VIRGIN OF PAUCARTAMBO FESTIVAL "CUSCO" 03 DAYS - 02 NIGHTS
We will drive, for about 4 hours, on a dusty narrow road to reach the small village of Paucartambo, lying on the eastern slopes of the Andes, about 109 km away from Cusco city and at 13,200 feet above sea level. For three days each year, from the 15th to the 18th of July, the town fills up to overflow thousands of devotes and visitors who come to participate to one of South America's most vibrant and fascinating fiestas in honor of the "Virgen del Carmen". Also known locally as Mamacha Carmen, the patron saint of the mestizo population.
The annual Fiesta of the Virgen del Carmen is a colorful mixture of Andean pre-Columbian ceremonies and Catholic religion in which masked costumed dancers relive ancient rituals for the Gods. This Andean religious celebration reflects the centuries-old struggle between Christianity and pre-Columbian Andean pantheism, the Virgin is no longer just the Mother of God, she is also Mother Earth, or Pachamama. The festivity shows the never ending battle between the forces of good and evil.
This is a marvelous festivital, where sixteen groups of beautifully costumed dancers (Saqras, Qhapaq Ch'unchu, Qhapaq Qolla), interpret a tangle of historical events, folk tales and legends taking the streets with their troupes of musicians singing in quechua. Meanwhile"La Mamacha" is carried through the most important places of the town like the main square, the church, the Bridge Carlos III, the Hail.
In the village streets, accompany by the comparsas, the entire population gathers quietly bearing candles, flowers and other offerings asking for blessings and protection.
This celebration, both magical and real at once, has a deep religious significance, because social relations and rituals are built to, defined and maintain the identity and customs of the Andean and mestizos people. This is clearly observed in the "guerrilla" between Qollas from the Altiplano (flat lands) and Ch'unchus from the jungle, a symbolic culmination of this sumptuous feast where two nations are disputing the love of the Mamacha del Carmen.
In addition we have the great opportunity to witness a natural spectacle, the mesmerising sunrise at the Tres Cruces de Oro at 12,100 feet, gateway to the Manu National Park.
Day 01: CUSCO - PAUCARTAMBO
Early morning transfer by private transportation from Cusco to Paucartambo village visiting areas such as Urcos and the Ch'ullpas of Ninamarka. About 10.00 am we arrive at Paucartambo(13,200 ft), lodging in a shared accommodations and taking a rest. Then we have a walking tour with our private guide surounded by thousands of devotes and visitors. Next we have a buffet lunch with typical cuisine. Later in the afternoon we can observe the sixteen colorful "comparsas", dancing in honour of the Mamacha del Carmen. After lunch, a ritious firework display is held in the main square, during which the Qhapaq Qolla, the Ch'unchos and the Saqras dance wildly like some medieval vision of hell called "Fogata". The fogata ('fire') is staged in the night, a representation of Purgatory which continues with a big fiesta and serenade to the Virgen del Carmen. At around midnight, in an emotional gathering, all the comparsas meet again, this time without their elaborate costumes to solemnly serenade the Virgin in front of the closed doors of the church.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner.
Day 02: PAUCARTAMBO - TRES CRUCES DE ORO
After breakfast we attend the central Mass following the great procession of "La Mamacha" to bless those present and scare away demons. We'll see the different comparsas and specially the "Saqras" who occupy the rooftops and balconies of the town. These are Euro-Andean devils, dressed in vivid rainbow-colored costumes and elaborate animal masks crowned with extravagant wigs. Then we have lunch. The afternoon is free for enjoying and exploring the site. We have dinner, and then we make our way towards the camp of the Tres Cruces de Oro, 40 km north away from Paucartambo, which is situated on the very edge of the Andes mountains at a height of 12,100 feet. From Tres Cruces, there is a steep drop into the Amazon basin, which means the view is incredible. It's most famous for its sunrise in the months of June and July because of the special climatic conditions which give optical illusions.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 03: PAUCARTAMBO - CUSCO
Wake up before dawn( 5:30 am) and then we set out to see one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world: the sunrise at Tres Cruces de Oro (12,100 ft), where the Sun "dances" in the sky, or the Sun "plays" in the sky. We eat some snacks and we return back to Paucartambo. Breakfast. This day we attend with our guide the Blessing Mass. In the afternoon the image of the Virgin is carried through the narrow streets of the village to the venerable colonial-era bridge named Carlos III, surrounded by all those who have attended the festival, standing or kneeling tightly-packed and in a respectful silence. The Qhapaq Qolla and Qhapaq Negro address the Virgin in a moving song of farewell. In this place the Virgin imparts her blessings to the fourth regions (suyos). The procession continues with the spectacular "guerrilla" between the group of Qollas of the Andes and the Antis of the jungle who do mock-battle in a hilarious encounter recalling the wars between Qollasuyo and Antisuyo in the time of the Inkas. Finally the comparsas venture forth for the last time to dance the traditional Kachapari or farewell, closing for another year this magic feast. Return to Cusco.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
- All the roundtrip Cusco - Paucartambo - Tres Cruces - Paucartambo - Cusco by private ground transportation
- One night in basic accommodations in Paucartambo village with breakfast included
- Excellent meals as specified in the itinerary
- Fully guided sightseeing during the trip
- English speaking professional guide services included guide assistant
- Full camping equipment for the 2nd day: large igloo tents for 2 people, Double thickness foam mattress, dining tent with tables and chairs and kitchen tent
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank if needed
- Breakfast on the first morning and dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags
- Personal equipment
- Extra food or beverages
- Insurance of any kind
- Personal Expenses
- Others not specified
RECOMMENDATIONS AND NOTES
- We can provide vegetarian meals for special diets with no extra cost. Just let us know at least 2 days prior to the trek departure
- 14th,15th and 16th July every year
- Accommodations, transportation, meals, and optional excursions can be arranged