The spectacular and vibrant Rainbow Mountain in Peru has, in recent years, become one of the country’s top attractions. With its colourful layers of mineral deposits, it is also a favourite of Instagrammers.

However, the Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca, now faces fears of over-tourism, with fears that the area is unprepared for increased pressure from tourists. Located near another of the country’s top attractions, Machu Picchu, over a thousand tourists trek up the mountain each day in search of the perfect photo-op.

Read more: Impact of over-tourism the world over

Machu Picchu, another famous attraction in Peru
Machu Picchu, another famous attraction in Peru

The influx of visitors has been a great boon to the local communities. Over 500 jobs have been created in the area, including guides for hikers, and the locals who charge tourists who enter. Nonetheless, many are concerned that the area isn’t ecologically equipped to deal with so many people.

Peru’s Rainbow Mountain May Be Under Threat

The hiking trail has seen great erosion in the past year due to the increased footfall of people and horses. A large car park also had to be built on the nearby wetland to accommodate visitors’ vehicles. It has also been observed that the area can become dangerously slippery during wet weather.

Locals selling souvenirs at rainbow mountain
Local communities make money by selling souvenirs for tourists

Rainbow Mountain’s trail lies at 5200 meters high, almost as high as the Everest Base Camp. Many tourists are unprepared for the high altitude.

Overcrowding has previously also been a problem at Machu Picchu, leading to the creation of two shifts for visitors, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. However, this is not the only threat faced by the Rainbow Mountain in Peru. A mining company based in Canada recently applied for permission to mine in the area. If they’re successful, it could lead to the landscape changing entirely.

So, what do you think the future holds for the rainbow mountains? Will it fade away beyond recognition?

Read more: The impact of over-tourism on the environment – how can we be responsible travellers?


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