Humantay Lake vs Rainbow Mountain

We know that this both hikes are amazing, thats why we will compare Humantay Lake vs Rainbow Mountain in Peru, then you will decide which one you want to hike.

Differences of this hikes

Humantay Lake HikeRainbow Mountain Hike
Day tripDay trip
Entrance feet 10 soles (3 USD)Entrance feet 10 soles (3 USD)
Hike duration 1 hour up and 40 minutes down.Hike duration 2 hours up and 1 hour down.
Altitude: 4200 m (13,900 ft)Altitude: 5200 m (17,000 ft)
Amazing views of Salkantay and the Humantay Lake, and Peruvian AndesAmazing views of Rainbow Mountain, Red Valley (Palccoyo), Ausangate Mountain and The Peruvian Andes
Difficulty: ModerateDifficulty: Moderate – Hard
Distance from Cusco: 3 hours and 26 minutes in car.Distance from Cusco: 3 hours and 28 minutes in car.

Humantay Lake

Laguna Humantay

Resting at about 4300 m and literally situated on the edge of the Humantay glacier, Humantay Lagoon is simply breathtaking. Especially the green and blue tones of this glacial lake are simply fascinating. Sometimes you are rewarded with a completely different landscape when you venture to a different point of view of the chosen place.

We identify the pros and cons in the type of service tourists take. Because this determines most of the time if your experience visiting Lake Humantay will be the best or not.

The pros of Humantay Lake:

  • If you go in a private group, you will have time to take the best pictures and spend more time seeing and exploring the wonderful landscape in the Andes, of course with the help of a professional guide to avoid any kind of accidents.
  • You’re likely to see condors.
  • The road is shorter than to the Rainbow Mountain.
  • The height (13,900 ft) is lower than the Rainbow Mountain (17,000 ft).
  • The route is easier.

The cons:

  • On the side if you take the tour on the shared service, as you won’t have much time to take pictures or explore your surroundings, because you will have to base yourself on the program and schedules of the group.
  • You can rent horses, but they only take you part of the way.
  • There is no signposted path to the lagoon.

Rainbow mountain

Montaña de 7 Colores

The view of the Rainbow Mountain in Peru is incredible, but not only the view of Rainbow Mountain was crystal clear, but also the views (including the Apu Ausangate with 6,384 meters above sea level (20,944 ft)) along the entire ascent and descent were simply breathtaking.

The pros of the Rainbow Mountain:

  • There’s a short route
  • There are daily departures
  • There are horses you can rent for a large part of the way.
  • Like Laguna Humantay, the private service is the best option, as you will have more freedom to walk at your own pace and take pictures from different angles.

The cons:

  • It’s very cold,
  • There’s a lot of wind
  • It is higher than the humantay lake, which makes it difficult to walk.
  • If you take the shared service you will have to take the rhythm of the others and you will not be able to take your time to walk nor to enjoy if you want to stay a little.

From the spectacular Rainbow Mountain, through the colorful Lake Humantay, to the Inca site of Moray and the salt mines of Moras, Cusco is more than a base for Machu Picchu.


Reviews of both hikes – Humantay Lake vs Rainbow Mountain

Although I’ve never been to the lake, I found Rainbow Mountain amazing, that’s my recommendation.

Traveler 1 – Trip Advisor

I recommend you both if you can have a beautiful landscape but remember rainbow mountain you have to walk around 2 hours or you can rent a horse where the cost is around 70 or 80 soles in dollars is about 25 approx.

In the case of Lake Humantay is less than 2 hours of walking is 1 hour uphill and 1 hour downhill. So you can see the option for you which is best because both have an incredible view in Cusco.

Traveler 2 – Trip Advisor

Another negative side of Rainbow Mountain, especially if you are visiting during December, January or February, as this is the rainy season, the possibility that you will make the hike to the top, just to find the mountain covered with snow, is much higher during these months.

When we did the Rainbow Mountain walk in July, we lost a snowstorm for only a few days, the mountain itself was clear, but there were still snow patches everywhere, and the mountain we climbed to see Rainbow Mountain, for the most part was still covered with snow.

It would still be possible to have snow on Lake Humantay, but much more snow would be needed to hide the lake than to hide Rainbow Mountain.

Traveler 3 – Trip Advisor

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