Peru is a country of dramatic geographic contrasts, rich history and diverse ethnic makeup, resulting in a colorful array of festivals, especially in the Andes and Cusco region where Catholic traditions and pre-Hispanic customs combine to produce unique cultural events. Here we share information on when the best Peru festivals take place and travel advice on visiting them as part of any private, tailormade trip to Peru.
Download our full festival calendar:
Peru Festivals & When to Travel
Important and visually impressive festivals take place throughout the year in Peru. In particular, there are many local Peru festivals held in villages and towns across the country from March to September, marking the end of the rainy season whereby communities give offerings and say prayers for a good agricultural season ahead. Irrigation channels are cleaned and thanks are given to Patron Saints, to Jesus and the Madonna, or Pachamama (Mother Earth). Visiting during these months will most likely coincide with some sort of celebration – our expert travel planners will advise you when designing your private, bespoke trip to Peru.
Key Festivals in Peru
- Candelaria is a colorful festival celebrating the Virgin of Candelaria, taking place on the shores of Lake Titicaca in February
- Easter Week (Semana Santa) is filled with religious services, street events and agricutural fairs, taking place in March/April
- Señor de los Temblores is a major festival in Cusco, when the most venerated image of Christ is taken out in procession and the entire city participates in March
- Corpus Christi is Cusco’s most important religious festivity with colorful procession in May
- Señor de los Milagros is a religious procession through the streets of Lima in October
Peru Fesitvals Calendar
Our Peru festivals calendar is free to download and lists important Peru festivals and their dates. We have included the major Peru festivals that will appeal to visitors, as well as the most significant religious dates. Some of the religious dates may be celebrated with less colorful spectacle, but to see and understand the devotion with which they are celebrated is nonetheless a fascinating cultural experience.
Festival Culture in Peru
For centuries, dating as far back as 2000 B.C., Peru has been settled by developed societies with their own unique complex religions and administrations. Diverse ethnic groups lived scattered throughout the Andes, the jungles and the coast, organised in city-states, regional centres and even empires. The mixture with the Spanish and subsequent immigration from Africa, the Far East as well as Europe, has created a society that is immensely rich in culture, folklore and Peru festivals.
Visiting Peru today, you can see how people celebrate the religious and natural cycles of their age-old calendars with striking fervour. Most religious celebrations and peru festivals have a pagan undertone: the shrines to the Virgin are often the same as those to the Mother Earth and those to Christ are often related to mountain worship, or Apus, as they are called. Furthermore, Peru boasts deep traditions of folk music and dance. There is Creole music on the coast, based on guitars. Andean music and dance is found in the mountains, with the world famous panpipes. There is also Afro-Peruvian music, which is a mixture of Latin American and African beats and instruments.
Similarly, Bolivia festivals have a rich history dating back to before Christ. The neighboring country offers an additional selection of celebrations throughout the year that you can attend if you’re interested in seeing and participating in more of the region’s most significant festivals.
Visiting the best Peru Festivals with specialist guiding
Thanks to Peru’s wealth of history, expert guiding will make all the difference in understanding the historic and present-day significance of Peru’s festival culture, from seeing processions from the best vantage points, to understanding the symbolism in vibrant costumes and traditional music. Aracari connects clients with specialists in their field – such as anthropologists, who afford in-depth insight into Peruvian festivals and their traditions – as part of private tailormade trips to Peru.
Contact us today to speak to an expert travel planner for personalised travel advice, tips on visiting Peru’s festivals and for a tailormade itinerary.