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15th - 16th July - This trip leaves once a year!

Paucartambo is small town about 4 hours east from Cusco on the road to Manu National Park. It most famous for one massive festival: Virgen del Carmen, which takes place over four days, with the principal days from July 15th to 17th. The Virgen is known locally as Mamacha Carmen and is a patron saint of the mestizo population. The festival itself consists of lots of traditional and significant dances by people in awesome costumes. Many of these dances have ingenious choreographies that portray events in Peruvian history. On the central day, (July 16th) the Virgin Carmen is carried around the town in a spectacular procession to bless those present and scare away demons The dancers become more and more animated as the festival progresses performing daring gymnastics, showing off their colorful Inca and colonial garb. At the end of the procession, war is waged on the demons, from which the faithful emerge in triumph. Finally, the gathering ends up in the cemetery to pay homage to the souls of the dead.

About 40km north of Paucartambo is a site called Tres Cruces (3 crosses), which is situated on the very edge of the Andes mountains at an altitude of 3900m. From Tres Cruces, there is a steep drop into the Amazon basin, which means the view is incredible. Tres Cruces is most famous for the sunrise in the months of June and July because special climatic conditions mean that there are optical illusions.

This trip is ideally combined with our Mountains to Manu trip.

Specific itinerary

Day One: 15th July
Early morning Collection from your hotel and departure from Cusco

  • Visit to the Chullpas of Ninamarca
  • Light snack

1.30pm Arrival at Paucartambo
Lodging in a shared accommodation, and a rest if you wish
3.00pm Visit to the different streets of the town
Visit to the main church, and an appreciation of the traditional entrance, and of the special dances "Cora Apacuy" and "Konoy".
8.00pm The serenade in honour of the Virgin del Carmen begins
We will be able to enjoy (visitors and locals alike) the happiness of this event. It's is possible for members of our group to rest, or others will wish to continue with the festivity until later hours.

Day Two: 16th July

1.30am We will assemble in our lodging to depart for our trip to Tres Cruces to see the see the sunrise, the only place you can see this spectacle in South America . (3739 m)
Accommodation will be in an available place.
Light snack (with hot drink and a sandwich)
7am Return to Paucartambo.
Transfer to the lodging, rest, wash and breakfast (depending on each passenger). Visit to the Temple of the Virgin of Carmen, to the Bridge Carlos III where we can enjoy more than 15 typical dances.
3pm Procession of the Virgin of Carmen
We will accompany the procession and can appreciate the dances and the ability of the dancers.
5.30pm We will gather in our lodging to collect our things and board our bus to return to Cusco.
9.00pm Return to Cusco and return to your hotel.

· the exact program is subject to change, due to weather and other unexpected circumstances.


• The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
• This is an adventurous trip. You should be sure to bring an open mind, flexibility and a sense of humor. Most of all you should be prepared to go with the flow. Most of all, you are joining an Andean fiesta - and you should be willing to accept their means and methods of celebration.
• This region is not frequently visited by tourists, therefore tourist infrastructure is limited. This tour incorporates public transport, and use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things change, or may not go to plan. This is all part of the adventure!
Practical Information
What's included?

For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!
• Pre Trek Briefing

• Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.

• Private transport from Cusco- Paucartambo - Tres Cruces - Paucartambo - Cusck

• English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 8 people).

• Shared accommodation

• Meals as described

• Sleeping mat


• Breakfast on the first morning.
• Sleeping bags If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.For this trek you should hire minus 15 or warmer bags.
• Tips


• A sense of humor, dancing shoes (a willingness to dance) and an open mind.
• A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
• Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. ** The visit to Tres Cruces is particularly cold trek, you should make sure you have a lot of very warm clothes.
• Ear plugs!!! Needed for this fiesta
• Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
• Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
• Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
• Sun block
• Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
• Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
• Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
• Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
• Cash - sufficient for your final lunch in Aguas Calientes, tips and souvenirs.
• Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
optional extras

We can hire the following to you.

Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg $4.00 per trip day
Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg. $5.00 per trip day)
Thermarest inflatable mattress - $4 per trip day
Inflatable pillow - $2 per trip day


When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’ If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)

AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)

5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
$30 discount if combined with an Apus Peru trek, 3 days plus.


You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page. * For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.



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