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.