Only 5km from Maimará along the RN-9 you are treated to your first glimpse of the great pre-Inca pukará, or fortress, of TILCARA. Just beyond it is the side road off to the village itself. At an altitude of just under 3000m and yet still dominated by the dramatic mountains that surround it, this is one of the biggest settlements along the Quebrada and the only one on the east bank; it lies just off the main road, where the Río Huasomayo runs into the Río Grande. The pleasant, easy-going village is always very lively, but even more so during Carnival. Like the rest of the Quebrada, it also celebrates El Enero Tilcareño, a procession and feast held during the latter half of January, Holy Week, and Pachamama, or the Mother Earth festival, in August. The festivities feature wild games, music, noisy processions and frenzied partying. If you dislike crowds and have not booked accommodation well ahead, though, then these times are best avoided.

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