We had a 5am pickup so woke up at 4am to get ready. When I woke up, my body was feeling heavy. And when I was moving around in my room, my heart was beating fasting than normal. Is this altitude sickness? So just in case, I took some pills.
I also packed too light. My big mistake. So I had no actual winter clothes. Luckily, one of my companion gave me her padded vest and extra sweat pants. It was nice and warm and I really needed it. It was about 39 degrees in the morning and the van picked up several people. The van was pretty big, about 18 seater? and it got full. It was too early for me and I knocked out. 1 1/2 hr later, we stopped for breakfast. The area where we were for breakfast was higher than cusco so I was starting to feel the pressure a bit. But it still was bearable.
The breakfast was meh. They provided bread, sausage, fruits, soup, and tea. Lots of coca tea. I drank as much as I could since they said it was good for the altitude sickness. After breakfast, we drove for another hour and we arrived at rainbow mountain.
And goodness. The pressure was on. Even at the bottom I was dead. After walking like 20 steps, I was breathing hard. I wanted to walk up but I knew I wasn’t going to make it so I asked for a horse. You could pay for one way but round trip was cheaper (in case I need a ride down) and I’m so glad I did. One thing to remember. The horse does not go all the way to the top. There is a stopping point and from there, you have to walk up.
I really wanted to walk up to the top. at least try. So I slowly walked. While walking, there were other tour guides saying that the easiest way to walk with altitude sickness was take 10 steps and take a 10 min break. I didn’t have that kind of time and I wanted to scream LOL But after taking small steps, I made it to the view point. I was at Rainbow Mountain!
The area was beautiful. Green colors with snowy tops and as we got higher, more colors. Red, yellow, green. It was spectacular. The guide said that the weather on this particular day was just perfect and I totally agreed. Pictures don’t do it justice. some of the colors were very vivid. But personally, I was miserable. The alltitute sickness here was hitting me hard.
I was about 100 meters away from the top when my guide said we have to go back down. So I didn’t get to the top but I was up high enough to get some amazing photos. The weather was just perfect. No filter necessary. I was proud of myself for walking up to the point.
I had to walk back down to the drop off area, find my horse person and ride back down. I passed out on the bus back. I was so tired.
After the tour, we got back to cusco. Once at Cusco, I didn’t feel sick any more. I walked around and shopped a bit or a nice pancho and ate Korean food at Sarangche. Not that I like eating Korean food while traveling but my travel companions really wanted it. We ordered some KBBQ pork belly and Kimchi Stew. It was pretty good. The warm soup really made me feel at home and comforted me.
Once we got back to our accommodation, we had to pack. The next 2 days, we were going to be on the road. When I packed for this trip, I told myself I wouldn’t shop so I packed a smaller suitcase. I brought a 17 inch luggage so I could carry it onboard. But who was I kidding. I needed a bigger luggage!