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Package Overview

This pre-Hispanic and Catholic shrine is located southeast of Cusco at an altitude of 4878 meters (16,000 feet) beneath a glacier on Mount Sinajara. Although there are several fiestas of a religious nature in Cusco during the same period, there is no more important place in the Andes than Q’oyllor Riti. This is more than a festival; it is a , made by thousands of indigenous people who come from all over the Cusco region, often walking for days or even weeks. The celebrations are a blend of the ancient Inca religion dedicated to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, represented by the mountain, and Christianity, represented by the miraculous apparition of the image of Christ at this site in the 18th century. The rites and ceremonies performed here are of a unique nature, and represent the authentic Andean religion still practiced today in this part of Peru – a fusion of two cultures. The basic premise of the ceremonies enacted is contact between mankind and nature, represented by the mountains and water, in the form of ice, the principal elements of Andean spiritualism. Thousands of young people go to Q’oyllor Riti dressed as the mythical Ukuku, a creature that is half man and half bear. Dancing to ancient rhythms, elegantly dressed young girls make offerings and some hope to meet a husband and start a family. The Ukukus climb the glacier and bring back blocks of ice on their backs which they will take to their communities to be venerated as holy water.

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Day wise Itinerary

  • Day 1 : Cusco / Mahuallane / Q'oyllor Riti

    Leave Cusco by private transport to Mahuallane, a journey of approximately three hours through high mountain scenery.

    On route we will visit Andahuaylillas, located in the fertile river valley of the Vilcanota. The village is famous for its unique church with its beautifully decorated interior adorned with paintings and murals of great artistic value, as well as fine woodcarvings, the church has been called the Sistine Chapel of the Americas.

    The interior of the Church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas is filled with baroque art. It contains many beautiful paintings of the Cusco School. The main altar is decorated in gold leaf. The church is particularly famous for its murals, which cover every available space on its walls and ceiling.

    Hike to Q’oyllor Riti (4 hours)

    Accompanied by thousands of pilgrims, we will walk to Q’oyllor Riti. We will make camp that evening on the edge of the area where the ceremonies take place, surrounded by thousands of people who have come from all over the Cusco region. The music from hundreds of dance groups competes for attention and reverberates off the surrounding mountains, as pilgrims wait patiently to enter the crowded, candlelit chapel to see the image of Christ.


    Distance by road: Cusco – Mahuallane 127 kilometers / 78 miles (asphalted road) 3 hours

    Trekking distance: 8 kilometers / 5 miles (gradual ascent); 4-5 hours (including many stops to take pictures)

    Altitudes: Cusco: 3400 meters / 11,154 feet; Mahuayane 4083 meters / 13,392 feet; Q’oyllor Riti: 4649 meters / 15,248 feet.

    Campsite: 4600 meters / 15,088 feet

    • Meals & Drinks : Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 2 : Q'oyllor Riti Full Day

    We will have the opportunity to participate in and observe the traditional religious festivities taking place throughout the day.

    Altitudes: Q’oyllor Riti church 4649 meters / 15,248 feet. Campsite: 4600 meters / 15,088 feet

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3 : Q'oyllor Riti Full Day

    Today offers the opportunity to take an optional excursion in the early hours of the morning to the glacier to watch the ceremonies that take place there, returning before 9am.

    After breakfast we will be observe the final great ceremony, the procession of the Lord of Q’oyllor Riti, before returning to Mahuallane at midday for the drive to Cusco.

    Trekking distance to the glacier: 1.7 kilometers / 1 mile (steep ascent); 2 hours uphill and 1 hour downhill (including many stops to take pictures).

    Trekking distance, return to Mahuallane: 8 kilometers / 5 miles (gradual descent); 4 hours (including many stops to take pictures).

    Distance by road: Mahuallane – Cusco 127 kilometers / 78 miles (asphalted road) 3 hours

    Altitudes: Q’oyllor Riti: 4649 meters / 15,248 feet. Glacier: 4935 meters / 16,187 feet. Mahuayane 4083 meters / 13,392 feet; Cusco: 3400 meters / 11,154 feet.

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch.

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  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing

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Terms & Conditions

Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.

Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.

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This Tour is Offered by

Andean Adventures Peru View Profile

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About Andean Adventures Peru

Andean Adventures Peru is located in the ancient city of Cusco, at the heart of any trip to Peru. We have been offering and operating cultural, ecological and adventure travel in the Andean region and the Amazon basin since 1985. Read More...

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