Best time to go to Peru

Paucartambo Festival 2020

Learn about Peruvian history, pay respect to the dead, honor the Virgin, and try not to lose your head in the craziness of this event

Paucartambo Festival in Peru 2019 - Best Time
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© Débora Klempous

Many traditional festivals, especially on the local level, look very similar and do not raise lots of interest among tourists, but this one is a complete exception.

The Festival of Paucartambo is well-organized chaos, which is held for five days every July in the middle of the Andes. Its major aim is to honour the Virgen del Carmen, but you may lose focus as the mixture of colours, costumes, music, dances, beer, and food drags you away.

Paucartambo Festival in Peru - Best Season 2019
Best time for Paucartambo Festival in Peru 2019

The Festival is always very crowded, but this adds even more craziness to what is happening around, and usually the only ones not in costume are the tourists, as almost all locals try to join one of the special dressed groups to perform with. On the streets of Paucartambo you can meet wealthy Spaniards with long noses, black slave Negrillos, funny Maqt'as, people dressed in yellow masks symbolising the deadly yellow fever, and, of course, all kinds of devils.

Best time to see Paucartambo Festival in Peru 2019

After the groups complete their dances and performances on the streets they head to public halls and big houses where the celebration is continued around tables loaded with food, beer, and pisco.

Such fun and costumed chaos continue every day, but it goes according to the program. On one of the days, everyone heads to the cemetery to honour the dead. On another day the statue of the Virgen is carried along the streets and "devils" jump and hide on the roofs to show their fear.

Best time for Paucartambo Festival 2019

Despite being exhausted people try not to miss a chance to drive to the place called Tres Cruzes (Three Crosses) and see the gorgeous sunrise there. Some say that in contrast with the festival rush time seems to stop on that ridge.