Paucartambo: the most colorful festival in the Americas.
July 13-19, 2015
The small Andean village of Paucartambo comes alive every July with the colorful festival of Paucartambo,
a mix of ancient religion celebrating Pachamama (Earth mother) and the Catholic Virgin Carmen.
Led by Dolly Beaver and Alfredo Dosantos
Arrival to Cusco, afternoon tea ceremony with local shaman, rest for acclimation to altitude.
Transfer from Cusco to the colonial town of Paucartambo
(altitude is about 1100 feet less than Cusco) by bus, about 4 hours on paved road. Afternoon visit to local farm, interpretation of local agricultural practices. Housing in local bed and breakfast with shared bathrooms.
The festival begins with the entrance of
each of the sixteen dance groups,
magnificently masked and costumed
according to their respective customs and traditions.
They all approach the church dancing. Behind the
dancers the entire population of the town gathers
along the main street, carrying candles, flowers
and other offerings. That evening in the main square,
there is a riotous firework display during which some
of the dance groups leap over the many bonfires lit
around the plaza. Around midnight, all the dancers
gather again at the church to solemnly serenade the Virgin.
After church mass the townspeople return to the plaza where they receive gifts thrown from the many balconies around the main square. That afternoon a richly adorned statue the Virgin Carmen is carried from the church through the streets and plazas of Paucartambo leading the many wildly costumed dance groups.
In a ceremony reminiscent of the ancestral Andean cult of the dead, the colorful dancers make their way to the cemetery. In their songs, as well as recalling their ancestors, they remind themselves of their own mortality. That afternoon an effigy of the Virgin is carried again through the narrow streets to the colonial bridge at the edge of town,
where a moving song of farewell is performed.
Taking advantage of the Virgin's absence,
the devil-masked Saqras invade the main plaza
for the ritual battle between the
Qolla and Chuncho dance groups.
Dancers fill the streets for the last time and in the afternoon
the Saqras carry the Virgin to the door of the church from
where she bestows her blessing on her people and closes
the festivities for another year.
Morning depart Paucartambo for Cusco for late afternoon flight to Cusco.
Cost $1395 per person
Includes all transportation from Cusco, all lodging,
all meals except in Cusco city, all fees and taxes.
Single in room is $250 more
Discount of $170 per person
if camping rather than inn is preferred (camping gear supplied)
Optional add-on excursions
July 11-13 Machu Picchu with Dolly and Alfredo $595
per person single supplement is $130.
The world’s most spectacular vista, even if you’ve seen once,
it’s worth another visit.
July 20-25 trekking to Choquequirau with Alfredo $1195 per person
single supplement is $150
Rivals Machu Picchu in its spectacular beauty; less than 3000 people per year visit these spectacular ruins.
website for Choquequirau http://www.peruandes.com/choquequirau.html please note that some of the trails
used to access Choquequirau have recently changed due to landslides and erosion and may change
again for 2015.
Choquequirau ruins surrounded by glaciated peaks, spectacular waterfalls and raging rivers