Tres Cruces

Amazon Basin

About two hours beyond Paucartambo is the extraordinary jungle view at Tres Cruces, a lookout off the Paucartambo–Shintuya road. The sight of the mountains dropping away into the Amazon Basin is gorgeous in itself, but is made more magical by the sunrise phenomenon that occurs from May to July (other months are cloudy), especially around the winter solstice on June 21. The sunrise here gets optically distorted, causing double images, halos and an incredible multicolored light show.

At this time of year, many travel agencies and outdoor adventure outfitters run sunrise-watching trips from Cuzco. During Paucartambo’s Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen, minibuses run back and forth between Paucartambo and Tres Cruces all night long. You can also take a truck en route to Pillcopata and ask to be let off at the turnoff to Tres Cruces (a further 13km walk). Alternatively, ask around in Paucartambo to hire a truck. Make sure you leave in the middle of the night to catch the dawn, and take plenty of warm clothing. Camping is possible but take all your own supplies.

Tres Cruces lies (just) within the Parque Nacional Manu zona cultural but is always visited from Paucartambo.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Amazon Basin attractions

1. Amaru

22.35 MILES

If you are interested in textiles, it’s worth visiting this weaving community that’s a 40-minute trip by taxi from Pisac.

2. Pisac Ruins

25.39 MILES

A truly awesome site with relatively few tourists, this hilltop Inca citadel lies high above the village on a triangular plateau with a plunging gorge on…

3. Horno Colonial San Francisco

26.04 MILES

Huge clay ovens for baking empanadas and other goodies are found in many nooks and crannies, particularly on Mariscál Castilla. But this is the town’s…

4. Iglesia de San Pedro Apostol

26.05 MILES

Traditionally dressed locals descend from the hills to attend mass in Quechua, including men in highland dress blowing horns, and varayocs (local…

5. Mercado de Artesania

26.07 MILES

Pisac is known far and wide for its market, by far the biggest and most touristy in the region. While there are still some local arts and crafts of note,…

6. Jardín Botanico

26.08 MILES

A private enterprise with a huge courtyard full of beautiful specimens and a resident cat.

7. Museo Inkariy

28.86 MILES

This wonderful new museum takes visitors into the world of the fascinating pre-Colombian civilizations that came before the Inca. It acknowledges the…

8. Patabamba

28.99 MILES

A visit to the community of Patabamba offers a fascinating participative demonstration of the weaving process, all the way from picking the plants to…