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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!
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!
High quality personalized experience
Unique, off-the-beaten track routes
Verified sustainability practices
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.