Top 20 Festivals In Peru - Updated 2021

festivals in peru
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Celeste
Updated

During a visit to Peru, visitors can step back in time to when the Incan empire was at its height, by traveling to the sacred Andean city of Machu Picchu aboard gentle llamas. Adventure seekers will enjoy taking riverboat excursions along the mighty Amazon River or hiking through the Amazon rainforest filled with anacondas, panthers, monkeys, and other fascinating wildlife. History lovers will enjoy visiting Lima and Cusco to check out the colonial architecture and archaeological sites along with vibrant festivals held throughout the year. Make certain to check out the following list of the top festivals in Peru, to join the locals in joy-filled celebrations filled with traditional dancing, elaborate costumes, and delicious cuisine. As you enjoy yourself in these festivals, make sure that you have a comfortable place to rest your head on after by staying in one of the best Airbnb and other vacation rentals in the country.

1. Inti Raymi

INTI RAYMI - IMBABURA (35347846272)
Source: Photo by user Agencia de Notici... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every June 24th, the Peruvian people honor the Sun god, Inti, in an elaborate religious festival on the grounds of three historical sites. Join in to witness the procession of brilliantly colored costume-clad participants make their way across the Sacsayhuaman esplanade. Wearing feathers, gold, and authentic costumes inspired by their ancient ancestors, the nearly 750 participants join together to present gift offerings to Inti. The ceremony consists of chanting and dancing to cultural music along with maidens presenting gourds to priests wearing feathered, golden headdresses, who present these as a communal sacrifice to the sun god.

Inti Raymi

Address: Cusco, Peru

Website: Inti Raymi

Takes place: June 24th

2. Santurantikuy/Santuranticuy


Stroll through the main square of Cusco on December 24th and you’ll be treated to a giant craft fair organized by the city. Join in with the locals to wander through the avenues of vendor stalls selling stone and clay crafts, dolls, religious images such as nativity scenes, colorful blankets, ponchos, and much more. Artisans from the San Blas neighborhood of Cusco join together with those from across Peru to sell their culturally influenced wares on this day. Drop by Plaza Major to pick up some unique souvenirs and gift ideas during Santuranticuy.

Santurantikuy/Santuranticuy

Address: Cusco, Peru

Website: Santurantikuy

Takes place: December

3. Candelaria Festival

Candelaria Festival
Source: Pixabay

During the first day of this lively celebration honoring the Virgin of Candelaria, the shores of Lake Titicaca come alive with music and dancing throughout the streets of Puno. Enjoy watching the more than 200 dancing and music groups combined join together to celebrate the activities related to the agricultural and mining activities of the region. Dance along to the music featuring flutes, drums with iridescent covers, horns, etc, while furry gorilla and bull costumed participants make their way down the parade route. Admire the beautiful satin and sequinned cheerleader costumed dancers with rainbow tassels adorning their braids marching through the street alongside band members with feather accented blue costumes and dancers with llama emblazoned hats. Get your party hat on, and join the fun at this Peru music festival.

Candelaria Festival

Address: Puno, Peru

Website: Candelaria Festival

Takes place: February

4. Mistura Culinary Festival

Campo de Marte MISTURA 2012 Lima Peru 005
Source: Photo by user Ianyou78 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Make certain to attend Latin America’s largest food festival which encompasses the coastal road connecting seven of Lima’s main neighborhoods. While meandering through hundreds of stands, make certain to sample as much of the country’s regionally diverse cuisines cooked up by globally known Peruvian and international chefs alongside street vendors who’ve traveled cross country to showcase their culinary creations. Eat to the beat while taking in culturally diverse performances as you visit the market stalls to sample fresh lucuma and tuna along with freshly baked bread. Indulge in generous servings of sweet treats including tres leches, alfjores, and picarones after tasting Asian infused Peruvian dishes created by Peru’s Chinese and Japanese chefs.

Mistura Culinary Festival

Address: Lima, Peru

Takes place: September

5. Trujillo Marinera Festival

Marinera trujillo
Source: Photo by user MaSii used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Although the main focus is on the National Marinera Competition featuring competitive dancers from across Peru, the festival complements the event with parades and horse competitions as well. Trujillo has been acknowledged by the Peruvian government as the National Capital of Peru’s national dance, the Marinera. Enjoy watching the detailed choreography which changes, technique-wise, as a result of which Peruvian region the dancers hail from. During this Peru festival and holiday, you can admire the beautifully designed dresses worn by the female dancers as they glide across the parquet floor alongside the poncho-clad male dancers imitating horse riders.

Trujillo Marinera Festival

Address: Gran Chimú Coliseum, Trujillo, Peru

Website: Trujillo Marinera Festival

Takes place: January

6. Procession of the Lord of Miracles

SMilagrosLince20090002
Source: Photo by user Miguel Angel Chong used under CC BY 3.0

The Catholic religious procession honoring the Lord of Miracles, Jesus Christ, can be traced back to the 18th century after an earthquake nearly destroyed the city leaving only the mural intact in the church. Since the people considered this to be a truly miraculous occurrence that saw them saved by the Grace of God, they have celebrated the event with a procession each October. The attendees dress in purple robes to signify their allegiance to Christ as priests carry the relic of Jesus through the streets. Nuns dressed in black robes and white lace veils join the procession as it slowly moves through the crowded streets accompanied by religious hymns.

Procession of the Lord of Miracles

Address: Lima, Peru

Takes place: October

7. Festival of the Crosses

Fiesta del Cruz Velacuy, Cusco, Peru
Source: Photo by user Dimitry B. used under CC BY 2.0

This Peruvian event combines the ancient Incan celebration honoring Mother Earth, for a rich harvest along with the Spanish May Crosses Festival introduced by Spanish conquistadors. Since the Spanish didn’t succeed in eradicating all native religious customs, the festival merged both the native and Catholic customs to create a celebration that takes place each May in Peru’s highland communities. In the celebration held in Cusco, soldiers in camouflage with weapons in hand along with a marching band of officers wearing olive-green uniforms, lead the procession through the main square. Participants carry large crosses decorated with flowers while men wearing feathered headdresses and colorful costumes adorned with monkey pelts dance along to traditional music.

Festival of the Crosses

Address: Cusco, Peru

Website: Festival of the Crosses

Takes place: May

8. Saint Rose of Lima Day

St Rose of Lima Carnival 2011
Source: Photo by user Ines Hegedus-Garcia used under CC BY 2.0

The day is celebrated by Peruvians to honor Sister Isabel Flores de Oliva who received the honorary title of Saint Rose of Lima by the Catholic Church. This devout woman made an impact in Lima during the 17th century by her compassionate deeds of caring for the sick and needy at her own cost. During the festival honoring her self-sacrificing life dedicated to helping others, a procession is led through the streets of Lima featuring a relic of her likeness adorned with roses. Afterward, children write prayers requesting miracles on Saint Rose embossed note pads, which are then dropped into the hermitage’s well that she constructed herself.

Saint Rose of Lima's Day

Address: Lima, Peru

Website: Saint Rose of Lima’s Day

Takes place: August 30th

9. Feast of the Lord of the Tremors of Cusco

festivals in peru | feast of the lord of the tremors of cusco
Source: jualeno on Instagram

The origins of this religious celebration can be traced back to 1650 when Cusco experienced a large earthquake which ceased when the painting of Christ was raised heavenward while worshippers offered prayers. Today, the mural hangs in the Cathedral of Cusco which was constructed on the grounds of the ancient temple of Ila Tiskse Wiracocha Apu, where it resided prior to the quake. The religious procession makes its way through the street, led by men in red suits carrying the large relic of Jesus which has been blackened due to incense offerings. During Easter Week, the devout stand in reverence while the image of the Lord of the Earthquakes, adorned with red foil tassels, travels through the streets along to religious songs before being offered upon the altar of salvia flowers.

Feast of the Lord of the Tremors of Cusco

Address: Cusco, Peru

Website: Feast of the Lord of the Tremors of Cusco

Takes place: April

10. Feast of the Virgin of Carmen

Virgen del Carmen - Paucartambo Peru
Source: Photo by user Tipene78 used under CC BY 3.0

Participants descend from the hilltops wearing wolf-face masks with hairstyles reminiscent of 80s hairbands to start the festival off. As the parade makes its way down the assigned route, dancers wearing full skirts and porcelain doll masks are accompanied by clowns, black-faced participants, and other celebrants wearing llama pelts. The crowds are kept in order by participants carrying whips while revelry abounds into the evening hours. Brilliant fireworks resembling pinwheels spin feverishly midair as the Virgin of Carmen is lifted high above the crowds on the final evening of this holiday celebration in Peru.

Feast of the Virgin of Carmen

Address: Paucartambo, Peru

Takes place: July 16th

11. Puno Week

Puno Week
Source: Pixabay

This lively celebration starts off from the shores of Lake Titicaca where legend has it that chief Manco Cápac and Mama Oclio rose from the holy waters of the lake to found the mighty Incan Empire. As the procession makes its way down the parade route to the city stadium, music fills the air along with lively cultural dancing. Female participants wear costumes resembling colorful satin cheerleader outfits with sequins while the men wear shiny stain cowboy-esque uniforms adorned with ornate embroidery. There are speeches by local government officials that accompany the celebrations which are accompanied by music, dancing, and plenty of eating and drinking.

Puno Week

Address: Puno, Peru

Website: Puno Week

Takes place: November

12. The Vendimia International Festival

Fiesta de Vendimia
Source: Photo by user LuxoDresden used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Join this fun-filled culinary event that celebrates the harvest of the grapes grown in Ica’s vineyards, since the time the Spanish explorers brought grapes to the New World in the 1500s. During this enigmatic celebration, enjoy indulging in Peru’s culinary scene accompanied by award-winning wines produced in the valley surrounding Ica. Browse at the stands of local vendors selling all sorts of products while listening to uplifting traditional music. Relax while watching the contestants for the Wine Queen pageant dance vigorously on stage before crowning a winner and the queen stomps the grapes using her bare feet as a winepress in a large barrel releasing the juice.

The Vendimia International Festival

Address: Ica, Peru

Takes place: March

13. Corpus Christi

Statue of Santa Ana being carried from the Catedral del Cusco, Peru, for the Corpus Christi procession - 24 July 2012
Source: Photo by user David Stanley used under CC BY 2.0

On the main day of the festival, the ornately decorated Saints and Virgins are paraded through the crowd of onlookers surrounding the Plaza de Armas before entering the Cathedral. During the procession of the 10 saints and 5 virgins, marching bands perform folk music to accompany the images elevated on platforms adorned by beautiful floral arrangements. Corpus Christi is celebrated 60 days after Easter Sunday and is Peru’s largest religious festival. Join with the devoted crowds in revering their saints over a dish of roasted guinea pig with corn, peppers, cheese, caviar, sausage, chicken, and corn tortillas.

Corpus Christi

Address: Cusco, Peru

Website: Corpus Christi

Takes place: May/June

14. Independence Day/Fiestas Patrias

BANDA CONJUNTA DE LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS DEL PERÚ ENSAYA PARA CELEBRACIONES DE FIESTAS PATRIAS
Source: Photo by user Galeria del Minis... used under CC BY 2.0

Parties and celebrations commemorating Peru’s independence from Spain by General José de San Martin in 1821, are held throughout the country. Throughout villages and Peru’s larger cities, flags fly high accompanied by musical performances in major squares and parks. The Peruvian President joins in the festival which includes horse exhibitions and bullfighting. On the final day, troops in camouflage make their way down the parade route alongside servicemen and women of the past and present followed by impressive tanks.

Independence Day/Fiestas Patrias

Address: Lima, Peru

Website: Independence Day/Fiestas Patrias

Takes place: July 28th/29th

15. Battle of Angamos

MINISTRO DE DEFENSA PARTICIPÓ EN CEREMONIA POR ANIVERSARIO DEL COMBATE DE ANGAMOS (10160137236)
Source: Photo by user Galeria del Minis... used under CC BY 2.0

Each October 8th, Peru holds military parades where naval officers in navy and red uniforms march in the procession throughout the country. The celebration commemorates the heroic efforts of Admiral Miguel Grau and his servicemen in defeating the Chilean navy during the Battle of Angamos. Peruvian government officials give speeches honoring the heroism of those involved in the War of the Pacific which lasted from 1879-1883. The Peruvian navy won the dispute between the two nations over controlling the mineral-rich Atacama Desert after a grueling years-long battle to claim possession over the region.

Battle of Angamos

Address: Lima, Peru

Takes place: October 8th

16. Easter Week

Peru - Cusco 026 - Easter procession (7084826215)
Source: Photo by user McKay Savage used under CC BY 2.0

During this special week celebrated by Catholics worldwide, Peruvians commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Easter Week, the streets are filled with vendors selling religious symbols and traditional cuisine. The streets are packed with adherents as various processions pass through Lima’s Historic Center accompanied by hymns. The Good Friday procession, led by a statue of Jesus on the stake, finishes up a week of religious festivities and numerous masses held in Lima’s various cathedrals.

Easter Week

Address: Lima, Peru

Website: Easter Week

Takes place: March/April

17. Carnival

Camana carnaval des huachanacos en2011 (2)
Source: Photo by user Pierre André Lecl... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

During this joyous festival, streets are filled with celebrants throughout Peru to join in the festivities of Carnival known as Mardi Gras in North America. As the parade makes its way through the streets, male and female participants dance along to traditional music while waving colorful banners. Adding to the joyousness of the festival atmosphere include participants dressed in furry bull costumes, elaborate dragon masks, and those dressed in costumes designed to resemble eagles. Female participants add to the beauty by wearing angle winged costumes, colorful traditional dresses, and gold satin dresses while twirling along to the music of marching bands.

Carnival

Address: Puno, Peru

Website: Carnival

Takes place: February

18. Quyllurit'i or Qoyllur R'it

Qoyllur R'Iti Cross 1
Source: Photo by user AgainErick used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The journey to take in the Snow Festival is an extremely arduous one since it requires hiking through mountain passes and valleys for hours on all types of terrain. Once the more than 10,000 have arrived in Sinakara, located high up in the Andes Mountains, the festivities begin, accompanied by much dancing and singing. The procession is filled with participants waving flags and dressed in a variety of colorful costumes, who make their way to the bottom of Ausangate Mountain to worship an image of an infant Jesus.

Quyllurit'i or Qoyllur R'iti

Address: Sinakara, Peru

Website: Quyllurit'i or Qoyllur R'it

Takes place: May/June

19. Reyes Magos

Reyes Magos 2014
Source: Photo by user Ondando used under CC BY-SA 3.0

During this festival honoring the Three Wise Men who traveled far and wide to present gifts to an infant Jesus, the city is filled with joyful participants and onlookers. Children dressed in feathery halos and angels wings accompany men in beige uniforms on horseback, guarding the Three Wise Men. The procession stops before a nativity scene where the men take out treasure chests of valuables and present them to Jesus alongside Mary and Joseph. After the parade has finished and music still fills the air throughout the streets, the Wise Men make time to greet and take selfies with onlookers.

Reyes Magos

Address: Lima, Peru

Takes place: January 6th

20. All Saints' Day

Celebración de Todos los Santos, cementerio de la Santa Cruz, Gniezno, Polonia, 2017-11-01, DD 19-30 PAN HDR
Source: Photo by user Diego Delso used under CC BY-SA 4.0

On All Saints Day, families throughout Peru take time to visit cemeteries to honor their dead loved ones by cleaning their tombstones and laying floral crowns on them. During the commemorative observance, residents join together in sharing traditional cuisines while watching dancers in vibrantly, colored cultural dress perform along to Peruvian folk music. The festivities continue through into the evening where the soft glow of candles light up the night sky as vigils are held to honor deceased loved ones into the following dawn.

All Saints' Day

Address: Peru

Website: All Saints’ Day

Takes place: November 1st, 2nd

Visit the land of the Incas

Before the Spanish set foot on South America and pillaged the land of its valuable gold and other precious metals, ancient Incans thrived in mountain, coastal, and inland empires. After visiting Machu Picchu and its friendly llamas and Lima with its colonial architecture, join in the vibrant festivals of Corpus Christi, Carnival, and the Vendimia International Wine Festival. Don’t leave the vibrant culture of Peru before attending one of the country’s numerous lively festivities full of singing, dancing, and delicious cuisine.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Writer living in British Columbia who loves to travel and explore new destinations. I also enjoy engaging in new activities during my travels such as Hydrospeeding in France. Solo travelled to...Read more

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