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The Qoylloriti pilgrimage is without a doubt one of the most incredible treks you can do in the Andes. Immerse yourself completely in Andean culture in a gorgeous setting, surrounded by glacial peaks.
You will join hundreds of Andean pilgrims as they celebrate the Qoyllur Rit’i festival, making this important religious trek to venerate the Lord of Qoylloriti. Colorful dancers and other devotees travel from surrounding communities to venerate the Señor de Qoylluriti in this incredible blend of Catholic and Andean faith.
The Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage takes place every year at the base of Mt Sinakara in the Ausangate area, just days before Corpus Christi is celebrated in Cusco. A spectacular location, colorful atmosphere and physical exertion make this an experience not to be missed!
Apus Peru is one of the few trekking companies that offers the chance to experience the full 4 day Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage. We also offer a 2-day trek to Qoylloriti for those short on time but who still don’t want to miss out on this incredible cultural experience.
Optional Extras and Upgrades
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Our Qoylloriti pilgrimage begins as we leave Cusco early and travel by car along the Transoceanic Highway. We arrive in Mahuayany about 3 hours later, passing by Tinqui, the trailhead for the Ausangate treks. As we travel, we pass through spectacular landscapes and stop for photos along the way at Urcos, Ccatcca and Ocongate.
We will have an early lunch with other pilgrims at Mahuayany (4600m), which will be full of visitors! After lunch, we start our pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Qoylloriti at the base on Mt Sinakara, a breathtaking spot surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is a slow, 3-5 hour uphill hike, and we will pass the 14 stations of the cross along the way. In the evening, we can attend mass at the Sanctuary. We will have dinner and camp at the Sanctuary.
Note: The Qoylloriti Sanctuary is located at a very high altitude. You must be well acclimatized!
Our second day on the Qoylloriti pilgrimage, we spend the full day at the Sanctuary, watching and learning about the activities of the pilgrims. We attend the “alacitas” market in the morning where you can buy miniature goods such as trucks, houses, cattle, university titles and anything that your heart desires! The legend says that whatever you purchase and then sacrifice to the Lord will come true, thanks to the power of the Lord of Qoylloriti.
The morning mass at the Sanctuary is the next event followed by the “Pablitos” mass. The afternoon is reserved for other activities: the procession of the Lord of Tayancani and the Virgin, several dancing performances, and mass at the Sanctuary again in the evening.
At night, after dinner, we enjoy a spectacular Andean fireworks show where wooden constructions with fireworks are set alight. Afterwards, the pilgrims ascend to the glacier to bring down the crosses to the Sanctuary. We retire to our tents.
After breakfast and a last look at the celebrations around the Sanctuary, we will get ready for the Qoylloriti pilgrimage. We wait and attend the Blessing Mass and then leave in the so-called “24 hour procession” together with the rest of the pilgrims. The procession leaves from the Sanctuary and runs through Calvario Machucruz, the lagoons in Kumukasa and Alqamarina sectors, until reaching Yanacocha, where we arrive at around 6 pm after about 6 hours of hiking.
At this point, we can either rest for 3-4 hours until 10:00 pm, when we start walking during the night towards Tayancani with the other pilgrims. Alternatively, we can opt for an early rise (around 4am) to catch the sunrise over Ausangate and a slightly late arrival at Tayancani. This will be discussed and decided upon among the various members of the group during the trek.
If your group opts for the night pilgrimage – an incredible experience! – we will wait for the sunrise and the impressive Sun Greeting Ceremony at 7am before we descend to Tayancani and attend the Blessing of the Sanctuary and the town of the same name at 8am. We can attend mass at 10am and then follow the trail 2h up a mountain pass and then down another hour to Ocongate where we will have lunch.
In the afternoon, we board our private car for the 3 hr drive back to Cusco, arriving in the late afternoon, exhausted but incredibly satisfied for having completed the trek to Qoylloriti.
Note: Thursday is Corpus Christi in Cusco. We organize this trek so that you will be Cusco for this equally colorful and fascinating cultural event.
A very dependable and well organized trekking company. I highly recommend Apus Peru team in Cusco, especially if you are planning a more challenging trek.