Paucartambo Festival & Tres Cruces famous Sunrise

Paucartambo Festival and Tres Cruces are traditional Catholic procession where many believers and pilgrims visit the Virgen del Carmen, who is a merry and the protector of Paucartambo town. There are hundreds of people from many parts of Peru and the world who visit this colorful festivity. The little narrow and colorful streets will send you to the colonial times.

Also, during this festivity, it is possible to get one of the famous sunrises in the world, located in Tres Cruces de Oro viewpoint.  located just at the beginning o the Jungle and the end of the Andes.


Virgen del Carmen festivity is celebrated on 04 days.

July 15th

This colorful Paucartambo festival starts receiving the different groups of traditional dances like Capac Qolla, Capac Negro, Chunchus, Saq’ras, Coyacha, Siqlla, Waka waka, etc. this first day is also called “Velada”. During the night a lot of pilgrims bring candles to the temple and they start the serenade. At night the Q’ollas, Chunchus, Maqtas Dances start a ritual called CERA APACUY, which represents the purgatory. So, these dancers start running around the main Square, carrying fire torches.

The only dance that doesn’t follow the procession is The Saq’ra (represent the diamonds) because they climb to the roofs and balconies, trying to run away from Virgen del Carmen merry.

July 16th 

this is the main day from the Paucartambo festival, in the morning at 05 am starts a ritual called Aurora Mass, the Capac Q’olla and Capac Negro Dances start singing beautiful Quechua songs for Virgen del Carmen. At 10 am the Capac Q’ollas start trowing small toys and dolls to the pilgrims. In the afternoon at 03 pm approx starts the procession of Virgen del Carmen around Paucartambo Town, which is followed by the 19 traditional and colorful dances.

July 17th

 during the morning, firstly, the 19 dance troupe visit the cemetery to remember the death dancers. Subsequently, they visit Paucartambo Jail to get happiness to the prisoners. Afterward, in the afternoon Paucartambo festival continue with the last procession of Virgen del Carmen Merry who goes to Carlos III bridge for the blessing to the 04 Region of Inca Empire.

July 18th 

Finally, the Paucartambo festival ends with the Cacharpary day, which means the last day of the festival. In the morning Virgen del Carmen merry is taken to the baptistery where the children and young are blessed by the priest. To say goodbye, the dancers start singing a Sad Song in the Quechua language. During these 04 days of Festivity, you can’t see any empty places, because everybody is at the party.


Paucartambo in the Quechua language means the colorful groundsel. The distance since Cusco city is 110 Km/ 69 miles. It is located in the same province called  Paucartambo on the way to Manu National Park. At the Incas time, Paucartambo town is the last town before everybody is going to the jungle, located in the Oriental mountain range from the Cordillera de Los Andes.


Paucartambo town was part of one of the four regions from the Inca empire that was called Antisuyo, Close to the jungle.

Paucartambo festival is celebrated especially in honor of Virgen del Carmen merry. There are many versions of the Paucartambo Festival, therefore, we are going to take the most typical and what the locals explain. At the colonial times, 18 century, the Andean natives from the mountains, called Q’ollas, used to make business with the jungle natives, called chunchus. The Q’ollas used to take dehydrated potatoes (called chuño), cereals like Quinua, cheese. They interchange it with Parrot feathers, sugar cañe called in Quechua as Chancaca, fruits. Suddenly a Q’olla found a statue of a Merry in one of his bags when he was at the hostal in Paucartambo, he decided to give to the lady, the owner of the hostel.

So, she decided to give to Paucartambo Church and explain the miracle of the Merry to the priest. The Chunchu people wanted to take the merry to the jungle but the Q’ollas forbid them. That is the reason why the Q’ollas and the Chunchus make a ritual in the Paucartambo Festival, which represents a battle between both of them, always getting the victory the Q’ollas.


Following the Andean syncretism that we got from the oldest people, Virgen del Carmen is the protector of the gates between the worlds of the living and the dead. So, when people die, they have to cross the Yawar Mayu which means the blood river. Down there are located the Saq’ras (diamonds) who are waiting for anyone who falls off the hair bridge. Therefore, when a dead person is crossing this bridge, they have to be escorted by a little dog wich represents protection. Finally, Virgen del Carmen permits to get the souls to the death world.


The Paucartambo festival is not just the only attraction around this area, during July month it is possible to delight one of the best sunrise in the world, located in Tres Cruces de Oro Viewpoint. This sunrise point is located 45 km away from Paucartambo town which takes 02-hour driving approx. Therefore, you start driving toward Tres Cruces at 02 in the morning. You can take advantage of this Paucartambo festival to connect with this stunning sunrise.

Tres cruces de Oro viewpoint will be the gates to start descending toward the jungle. It is orientated to the east and some important lands, where still are leaving original native people. Once you arrive at this Breathtaking place you will delight the most incredible scene probably in your life, this magic moment is just unique. At 06 am approx starts the show with the sin rise and delight from the mountains all the low jungle, and a big blanket of clouds.

It is possible to camp here, but you have to know that during the night the temperature descends -05 degrees Celcius Approx. If you don’t have your own transport, during the Paucartambo festival there will be some public transports that you can take in direction to tres Cruces de Oro Sunrise.


Let me tell you that we can get 03 options for you to visit this outstanding Virgen del carmen festival and the sunrise.

Firstly, INCA MACHU PICCHU TOURS can offer you some great options to visit this amazing place, exploring this part of the Andes, discovering some Inca towns, archeological sites like The Chullpas of Nincamarca, that used to work as a precolonial cemetery. You can be part of one of these Traditional dances and feel part of the Paucartambo Festival. Then, we can take you to Tres Cruces de Oro Sunrise to explore this breathtaking place. You can get more information from DIRCETUR CUSCO.

Second, you can rent a car on your own and you start the journey exploring the Andes. When you arrive at the little villages on the way, local people are really gentle. Therefore you can ask them the way to get Paucartambo town, it is important that minimum you have to know a little Spanish because these people at the highlands can understand Spanish.

Third, there are a lot of public buses that take you straight to Paucartambo town. about 03 hours. Once you arrive, there you can find some basic accommodations, to visit Tres Cruces de Oro Sunrise, you have the option to take at 01 or 02 am public buses. it is important that you have to care about your things because a lot of people travel to tres Cruces de Oro as well.


About the food,  you will find a lot of traditional and local restaurants, through all the town. There are many people who sell especially the traditional Chiriuchu ( cold pepper). which is a traditional meal especially for this kind of festivities. Also, you can find chicharron which is fry pork, the traditional soup called Chairo. You can find a few tourist restaurants here.

Regalanos un like

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