The festivities in Paucartambo were one-of-a-kind, but weren’t done. The physiotherapist I worked with had also suggested that we make a two-hour trip from Paucartambo to a sunrise viewpoint known as Tres Cruces. This, too, was a place unknown to most international tourists and one that made my heart feel overwhelmed with satisfaction and content.
Since lodging was difficult to find in Paucartambo anyway, we decided to stay there until midnight to finish watching the dances and the fireworks and then ask a taxi driver to take us to Tres Cruces. During the Virgin of Carmen festival is when most locals make the trip out to Tres Cruces and there are cars parked near the bus station offering the best rates to make the short trip around midnight.
The car ride was surprisingly smooth (or we were too tired to notice). We arrived at the viewpoint too early, but we were paying the price for the taxi driver to stay there and wait to take us back. We took an hour nap at until 5:30 and groggily stumbled out of the car, struggling due to the lack of sleep. After thirty more grueling minutes of waiting outside in the cold of the dawn air, the sun finally made an appearance. It rose above the blanket of white, fluffy clouds that were laid out in front of us.
The sun’s rays made three crosses as it peeped out behind the horizon, which is why it is given the name Tres Cruces in Spanish. According to locals, this phenomenon only occurs in three places in the world: Peru, China and Japan. It was difficult to verify this information even through online sources, so whether it was rare or not, I’m really not sure, but it was definitely a phenomenon I have not seen before. My heart felt overwhelmed with the beauty of the view and the lack of sleep was a thing of the past.
Meeting and listening to locals led me to experience the festivities in Paucartambo and the beautiful sunrise at Tres Cruces all in one day. Had I not been out of my comfort zone, I would have never had such amazing experiences in this South American paradise.