A wonder that deserves more respect though
From a semi-unknown destination to one of the top 100 Instagram hashtags, the journey has been very short and it is yet to be evaluated how positive it is going to be for the dazzling wild beauty of Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca or Montaña de Siete Colores or, again, Montaña Arcoíris. Many names that mean the same thing in English, Spanish and Quechua: the mountain of seven colours, like the rainbow.
Located southeast of Cusco, Peru, the National Geographic has placed it among the 100 places to visit in life. And with good reason. It is a chromatic wonder formed by an extraordinary and probably unrepeatable combination of chemical elements. The mountain seems to have been painted by an overly imaginative painter, in bands of colours that follow one another in breath-taking rhapsody.
To be more prosaic, the explanation of this palette is provided by chemistry: red is given by iron oxide, pink by manganese, yellow by sulphur, whitish by marl (calcium carbonate), blue-green by oxidation of copper, brown is composed of a fanglomerate of rock and magnesium, the black stripes are granite. What you see on Instagram are not filtered photos: the colours are precisely those, made more vivid by the rarefied Peruvian air.
It is now a mass tourism destination and, starting from Cusco, a day's trekking is enough to reach it.