Be ready for super-early pickup at your Cusco hotel; be thankful that a guide is taking care of the directions and driving in the predawn dark. Relax or catch a nap on the trip to the Rainbow Mountain trailhead, which takes around three hours.
Arrive at the trailhead and fuel up with a light breakfast and then hit the trail for a fairly strenuous 5.5-mile (9-kilometer) hike that reaches an altitude of 16,500 feet (5,029 meters). After the hike, arrive at the summit for panoramic views of the mountain's striated colors and surrounding scenery.
Descend the mountain at a more leisurely pace, learning about the local flora and fauna from your guide as you travel and stopping at a glacial lake for lunch. Once you reach your starting point, climb back in the tour vehicle and rest your legs on the way back to Cusco for drop-off.