two nights at the Amazon lodge. Your main suitcase will be stored at the lodge office which is located in Puerto Maldonado city – 45 minutes from the lodge by boat.
- What will I need to bring?
This is a particularly cold trek due to the high altitude and proximity to glaciers, and the night-time temperature can reach as low as -15°C (5°F). The key is to bring plenty of layers that you can put on and take off when required. We recommend bringing:
- Moisture-wicking base layers to keep you dry and comfortable
- A warm fleece or down jacket
- Zip-off hiking trousers combined with thermal leggings for extra warmth
- A waterproof and windproof jacket or rain poncho
- Sturdy, well-worn-in, water-resistant trekking boots or hiking shoes, preferable with ankle support
- Extra socks
We also recommend bringing some light-coloured clothes for the jungle because many bugs are drawn to dark clothing.
You’ll be sent a full packing list once you’ve booked your place on this trip.
- Will the itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities, and hotels are subject to change.
These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
What Flashpackers say
"Our group was admittedly awesome and everyone meshed. I understand that FP puts a lot of effort into making this happen – and with us it certainly did! I made friends for life!"
"Our Flash Pack guide Julio was awesome! He taught us so much about Peruvian culture and history. The itinerary was perfect and I loved how Flash Pack incorporates activities. I really enjoyed the mountain biking and cooking class. "
"Hector, our leader, was brilliant. Lots of great views and exciting things to do. Always very busy on this tour with a packed itinerary. Most of your meals are included and the hotels are nice! "
"Our experienced local guides made a huge difference, as they were fun, knowledgeable, and also experienced with difficulties related to altitude etc. And all this shared with a wonderful group of people, new friends who I can't wait to meet again."
As captured on Instagram
The latest from Flashpackers in Peru on #picsworthsharing
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