Virgen del Carmen Festival Tour 2D

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2 Days / 1 Night
Availability : Two departures per year: July 15-16 or July 17-18
Max People : 12

About the Virgen del Carmen Festival

Once described as a blend of Mardi Gras, Easter and Saint Patrick’s Day, the Virgen del Carmen festival is a full-on Andean fiesta. Our 2-day Virgen del Carmen festival tour combines attending this incredibly raucous and colourful festival in Paucartambo with a trip to Tres Cruces.

>Read more about this fascinating festival on our Cultural Events page as well as in our blog!

See Full Description

Get a real immersion into Andean culture by attending the Virgen del Carmen festival! Virgen del Carmen is an important festival in the Cusco calendar, one that is full of drinking, dancing and religious devotion. On this cultural Peru tour, you’ll get to experience this festival first-hand plus camp at Tres Cruces.

Tres Cruces is located on the edge of the Andes mountains and overlooks the Amazon basin. At this time of the year, the sunrise over Tres Cruces can create optical illusions – a truly unique experience!

Read more about Paucartambo, Tres Cruces and the Virgen del Carmen festival.

The Virgen del Carmen festival is truly a unique experience. If you like immersing yourself in the local culture wherever you visit, this tour is not to be missed! Adventure, gorgeous scenery, culture and a raucous good time combine in this Virgen del Carmen festival tour to create memories that will last you a lifetime.

We offer just two departures to the Virgen del Carmen festival per year – 15-16 July or 17-18 July. This is when the celebration occurs, and when the optical illusions during sunrise are at their peak at Tres Cruces. Plan your trip around these dates and book early to be sure you don’t miss out!

Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


3 people


4-6 people


7+ people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Virgen del Carmen Festival Tour

What is Included?


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of our departure towards the Virgen del Carmen festival
  • Private transport from Cusco to Paucartambo and Tres Cruces, and return travel

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.


  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you would like greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Toilet tent


  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your Travel Consultant during the booking process if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Snacks and water



  • Tips for the guide and field staff

Optional Extras & Upgrades

We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trip and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
  • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress
  • Thermarest inflatable pillow
  • Light-weight aluminium walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.

Optional Activities


  • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
  • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
  • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

What to Pack

Cusco can experience every season in a single day, so you should be prepared for sun and rain, cold and hot weather! We recommend a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sweater, rain gear or plastic poncho, winter hat or toque and gloves. It can be very cold at Tres Cruces; make sure you have enough really warm clothes with you!

In addition, you should bring:

    • A light day pack to carry your things
    • Water bottle and snacks
    • Toilet paper – always handy to have!
    • Money for snacks, souvenirs and tips
    • Ear plugs
    • Flashlight
    • Camera and charger
    • A sense of humor, an open mind and your dancing shoes!

You can also see What To Bring for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for a trek in the Andes. For more great suggestions, check out our blog about How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru.

Available Discounts

  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.

Remember that scans of the student card (for students) or passports (for children) need to accompany the booking in order to be eligible for the discount.

Trekkers Wanted

Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone!

Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • The times cited in this Virgen del Carmen Festival itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group.
  • The program is subject to change, due to weather and other unexpected circumstances
  • The hike to Tres Cruces can be very cold! Be sure to bring enough warm clothes.
  • This is a totally off-the-beaten path excursion, and tourist infrastructure is very limited. Instead, we’ll be making use of public transport and local facilities where possible.
  • Please note: the Virgen del Carmen festival is a true adventure and things may not go exactly according to plan! Keep an open mind and let yourself enjoy the cultural differences you may experience. There is always an opportunity to learn something!
  • Most of all, remember you are joining a genuine Andean fiesta, an event with real meaning and importance to the local community, and at which you are a guest. You should be willing to accept their means and methods of celebration. Please be respectful. Please refer to our Responsible Tourism pages. You can also ask for our Traveler’s Code of Conduct guide.

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

Virgen del Carmen Festival Tour Itinerary

Day 115 JULY or 17 JULY: Cusco – Ninamarca – Paucartambo – Tres Cruces

    With much excitement and anticipation, we start our journey towards the Virgen del Carmen festival! We’ll collect you from your hotel in the morning and depart from Cusco. Our first stop is to admire the interesting chullpas of Ninamarca. From here we continue to Paucartambo, enjoying a light snack along the way. We will arrive around mid-day.

    After lunch, we head out exploring the town. This will include a stop at the main church to admire its traditional entrance, and our first taste of the celebrations to come. We’ll have an opportunity to watch the Cora Apacuy and Konoy dances!

    After enjoying our first taste of the festivities, we’ll leave roaring party behind and head up towards Tres Cruces (3800m / 12,467ft). Here we’ll set up camp and hopefully get a good night’s rest before waking early to catch the sunrise. We’re likely to be accompanied by other festival-goers so there may be music playing into the night!

Day 216 JULY or 18 JULY: Tres Cruces - Paucartambo – Cusco

    Hopefully you will have gotten at least a little bit of rest, as we wake bright and early today to catch the sunrise. We’ll enjoy a hot drink with a sandwich as we await this incredible natural phenomenon. After spending some time in this beautiful natural setting, admiring the cloud forest below, we return to Paucartambo around 7 am.

    Here we will visit the Temple of the Virgen del Carmen and the famous bridge built in a King Carlos III style. From here we can watch more than 15 typical dances, all traditional to the Virgen del Carmen festival! At 3 pm, there is a procession for the Virgen del Carmen, which we will accompany, marvelling at the dancers’ ability.

    At 5:30 pm, we will collect our things and board the bus back to Cusco. We bid farewell to the Virgen del Carmen festival, and arrive in Cusco around 9 pm.

1 Review
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Frencheyer from UK

Group Traveller

We used Apus Peru to organize a trip to the virgen del Carmen festival in Paucartambo, which runs over 3-4 days once a year. The Festival is a riot of colour, music and dance which turned out to be an absolute highlight of our 3 weeks in Peru. I had to change our international flights to make sure we would get there on the first day and I am so pleased we managed to incorporate this into our overall trip. Our travel consultant was excellent at organizing all the details of the trip, including airport pick up and and extra day at the end. We were about 18 people in total, about half of us stayed the extra (3rd) day. Transport was in modern vans, delicious food was freshly prepared by the two chefs and while the accommodation was booked as camping, Apus Peru actually managed to secure a couple of classrooms in the local school which is where we pitched up the tents hence avoiding the freezing temperatures outside.
The team from Apus, including the guides, chefs and drivers have been brilliant throughout and I can wholeheartedly recommend them.

The trip has been awesome and I felt I was able to have a rare glimpse into the local customs during these festivities.

2 August, 2016

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