Best time to go to Peru

Carnival 2023

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

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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. Besides, Lima holds its carnival too, as well as many other cities across Peru.

Water fights are very popular in some cities. So get armed with water guns, balloons, or a bucket and get ready to get wet. This tradition dates back to the Inca Empire holiday Dia de la Challa. Challa means to sprinkle the earth in Quechua. A popular Yunza Ritual is when dances are arranged 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 18–22, 2023)

Cajamarca is called 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. The ceremony is filled with dancers, floats, music bands and performers dressed in costumes and masks. Plaza de Armas is used as a central gathering for those who want to witness Peru’s Carnival traditions, like the cutting down of a tree decorated with gifts.

Ayacucho Carnival (February 18–22, 2023)

The carnival in Ayacucho was declared National Cultural Patrimony in Peru. Its Carnival and Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter is the best time to visit the city. A big parade in Ayacucho is full of decorated floats, carts, dancers, masks, and musicians.

Lima Carnival

Lima becomes especially colourful during Carnival. There are hundreds of local parties all over the city—and they’re accompanied with plenty of water fights. Since it's quite hot in Lima at this time of the year, water balloon fights are especially refreshing.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin