See all tours


Paucartambo’s Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen is Peru’s biggest, most beloved, syncretic religious festival and the ultimate deep-Peru cultural experience: three days and nights of non-stop music, parades, games, dance, and fireworks.





Maximum group size:

12 Guests


3 4 days


US$ 1,190


oCulture & Food


The trip in detail

The adventure begins at midday, when we’ll pick you up in Cusco and start to make our way to Paucartambo. We’ll stop for a typical lunch along the way in local gastronomic playground, the South Valley - it’s the perfect introduction to the combination of basic conditions, festive spirit, and massive piles of delicious food that, like the fiesta de Paucartambo, typify Peru!

After a drive of around three hours, we’ll get settled in our lodgings in Paucartambo and head out for some exploring and orientation. The festival kicks off in the evening with an indescribable display of fire and fireworks… we guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it!

Meals: Lunch and dinner included

Accommodation: Basic accommodation in Paucartambo

Today each of the comparsas (companies) of dancers perform their hearts out in honor of Mamacha Carmen - the entire day is a non-stop parade of Andean dance and costume. Each comparsa represents a specific mythical or historical character – the Saqras (devils), and Coyachas (little queens), are some of the most famous. In the afternoon they all accompany the Virgin through the town in a joyous procession. We’ll watch from a strategic position and your guide will explain what the dances and costumes represent – everything from comic moments in Peruvian colonial history to the mythic battle between good and evil!

Very late tonight, if you wish, we’ll take a ride to the famed lookout of Tres Cruces. It’s perched on the very rim of the Amazon Basin, so you’re looking out over the Amazon, and a completely different, very humid environment. Thanks to the specific climatic conditions this creates, sunrise here is often accompanied by optical illusions in June and July – this is a sunrise you’ll never forget, and a very special pilgrimage-within-a-pilgrimage of the Paucartambo festival.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Basic accommodation in Paucartambo

In the morning we’ll follow the solemn procession to the cemetery to pay our respects to the departed, and in the afternoon we’ll take our places for our favorite event of the festival – the playful guerilla (little war) in the Plaza de Armas. Featuring among many other things a water fight, a war between highlanders and jungle people, and devils dragging souls to hell on fiery carts, it’s a messy, hilarious, utterly unique afternoon of fun.

Most spectators leave Paucartambo after the
guerrilla, making this evening the best opportunity of the whole festival to see the continuing parades of dancers from up close and without crowds, and wander the still-buzzing streets, markets, cobbled streets and river walk of lovely Paucartambo.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Basic accommodation in Paucartambo

We’ll get you back to Cusco today in time for lunch. After the non-stop madness of Paucartambo, we’ll all be more than ready for a hot shower, some quiet time, and a good night’s sleep!

If we can be of assistance in your continuing exploration of Peru just let us know, we’re here to help!

Meals: Breakfast included

Print-friendly version u

How much does this trip cost?

US $



for a group of four to 12 people

Get in touch


  • All accommodation in shared (two people or more) room or tent
  • All ground transportation
  • All events specified in itinerary, with preferential seating and viewing where possible
  • Dedicated Aspiring Adventures guide to look after you throughout the trip
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Clean, safe drinking water throughout the trip


  • Tips for your guides & drivers
  • Alcoholic beverages

Conditions at Paucartambo

Available accommodation at Paucartambo varies from year to year. It is two-star level at best. If we obtain adequate roofed accommodation, it may entail sharing a room with several of our group members. Some years we determine camping is the best option available. Wherever we sleep, the noise of the festival goes on all night; a good night’s sleep is not a feature of the Paucartambo trip!

In general, conditions are crowded and basic. Customer service (in restaurants etc) is unreliable or nonexistent. Your expert guide is there every step of the way to take care of you, and to explain the spectacle that surrounds you.

Food at Paucartambo

Paucartambo is a small, rural Peruvian town where choice is limited and hygiene standards are not the same as you are used to. Your guide is there to make the best possible food choices for you and you are more likely to be bothered by some of the food on offer (such as sheep stomach lining or cow udder), and non-Western standards of service, than genuine food hygiene issues. Food at this event is suitable for people who consider themselves adventurous. People with any dietary restrictions, including vegetarians, will face severely limited choice and should bring extra fruit and snacks

Co-founder Steve says:

Katy and a bunch of her Peruvian friends took me to Paucartambo on my first trip to Peru, in 2006. It turned out to be a life-changing experience, as it inspired me to start Aspiring Adventures! There is no event like Paucartambo on the face of the Earth - it’s hard to even describe! - and I knew in my bones that I had to be part of it. Sharing Paucartambo with travelers is a unique exercise in cutting-edge cultural encounter, and a guiding passion in my life.

All our trips are custom trips! Tell us what you're looking for and we'll make it happen!

Get in touch