When traveling to Peru, everyone’s first thought is visiting Machu Picchu. Of course this is a site that can’t be missed, but growing quickly in popularity is Rainbow mountain which has very recently been discovered (or as the locals call it: la montaña de siete colores). It is in fact as the name implies a very large mountain and the colors vibrantly represent that of a rainbow. It was everything I thought it would be, and its vast beauty is one that I wish everyone would get to experience first-hand. I will admit that it is quite the hike getting to the top, but it is absolutely worth it in the end.
We booked our day trip through a tour company that picked us up at 5:15 am right in front of our hotel. We did our research and found that most tours tend to leave around 3:30 in order to be some of the first travelers atop the mountain, but our tour guide seemed to have a better plan (and frankly two more hours of sleep was much appreciated). We left Cusco and traveled two hours by bus until we came upon a small town, where we stopped to eat breakfast. After breakfast we got back on the bus and traveled one more hour to the base of rainbow mountain.
Stepping out of the bus we were met with a cold blast of air and wind all around us. Our guide informed us that as we hiked up the mountain in the sun we would be sweating and shedding layers, but at the top it would be very cold and we would need all of our cold weather items. (He was right). As we began the 5.5 kilometer hike, I quickly shed layers and found myself so out of breath. Side note: I’ve played sports for my entire life, including college soccer up until last fall. With this in mind, I thought I would be perfectly fine climbing the mountain that lie ahead of me. Yeah, I was very wrong about that. Two of my friends and I would walk about a total of 20 yards and have to stop to catch our breaths…at kilometer 3 we decided that we just couldn’t do it anymore. Fortunately, there are many locals that go up and down the mountain with their horses all day long just waiting for people like myself. I had every intention to make it to the top without any help, but the altitude got me. It really did.
When we finally reached our destination and stood atop this beautiful place, it was an amazing feeling. Not only taking in the beauty of the landscape, but looking around and seeing the number of travelers from all around the world. Speaking dozens of different languages, all there to witness the same thing. It’s an experience that I will never forget and an opportunity that I hope many others will get to endure as well.
Mollie Maupin is a sophomore at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying Chemistry and Psychology. She will spend four weeks in Peru with the ISA Service Learning: Cusco program. While in Cusco she will shadow in a dental clinic, learning from numerous professionals.
Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.