Whatever time of year it is, Peru loves a good celebration. With a culture that relishes music and dance, it isn’t much of a surprise that the calendar is always filled with different festivals and events all over the country. For those of you wondering what to do in Peru every month of the year, we offer you our list of Peru’s best festivals. If you’re lucky enough, hopefully your travels through beautiful Peru will also include witnessing one of these remarkable cultural celebrations to give you a real taste of the country’s traditions!
El Senor de los Milagros
This festival, The Lord of the Miracles, venerates a painting of Jesus Christ done by a slave that is believed to have protected the entire city from the devastating 1746 earthquake. It happens every October with the largest procession in all of South America taking place in the streets of Lima. The tens of thousands of participants, dressed in all purple, cross the city of their knees to pay tribute. With related events spread out over a couple weeks, this is a great thing to see if you’re in Lima in October.
The Festival of the Sun takes over the city of Cusco every winter solstice (usually the last week of June) in honor of the Inca sun god. The ruins of Sacsayhuaman are transformed into a theater as participants celebrate with colorful costumes, traditional music and folkloric dance. Anyone visiting Peru in June should not miss this.
The first week of every November this festival takes over the town of Puno in celebration of Peru’s Amerindian roots. Beginning with the start of the Inca empire, performers in full costume dance through the streets, acting out the history of the country from the start of the Inca Empire. Puno is known for being the folkloric capital of the country, and this is its ultimate event of the year.
Virgen del Carmen
The tiny Andean village of Paucartambo is usually quiet for most of the year- except from July 15th-17th when it erupts in celebration honoring the Virgen del Carmen. With three days of dancing, music, and drinking, it makes up one of Peru’s largest street parties and is part of a festival-filled July in Peru.
Semana Santa, Holy Week, is widely celebrated throughout Latin America and Peru each April. The city of Ayacucho sees the largest Holy Week event in the entire country, with processions, vigils, and religious processions taking place from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. Generally a big holiday week in the country, this is one of the most popular things to do in Peru in April for locals and foreigners alike.
The festival of Carnaval in February is another International one- if you’re celebrating in Peru, then you won’t want to miss the unique festivities in Cajamarca, called the “Capital of Peruvian Carnaval”. With one of the most traditional and colorful celebrations in South America, you can expect to see some of the most elaborate costumes, liveliest music, and join in on this joyful celebration with all the locals. Every day is full of different activities and performances leading up to Ash Wednesday.
While not as traditional as the others, Mistura is Lima’s internationally-acclaimed food festival every September or October. In fact, it’s the largest food festival in all of Latin America! Taking place for a week, you’ll find almost every restaurant in the city setting up shop and selling several of the top dishes, farmers markets for every type of food, culinary expos, and a beer garden that goes late into the night. In a country renowned for its cuisine, this festival doesn’t disappoint.
Last, but certainly not least, Peruvian Independence Day! Celebrating on July 28th and 29th, the festivities take place all over the country, but the wildest are usually in Lima. Expect fireworks, parades, fairs and a lot of Peruvian pride!
Determined to catch one (or more!) of these spectacular festivals? Make sure to start planning a bit ahead as they’re most travelers favorite things to see during these months. But with just a little foresight you can make sure the crowds don’t impact you seeing any of the things you want to!
Coming in December, January, March or May and wondering what activities will be taking place during those months? Speak with our travel specialists about the events taking place in the destinations you hope to visit and we’ll help you plan to visit one of the many other festivals Peru hosts! You can contact our travel specialists for help making these travel arrangements here.