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Andrea Romano
May 28, 2018

Ever wanted to go somewhere over the rainbow?

While you’ll probably never make it to Oz, you can go to a land where you’ll be positively surrounded by color. Just take a trip down to the Rainbow Mountain in Peru.

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Vinicunca, also called Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors), is located in the Andes in the Cusco region of Peru. In order to get to the trailhead, it’s a three-hour drive from Cusco. To get to the lookout, you’ll need to hike about six miles. The trip is fairly challenging, so it’s not recommended for beginner hikers.

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But what makes the rainbow mountain turn so many different colors? Well, first, always be wary of which photos you see on the internet. Super bright, technicolor photos are often enhanced by Photoshop, but the real deal isn’t dull either. The mountainsides look like they were painted in yellows, greens, reds and purples, but they look a little more natural in person.

The reason why these colors have formed is because of ice that used to cover the area, according to HuffPo. When it started to melt, the water mixed with minerals in the ground, turning the earth into the many colors. Red areas are due to rust mixtures, yellows are due to iron sulphide, purples are from goethite or oxidized limonite, and the greens come from chlorite.

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It’s important to note that weather makes a big difference in your experience there. It’s best to plan your trip when it's unlikely for there to be rain or snow, because it will make the trail more difficult to hike and the colors will be duller, as one blogger experienced. At the same time, super sunny days or taking pictures around high noon will probably also wash out your photographs due to the excess light. The best time to visit will be in the morning or evening hours, either right after sunrise, or right before sunset.

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