Events and weather in Peru

The peak of the rainy season but a great time to visit due to the lack of tourists. In Ollantaytambo, in the Cusco area, there are colourful processions marking the Bajada de Reyes or Epiphany on January 5th and 6th. The day is celebrated with a procession and native dances in costume. On the coast it is warm and generally sunny so a very nice time to be in Lima and along the coastal desert.

Candelaria is a colorful dance festival celebrates the patron saint, the Virgin of Candelaria, of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It is one of the largest festivals in Peru each year. Hundreds of dance groups from all over the Peruvian and Bolivian Altiplano converge in the city of Puno for the processions to the Candelaria (or Candlemas) Madonna, and there is an enormous, all day dance competition in the stadium. For photographers it is an absolute must. Throughout Peru, Carnival week is widely celebrated preceding the catholic season of Lent. There are parades and parties in the streets and one of the traditions involves water fights. Visitors during this time are forewarned that they may be soaked if caught in the midst of street parties and the crowds can be chaotic.

Weather wise, March and also April mark the end of the rainy season and even if there are a still a few showers and clouds, it is a magical time to be in the Andes, when the landscape is green and lush, wildflowers are starting to blossom and the harvest season starts. On the coast it is sunny and warm. The rainforest by cruise is perfect, on a lodge is doable but sightings can be scarce. And it is not peak tourist season. Arguably the best overall time of year to visit Peru. Easter sometimes falls in March and sometimes in April. The season for religious celebrations kicks off at the beginning of Easter week on Palm Sunday. Below a short synopsis of the most important processions and celebrations during Easter Week. Palm Sunday features processions in all villages and towns of Peru with decorated floats, leading up to Easter Sunday. In Ayacucho the festivities are especially elaborate. Senor de los Temblores (Lord of Earthquakes) is a major festival where Cuscos most venerated image of Christ is taken out in procession in the afternoon on Holy Monday. The entire city participates making it quite a spectacle to behold. Good Friday is observed with major, although somber, processions in most villages and towns. The processions of Our lady of Dolours and the Holy Sepulcher are particularly important in villages in the Colca Valley.

May is an excellent month to travel in Peru. Ideal for trekking as the visibility will be at its best and night time temperature not very low. Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca, where the highlights are the Glaciers and Snow-capped peaks, is ideal. Throughout Peru and especially in small villages and rural areas, the Cruz de Mayo, the festivity of the Cross at the beginning of May is widely celebrated is a colorful celebration where decorated crosses are carried during processions. There are processions from the first of May until a few days later on a day called Central day. The Catholic Celebration of Pentecost is celebrated with four days of non-stop ethnic dances in Ollantaytambo in honor of their patron saint, Senor de Choquekillka.

Nights are chilly in the Andes now, and clouds are starting to disappear. On the coast there is a dense fog that covers and temperatures are decidedly lower. The highlight this month and the absolute showstopper is Corpus Christi in the City of Cusco. The exact date is varies every year depending on when Easter falls, but it is generally in June. Corpus Christi is Cuscos most important religious festivity and is celebrated with fervor. A total of fourteen saints and Madonnas from each of Cuscos churches participate in this colorful procession. Members of each brotherhood (cofradia) prepare for a full year for the procession and money is raised to provide the most sumptuous attire for the saint or Madonna of their devotion. The result is a spectacular parade of bejeweled and bedecked statues, making their way from their home church to the Cathedral on litters carried by devotees. All of the saints and Madonnas are left on display overnight in the Cathedral and for a few days after Corpus and the doors to the temple remain open to all who want to come in and admire this magnificent sight. Inti Raymi, also in Cusco celebrates the Winter Solstice. Inti Raymi is a reenactment of what contemporary scholars have interpreted must have been the Festival of the Sun in Inca times, it takes place in the Inca site of Sacsayhuaman near Cusco. Smaller but picturesque processions are those in honour of St Peter and St Paul throughout the Country. It is a national Holiday today

July and August are the peak of the tourist season so it will be very busy. At Casa Falleri however we are there to assist you navigating the sights in creative ways so you can dodge the crowds! On 16th July is the festivity of Virgen del Carmen or Mamacha Carmen, as she is commonly known. She defeats the demons who climb up on rooftops and balconies during her procession around the streets of Paucartambo. near Cusco, as well as other towns such as Pisac. Non-stop masked dancing carries on for three full days. Crowded with locals and limenos alike, the festivity of the Virgen del Carmen can involve some heavy drinking and partying in Paucartambo, but it is an enjoyable experience and worth a stop, especially in Pisac where visitors can see a milder but equally colorful version of the Paucartambo processions and festivities. The 28th and 29th mark Perus independence holidays Fiestas Patrias and this is probably the busiest week of the year for domestic tourism.

This is the coldest and driest month of the year. The end of the dry season is the best time for sighting wildlife in the rainforest as animals are more likely to go out of their hiding places to look for food. Mid -August marks theVirgen de la Asuncion, a Madonna widely venerated in Peru. Processions take place in parishes dedicated to her. There are processions in Cusco, in Chivay in the Colca Valley among others. In Lima, Fiesta de Santa Rosa de Lima on August 30 is a religious holiday with processions, parades, and brass music. Most businesses are closed for the day.

Virgen De La Almudena Y De Las Nieves on September 8th is one of Cuscos most venerated and riches Madonnas, hence the importance of her procession. On the same day in the Sacred Valley, many villages such as Maras (Church of Tiobamba), Huayllabamba and Chinchero have the feast day of their Madonna. Senor De Huanca in Cusco on September 14th is one of the Andes most venerated Christ figures and the pilgrimage involves people coming from far and wide. San Jeronimo is celebrated around this church in the vicinity of Cusco on September 30, with dances and processions. Mistura is the most important food festival in Latin America. Taking place in Lima, vendors from all over the country come to share their food at the festival which includes cooking demonstrations, dances, and more.

Senor de los Milagros (Lord of the Miracles)is venerated with fervor in all of Peru but especially in Lima where he is the patron. His colour is purple. To celebrate him, there are processions where a float with a painting of his image is brought out in procession along the streets. Lots of purple decorations adorn the city, and street vendors are characteristic of the celebrations. Try the turron de dona Pepa, a typical sweet prepared and this time of year. Expect traffic.

The Hay Literary Festival is an illuminative gathering of thinkers from around the world. The sister festival in Arequipa, Peru gathers some of the intellectual minds of South America for lectures, readings, and workshops, that span 4 or 5 days every year.

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepction is a national religious holiday in Peru. There are processions in many churches where this Madonna is the Patron. Processions in Cusco are lovely. Santuranticuy, the crafts market in Cuscos main square, takes place on the 24th of December. The Plaza comes alive on the morning of Christmas Eve with artisans selling images for their nativity scenes. Well worth visiting if travelling in the area during this time of year.