Best time to go to Peru

Carnival 2024

The mix of Catholic and Inca traditions result in very special festivities

Dates: February 9–14, 2024

See accommodations nearby

Carnavales in Peru is one of the largest holidays. After the Spaniards colonized Peru, Catholic traditions merged with indigenous beliefs, and a very unique carnival was born. There are parades, music, dancing, fabulous costumes and food, while each region in Peru also has its peculiar ways to celebrate. The biggest and most popular Peru Carnavales are held in Cajamarca and Ayacucho. Lima, like many other cities across Peru, also holds its carnival.

Traditions and rituals

Water fights are very popular in some cities. So, arm yourself with water guns, balloons, or a bucket, and be ready to get soaked. This tradition dates back to the Inca Empire holiday Dia de la Challa. Another popular Yunza Ritual is arranging dances around a tree, decorated with presents, ribbons, and balloons. Then, the dancers try to cut down the tree with a machete. In Peruvian carnival, it's also popular to elect a royal couple–the Carnival Queen and King.

Cajamarca Carnival (February 9–14, 2024)

Cajamarca is known as the capital of the Peruvian Carnival, hosting the biggest and most joyful celebration in the country. On Carnival Monday, a huge parade and festivities attract thousands of spectators from all over the country. The ceremony is filled with dancers, floats, music bands, and performers dressed in costumes and masks. Plaza de Armas serves as the launchpad for those who want to witness Peru’s Carnival traditions, such as the cutting down of a tree.

Ayacucho Carnival (February 10–14, 2024)

The carnival in Ayacucho was declared a National Cultural Patrimony in Peru. Its Carnival and Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) is the best time to visit the city. You'll witness a massive parade, jam-packed with decorated floats, carts, dancers, masks, and musicians.

Lima Carnival

Lima becomes especially colorful during the carnival season. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of local parties all over the city, accompanied by plenty of water fights. Since it's quite hot in Lima at this time of the year, water balloon fights are especially popular.

Find hotels and airbnbs near Carnival (Map)

Last updated: