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Exploring the Red Valley Peru | Facts & Information

Written by Sam Corporations February 10, 2023

Exploring the Red Valley Peru | Facts & Information

Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Red Valley when in Peru

Different, Breathtaking, Interesting, that is the best way to describe the Red Valley in Cusco, Peru. What is the crazy part? Very few people visit this place, which is incredible as the Red Valley is right next to Rainbow Mountain, a popular tourist attraction nowadays!

Hike the classic Rainbow mountain; Vinicunca and explore the Red Valley in a day without missing anything.

Why should you go?

Because it’s unique. As far as you can see… Red mountains dotted by green and grey. The views are endless. It’s Quiet. Unlike its brother on the other side of the hill ( Rainbow Mountain), The Red Valley is way less visited. In comparison, there will be around 10 to 20 people at the viewpoint versus hundreds at Rainbow Mountain. Great Value for Money; a great way to finish your hike at Rainbow mt and explore more colors with the Red Valley in 1 day!

Check the weather

The weather has a big influence on your Red Valley experience because when it hasn’t rained for a while you can do a hike through the Red Valley.

As we are talking about great heights (over 5000 m), the weather is a little unpredictable. However, in general, in the rainy season (November to March) you have a bigger chance of clouds/snow/rain (but a smaller chance on crowds).

Best Time of the Year for Exploring the Red Valley in Cusco

There are two main seasons in the Peruvian Andes:

  • The dry season runs from late April through to early October.
  • The wet season starts mid to late October and ends in April.

But, When is the best time of the year to do the Red Valley?

The trek can technically be completed all year round, the peak trekking season occurs during the dry season and is busiest between May and September.


Day 1: Cusco – Cisipata – Llacto – Rainbow Mt – Llacto – Cusco

  • Pick up from your hotel at 4am in our private van and transfer to trailhead.
  • Enjoy your breakfast.
  • The hike up takes about 1.5 hours along a trail that goes up a desert valley, with full view of glaciers.
  • Enjoy the colorfull Rainbow Mountain.
  • Then hike for 45 meters to the Red Valley.
  • The hike back to the trail-head enjoying the amazing views of glaciers and valleys.
  • Highest elevation: 5100mt/16732ft
  • After lunch, we take our van back to Cusco
  • Arrive to your hotel in Cusco around 5pm.

****A horse can be hired for the majority of the trek. However, the last 600m are too steep for horses and you will have to walk this last part. The cost is about 100 soles roundtrip which your guide can negotiate. 

Finding the Red Valley

So where is the Red Valley? It located in Cusco, Peru right next to the Rainbow Mountain. Just above the last horse point on the way up to the final ascent to the mountain, you see a small route to the left of you with a rope. In the distance it leads to a ridge, that’s where you find the Red Valley checkpoint. After paying 10 soles, you already have a perfect view, but you can hike down a bit to the viewpoint.

TIP: Makes sure you have a good camera because you will want to capture this otherworldly view!!

To return to the carpark, walk back in the direction you came from and pass the checkpoint again. Now, don’t go back all the way to the horses at the top. Just after the passage through two black rocks, there is a short cut to the car parking.

Preparing your visit to the Red Valley

Just like for a visit to Rainbow Mountain, make sure you are prepared for high altitude. Try to be acclimatized before going. Flying from Lima to Cusco and hiking at 5,100m/16,732ft the next day, is NOT a good idea. Furthermore, take your altitude pills before arriving in Cusco so that they work once you arrive and maybe bring some extra.

Regarding clothes, wear layers, dress warm (hat and gloves) and bring sunblock. Only with rain, hiking shoes are a must. If it’s dry you can rock your Adidas’s. Bring some nice snacks (although the breakfast is filling enough), or a thermos with coca tea to enjoy the view. Lastly, it’s awesome to bring some small money to tip the cooks and driver, they don’t expect it!

Which is the best Red Valley Tour Operators?

Although there are several options for tour operators that offer Salkantay treks, here we have some list of the top rated Salkantay trekking companies

Conclusion for exploring the Red Valley

When in Peru the Red Vally is a must-visit. It is an otherworldy experience and not yet ruined by tourism!

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