The Rainbow Mountain Of Peru

Grace Higgins | June 30th, 2020

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is a geological wonder and also a spiritual place of worship for many, the crazy part is it was only discovered about four years ago. Though it has been a place of worship for centuries, it seems tourists never saw it and nobody uploaded a photo to the internet. Now many are flocking to the famous rainbow mountain out of Cusco sitting in the Ausangate region of Peru. It is home to one of the largest llama and alpaca herding communities of the world. One of the only remaining pastoralist societies left after generations of modernization, these old ways have nearly been lost completely in other regions of the world.

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The Ausangate region holds several wonders which include the Andean uplift, the hanging glaciers, and the glacial erosional valleys. You can also walk through the limestone forests and try to find dinosaur fossils while walking through the Permian formation.

But the most famous geological form is the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, with its striking colors that breathe out the world’s power, greatness, and natural beauty. The landscape provides us with a bird’s eye view of how over a million years have passed, which is what has created the technicolored mountain strata. It is simply the passage of time, as the grains of the sand grind down and turn into different colors. What you are seeing are the different stratigraphic layers of each land plate grinding against each other. Normally you would not see the different plates as generally they are stacked on top of each other, but here the mountain uplift allows for our eyes to see it!

Many did not know it before because it was covered in so much snow. When the snow finally melted completely one year, was when the rainbow mountain started its claim towards fame.

Only discovered in 2015 by nonlocals, it has only had its first official tour from 2016 – despite being an enormous mountain of incredible size. It remained a local secret for so long because for locals it was a place of worship and because it is notoriously hard to find. And because of this, out of respect, it has not been developed into a major tourism destination. This is amazing for travelers as it lets you truly bear witness to the beauty that is Peru. Even the skilled hikers and experienced guides have trouble locating it.

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