Join Peru program director Kirsten Gardner on this escorted Peru trekking adventure to Machu Picchu and the Quechua village of Paucartambo to participate in the lively Virgen del Carmen festival. The Machu Picchu Mountain Lodges Trek is a physical, cultural, and spiritual journey along ancient footpaths through the high Andes en route to the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu. We will trek to Machu Picchu in comfort and style, hiking along a spectacular route in the Cordillera Vilcabamba under towering snow-capped peaks dominated by Mt. Salkantay (20,574), the sacred Apu of local Quechua communities you encounter along the way. By night we stay in full-service lodges offering unprecedented comfort high in the Andes on the way to Machu Picchu.
The Virgen del Carmen Festival is one of the most authentic native religious celebrations in the Andes that blends pre-Columbian pagan rites and Roman Catholic traditions in a colorful and lively performance of parading and dancing. On July 16th the statue of the Virgin del Carmen, the patron saint of Paucartambo, is carried in procession through the town. Costumed devils donning startling colorful masks dance on balconies and rooftops, creating a surreal enactment of ancient Andean spiritual traditions as the dancers act out the eternal struggle between good and evil. After the festival, travelers can return to Cusco for a homeward departure or opt to extend their trip into the Amazon lowlands of Peru’s Manu National Park and Biosphere region on a 7-night journey led by Kirsten.