A Flood of Tourists to Peru’s ‘Rainbow Mountain’
Tourists struggle for breath as they climb for two hours to reach the top of a mountain in the Peruvian Andes. The mountain is 5,000 meters above sea level. The climbers are tired, but happy to see the beauty before them.
Lines of rich colors form what has become known as “Rainbow Mountain.“ The colors come from many-colored rock remains millions of years old. The minerals were pushed up in the crash of Earth’s tectonic plates.
The world learned of the existence of this natural wonder about five years ago. Now, many people want to see it for themselves.
“You see it in the pictures and you think it’s Photoshopped — but it’s real,“ said Lukas Lynen, an 18-year-old tourist from Mexico.
About 1,000 people visit Rainbow Mountain every day. The tourism has provided much-needed economic help to this area. Many villagers are farmers who raise alpaca animals for wool. Environmentalists, however, fear the tourists could destroy the land. International mining companies are also interested in the mountain.
Dina Farfan is a Peruvian scientist who has studied threatened wildlife in the area. He points to a four-kilometer path to Rainbow Mountain. Tourists have worn down the area in the last 18 months, lessening the beauty of the mountain. Also, a wetland once popular with ducks has been made into a huge area for automobiles.