Cultural Expedition – Paucartambo Festival and Manu High Jungle – July 16th to 21st

A Glimpse into Peruvian Heritage and a Dive into Manu National Jungle!

Our five-day Cultural Expedition is for the lucky few who are able to be in the Cusco Region during the St. Carmen Festival and also those who want to experience the Peruvian high jungle. We time our tour to spend the first day in the city of Paucartambo, the center of the celebrations. We will be immersed in a colorful expression of the history of the Inca and Pre-Inca peoples, watching comparsas tell vivid stories about their history with lively music and coordinated dances. A morning mass will be held, with marching bands of the Cusco region showing off their talents, and costumed characters dancing until the procession of St. Carmen in the afternoon. This is an experience like no other, and only the start of the journey!

Read our post and learn more about the Festival of St. Carmen here.

After the wild festival, prepare to witness a spectacle on the edge of the rain-forest! Paucartambo takes us close to Tres Cruces, where we will travel to spend the night. This sets us up to experience the scenery of the jungle first thing in the morning! The beauty of pure nature will surround and astound you as you witness the sun rising over the clouds and jungle trees. Trees that go for miles surrounded by plants and flowers, and a huge amount of diverse animals that call this place their home. Fresh air and beautiful sounds will relax you to an unbelievable degree while you experience an adventure that you will talk about for the rest of your life.

You will venture into the cultural zone, one of the three zones of the Manu National Park, that will award you with high mountains, breathtaking cloud forests, and the stunning rainforest. While exploring this zone, you will have the chance to experience the culture of some of the local, original communities that have endured in the wild jungle through creative agriculture and sustainable forestry. Farming and lumbering is closely controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Authorities of the Manu National Park (SERNANP). The cultural zone contains a vast expanse of cloud forest that is home to more than 8000 species of flora, 400 species of birds, and 10 different mammals.

We enter into the low jungle via a soothing boat ride where wind will brush swiftly against your face as your eyes take in an incredible vista of the Madre de Dios river. This tour also offers the chance to float on the serene Machuwasi lake on handmade crafts of local balsa wood where you will get to see and hear some of the gorgeous birds that live nearby. Enjoy a pleasant hike through a forest of giant Ceiba trees, where you will see a tree that is more than 400 years old. You are guaranteed to experience the wonders of the Manu forest with this remarkable tour.

Minimum number of participants: 3

Tour Itinerary

  • Day 2: TRES CRUCES - BAMBU LODGE

  • Day 1: CUSCO - NINAMARCA - PAUCARTAMBO FESTIVAL - TRES CRUCES

    The first day of the tour starts early in the morning, leaving from the beautiful city of Cusco before sunrise. We drive about 2-2.5 hours to catch the sun rising over the ancient cemetery of Ninamarca. We will witness this beautiful site and explore the 30 pre-Inca chullpas, small towers constructed to hold and honor the mummies of deceased nobles. From there, we continue a short while to the town of Paucartambo. This will be on the 16th, which is the main day of the festival of St. Carmen and the most popular day to visit. We will observe the mass of St. Carmen, and all the colorful characters proceeding into the church, watch choreographed dances to lively music, and taste the best food the festival has to offer. Be ready to see things you’ve never seen before, in the beautiful town of Paucartambo! After our time at the festival, we will head to the axis of the high jungle, Tres Cruces. Here we will spend the night and get ready for a beautiful sunrise.

    Max altitude: 11811 ft (3600 m) above sea level
    Overnight stay at Tres Cruces

    We start the morning at Tres Cruces, our passage point into the cloud forest of Manu. Luckily, by waking up here, we will be able to see a magnificent view of the sun rising over the rainforest. After we finish breakfast we start our adventure into Manu National Park. We will stop along the road and do short treks were we will watch birds and hopefully see monkeys climbing the trees! You will be amazed by the endless sea of green the forest will offer.

    At around 1:30 we will arrive at the peaceful Bambu Lodge where we will have electricity and, therefore, a chance to recharge any equipment like cameras you might have brought. After enjoying a short break we be served dinner at about 6:00 pm. If you are feeling adventurous, when the night settles in we will go for a walk nearby the lodge. The nightlife of the jungle brings out animals you are unlikely to see during the day, if we are “lucky” we might even find a tarantula or two.

    We will rest at the lodge for the night and enjoy the pleasant sounds of the wild while we drift off to a replenishing sleep.

    Max altitude: 11811 ft (3600 m) above sea level
    Overnight stay at the Bambu Lodge

  • Day 3: BAMBU LODGE - ATALAYA - SOGA DE ORO & MACHUWASI LAKE

    We wake up bright and early today for a delicious 5:00 am breakfast!  At 5:30 am we depart from the Bambu Lodge and begin traveling to the small port town of Atalaya. On our way their we will stop at a local market were you can by some food and drink. You can even cut your own coconut, if you can manage it! Arriving In Atalaya we will unpack our things and load them up on a long boat.

    A local will take us by boat along the sublime Madre De Dios river for about 40 minutes. We will arrive at the Soga de Oro lodge and unpack and take a brief rest before we get back on the boat. From the lodge we will travel over to another part of the jungle where will will hike for about 2 hours. During the hike we will come upon the lagoon of Machuwasi lake. Stepping onto a flat raft made of balsa wood obtained from the local jungle trees, we gently float along the lake and take in the calm nature that surrounds us. Several birds should be perched along the lake, making calls and sounds while we watch them. Don’t forget your binoculars!

    After enjoying Machuwasi, we will be served lunch at around 1:30 pm. Once we have digested our delectable lunch, we will make take a short walk to the river where we can swim and rinse off. The river will feel incredible after you have been in the heat and humidity that is a natural part the jungle.

    Fully refreshed, we venture into the jungle in search of more animals, in particular the tapir. The tapir is a very unique looking animal that looks similar in some ways to a pig and has a small, flexible trunk. These herbivores enjoy the water and are excellent swimmers, just be sure to approach them slowly as they can easily scare and run away.

    At around 7:00 pm we will enjoy dinner and then have free time to explore before we call it a night and go to bed.

    Max altitude: 2130 ft (650 m) above sea level
    Overnight stay at Soga de Oro

  • Day 4: SOGA DE ORO - CEIBA FOREST - ATALAYA - BAMBU LODGE

    An early morning adventure starting at 5:00 takes us by boat to the Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick! Here we should find a variety of Macaws (parrots) that are clinging to a cliff of clay that contains several minerals thought to be important to the bird’s digestion and health. Flocks of these birds will fly here in the early morning for reasons that researchers are still studying.

    Arriving back at the lodge, we will have lunch at around 7:30 am. Afterwards, we journey to a forest of giant Ceiba Trees that will tower over you. These trees are ancient and some have been around for more than 400 years. The center of our 2 hour hike will present us with one of the oldest trees in the jungle, which has a trunk that is several feet thick with roots swelling above the ground, so that when you stand in between them they will come above your waist. The vastness and ancient nature of the jungle will provide you with a truly humbling experience.

    We arrive back a the Soga de Oro lodge at about 1:00 pm where we are served lunch. Then we travel by boat for 40 minutes back to Atalaya and drive for approx. 40 minutes to an animal sanctuary. Monkeys, macaws, and other animals will be living here happily under the care of some very kind people. You will have the chance to see these wonderful animals up close and even get to interact with them! From here we will proceed towards a small community where we will meet locals and have the opportunity to do some shopping for textiles and clothes made from materials obtained from the surrounding jungle!

    Finally, we will arrive back at the Bambu lodge at about 5:30 pm. After a short break we will have dinner at around 7:00 pm. The rest of the night is yours to explore or rest before the last day of the tour.

    Max altitude: 2130 ft (650 m) above sea level
    Overnight stay at the Bambu Lodge

  • Day 5: BAMBU LODGE - CUSCO

    On the final day of our tour, we will have breakfast at 6:00 am before we start our trip back to Cusco. Along the road to Tres Cruces we will take a few stops to do some short treks and try to see even more animals. We will be keeping a sharp eye out for anything that moves, so have your camera ready!

    We will stop on the road around 12:00 pm for lunch and arrive back in Cusco between 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

    Max altitude: 11811 ft (3600 m) above sea level

    Your “Manu Cultural Zone Expedition” tour will end this day in Cusco. If you would like to stay in the Cusco region or Peru longer and explore more, feel free to contact us. We are happy to modify our tours so that they meet your tastes and expectations.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

GROUPS

Our tours are customized for small groups starting from a minimum of 2 persons, unless it is specified otherwise in the description of the tour.   

We can provide a tour guide in these languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Polish, etc. as required.

All our tours are aimed for people in good physical and mental condition. Some tours require better physical condition than others, please check the tour details. Before booking the tour you are obligated to mention any health problems, including allergies, you have had in the past.

TRANSPORTATION

All road transportation within Peru is included in our tours. Both the “Standard” and “Premium” price of the tour includes private transfers by car (depending on the amount of participants in your group, the size of the car will differ) and in some cases by bus and/or by train. In the case of the tours to the ruins Machu Picchu there is a public, touristic train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo; and a public, touristic bus from Aguas Calientes to the ruins of Machu Picchu.

International flights are not included. Depending on the tour you choose, some domestic flights may be included if specified. Always, before booking your tour please carefully check and review the chosen tour’s page with the “Included” or “Not Included” lists located near the bottom of the page.

If you would prefer to travel by public transportation and decrease the cost of your tour we are able to accommodate this in the case of private group. Please before booking,  ask for this option.

ACCOMMODATION

The price of the “Standard” tour includes accommodation of double rooms in hostels, except in some parts of certain tours where you will be provided with a homestay.

NOTEhostels are not hotels.

The price of the “Premium” tour includes accommodations of double rooms in 3* hotels, except in some parts of certain tours where you will be provided with a homestay.

NOTE3hotels in Peru are likely to be more basic than the equivalent of European or North American standards.

Homestays are very basic and usually will not provide a suite bathrooms or hot water. Hostels in some trails/parts of the tours are very basic; however, most include private bathrooms, but with no hot water.

We are able to provide single rooms and a higher standard of hotel for an extra fee – please let us know if this is your preference at the time of your booking. Where an itinerary states that you will be staying in a ´basic hostel´or ´homestay´ it is unlikely that there are other accommodation options. If you would prefer not to stay in these places then we can adjust the tour accordingly, but this will mean missing out on that particular location. Similarly, we are able to provide accommodation exclusively in hostels and homestays, which will result in a decrease of the tour fee and will provide you with deeper, local experiences. Please advise us of any desired changes as soon as possible before booking.

MEALS

Breakfasts are generally included in the accommodation. Unless otherwise specified in the tour itinerary, lunch and dinner are not included in the tour price.

PRICES

Our prices are “all inclusive” as much as possible. Nevertheless, some excursions, visits or activities cannot be included in order to adapt and accommodate appropriately to each traveler.

Please read carefully the “Included” and “Not Included” information located near the bottom of each tour page, and consult the ´Itinerary´ tab for information about optional/non-included excursions.

The prices of our tours may vary during the high tourist season (April to November) when some rates can increase.

MACHU PICCHU

For Machu Picchu, there is a discount of USD $20 for students who send us a scanned copy of their Student University card via email during the booking process and who then bring their original, valid Student University card with them for the trip (without a valid Student University card, you would not only lose the discount, but also the possibility to explore the ruins since you would not get permission for entrance). Peruvian citizens have to indicate DNI number during booking process and bring valid DNI for the tour to receive the discount of USD $20. Peruvian students have to send a scan of their student card during the booking process and bring a valid document with them for the tour. In both of the above-mentioned situations, if you do not show the valid document(s) at the entrance to Machu Picchu, you will not be granted entrance and will not have the chance to explore the ruins .

BOLETO TURISTICO

In all of our tours that take more than 2 days, a Boleto Turistico is included. It is a special kind of the ticket that provides access to a number of attractions in the Cusco Region including the ruins at Pisac, Chinchero, Moray and Ollantaytambo as well as certain sites within Cusco city. The Boleto Turistico is valid for 10 days.

RESERVATIONS & PAYMENT

To book any tour, first we need to confirm its availability for your specific date. Then we need to receive an advance reservation payment (65% of the total price) according to the current price of the tour. We will also need to have your full details including your full name (including surname), passport number, nationality and date of birth (no errors). If there are any errors in the above mentioned details the company is not responsible for any invalid tickets due to misinformation from the participant. This information is necessary to book the appropriate entrance tickets on your behalf and if there are any errors with the information you provide, the tickets are invalid. In order to reserve tours we need a copy of each participant’s passport valid for at least 6 months after the planned travel date. Please note that your reservation is not confirmed until we receive these elements.

We require clients to pay the remainder of the fee one day before the start of the tour.

CANCELLATION POLICY

From the date of reservation payment (65% of the total price) until 29 days before the tour begins: Cancellation fee of 30% of the paid amount.

From 28 days before the tour begins until 15 days before the tour begins: Cancellation fee of 50 % of the paid amount.

From 14 days before the tour begins or in the case of a no-show: Cancellation fee of 100% of the paid amount.

Cancellations are deemed to be executed when a written email cancellation confirmation from the client to the agency is received. Cancellation deadlines and fees may vary depending on group size, route and dates.

Any additional charges incurred (including, among others, bank transfers of payment) will be covered by the client and will be discounted from the reservation payment.

VACCINATIONS & INSURANCE

Before traveling, you should always check current information about required vaccines and contact your doctor that is specialized in this field. We recommend you to take the vaccine against yellow fever at least one week before your travel, especially if you are planning to visit the Peruvian jungle.

Please note that to participate in any of our tours you have to have valid travel insurance, which can sometimes require insurance from high risk and adventure activities if you are going to do them. Please check the regulations and exclusions of your insurance company, especially if you are planning on trekking in the high mountains or doing adventure sports. Travel insurance is not included in the price of our tours.

LIMITED RESPOSIBILITY & FORCE MAJEURE

FORCE MAJEURE is any event that DASPE TRAVEL E.I.R.L. could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid or predict. This includes among others events such as weather conditions, physical condition of the participants or their behaviors like: drinking alcohol, taking forbidden substances, and other unpredictable situations, including: loss, theft, injury, accidents, strikes, protests, any flight/train/buses delays or cancellations, any flight/buses/train problems, political disputes, war or threat, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, disease, disaster or adverse weather conditions, fire or all similar events beyond our control. In all of these cases of FORCE MAJEURE, DASPE TRAVEL E.I.R.L. will not accept any liability or responsibility and reserves the right to change, postpone or even cancel, even in the last moment, any part of the tour or the whole tour package. In these kind of situations, DASPE TRAVEL E.I.R.L. is not liable or responsible for additional expenses that the client may incur. In all these cases there are no refunds.

In the case of any FORCE MAJEURE, it may be necessary to leave a day or even 2 days earlier than scheduled so that we are able to comply with other services. In this case, an increment will be charged to cover costs incurred.

RISKS

By booking any of our adventure trips (Inka Trail to Machu Picchu, Salkantay, Ausangate, Inka Jungle, Choquekirao, Lares, Vilcabamba trek, Santa Cruz trek, etc.) you assume and accept the risks associated with them. For these risks and any of their associated damages incurred by the client DASPE TRAVEL E.I.R.L. will not accept any liability or responsibility. In all these cases there are no refunds.

ACCLIMATIZATION TO HIGH ALTITUDE

For all of our adventure tours in Arequipa, Cusco or Puno region (biking, trekking, climbing or similar) we strongly suggest staying at high altitude (above 9840 feet / 3000 meters – in Cusco or another high altitude city/place) for at least 3 to 4 days before undertaking the trip. This is in order to minimize the effects of possible altitude sickness. Also, you can help your body acclimatize by drinking plenty of liquids, adding a bit more sugar to your drinks, eating food rich in carbohydrates, avoiding cigarettes / alcohol and drinking muña and coca (ancient traditional leaf) tea. Please before coming to the places with high altitude, ask your doctor about this topic and all possible medicine/medication you can take in the case of any problems caused by high altitude.

CHECK SOME IMPORTANT POINTS

As the Festival of St. Carmen runs from July 15th – 19th, we only offer this tour yearly from July 16th – 21st.

Avoid unforeseen complications by arriving at the tour departure location at least one day before the beginning of the tour. Check requirements about passports and visas for entering Peru in advance.

WHAT TO BRING

Here you will find some recommendations for what kinds of items you may need on the tour:

  • A lightweight water & windproof jacket with hood
  • Sandals or thongs/ flip flops
  • Wide-brimmed hat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm, sun block with high UV factor
  • Antibacterial hand cleansing gel
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Travel plug adaptor with a USB port
  • Camera
  • Personal medication, if required
  • Insect repellent
  • Small backpack for day trips
  • Warm jacket and pullover
  • Gloves, hat and scarf
  • Comfortable trekking trousers
  • Flash light
  • Original and copy of your passport

Pricing Packs

Standard

Double room, Breakfast
$ 670
  • Hostels
  • 24/7 Customer Support
BOOK NOW!

Premium

Double room, Breakfast, Airport Transfers
$ 980
  • 3 Stars Hotels
  • 24/7 Customer Support
BOOK NOW!
 

  • INCLUDED
  • English/Spanish speaking tour guide
  • Accommodation: 4 nights
  • 5 x Breakfast, 5 x Lunch, 4 x Dinner
  • Private transport by car to the attractions
  • Transport by boat on the river
  • Water (Rubber) Boots
  • Entrance Ticket to Machuwasi lake
  • Entrance Ticket to the CEIBA (giant tree)
  • Entrance Ticket to Animal Sanctuary
  • Entrance Ticket to Cock of the Rock observatory
  • NOT INCLUDED
  • Lunch & Dinner (unless specified in itinerary)
  • Travel insurance (Obligatory)
  • Tips

Before booking any tour we require all clients to carefully consult both the Itinerary and Terms tabs above.

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published.