By now, there are not a lot of places that no tourist has ever set foot on. However, there is a plethora of places that are so inaccessible that only a few intrepid and high-energy people are able to see them first-hand.
One of these places is Vinicunca Mountain, which is situated in the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in Peru and the world. At an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea-level, you can be sure that the spectacular view will knock the wind out of your sails – literally.
Vinicunca Mountain is a rock formation painted with different hues of reds, yellows and blues, which earned it the nickname “Rainbow Mountain”. It has been said by the lucky few who got the chance to visit that it was like something you would find in a Dr. Seuss book.
But, as with most truly beautiful things, Rainbow Mountain is a very arduous six-day trip. Nevertheless, you must not let this turn you off. The alpacas, hot springs and sights are worth it! Here are five ways to make the most out of this trip.
Train, Train, Train
Perhaps the most obvious and solid advice, but not a lot of people heed it. Long hikes require that you have the stamina to brave through uneven terrains for extended periods of time, and you can't have that just by wishing for it. Start small and build up to the definite length of your planned hike. While daunting at first, it'll all be worth it in the end.
Wear the Right Trekking Outfit
Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, the weather tends to get chilly on the trail to Rainbow Mountain. However, it can get really hot fast once you start walking. One pro tip to overcome this is to wear layers of clothing so you can just take an item off and put it back on whenever needed.
The right kind of footwear is also crucial since the last thing you'd want during a six-day hike are blisters on your feet and water in your shoes. Invest in a good set of water-resistant hiking boots and nylon-wool blend socks.
Bring Proper and Adequate Sustenance
You can't go on a hiking trip and expect to never get hungry or thirsty. Load up on dried fruits, oat bars, nuts and chocolates as they are all great sources of protein and energy. Alpine streams are known to be good sources of potable water, and it doesn't hurt that they taste better than tap water, too! But just to be safe, make sure to bring at least a liter of water. If you're travelling with a group, all members should bring a liter of water each.
Medicine Is A Must
The high altitudes may need some getting used to. You can opt to acclimatize yourself first by arriving to Cusco a few days before your scheduled trek. If you're pressed for time, bring Paracetamol instead as it helps with headaches and nausea due to altitude sickness.
If the medicine does not work, you can choose to chew on Coca leaves. The taste may bother you, but it really does help.
Bring Only Necessary Gadgets
This usually means one camera, one cellphone and a portable charger. But given that camera phones nowadays are already equipped with great built-in cameras, it'll only be an issue of finding the right lighting and proper framing (though these may not be issues at all, considering how amazing the place is).
Take the time to fortify your gadgets with the right kind of protection so as to keep them safe in case they fall off your pocket. Imagine walking for six whole days just to get to Rainbow Mountain and not being able to show people on Facebook! The horror.