Celebrate Great Festivals in Cusco
Cusco is not just a highland hub for tours to Machu Picchu and other regional attractions. The city also hosts some cultural and colorful festivals. These festivities celebrate the past and the present, indigenous living, pagan traditions and the religious customs of the people.
Don’t be surprised when you arrive at a celebration in Cusco. No matter what time of year you visit the city, you’ll surely stumble upon a fiesta. If you’re planning to have some fun before your trek officially begins, here are a few festivals you can check out:
- Fiesta de Las Cruces (Festival of the Cross) — This event usually falls on the second or third of May. You’ll see veiled crucifixes and crosses in Catholic sanctuaries, cathedrals and churches throughout Cusco. The usual partying and festivities take place and traditional food is served.
- Corpus Christi — This celebration always falls on the ninth Thursday after Easter. The main event starts at 11 a.m., which involves taking out the statues of 10 saints from their respective churches and parading them around Plaza de Armas in a specific order. After the long procession, groups of chosen bearers bring the saints to the Cusco Cathedral where they stay for a week. On the eighth day, the bearers take the statues back to their churches, followed by fireworks, musicians and dancers.
- Cusqueña International Beer Festival — This non-religious music and beer celebration happens in the second week of June. You’ll enjoy drinking locally brewed beer, called Cusqueña beer, and listening to some of the biggest names in the Latino jazz and pop music world.
- Cusco Carnival and Inti Raymi — Thousands of visitors flock to Cusco to witness and be part of one of the largest festivals in the country. During the week building up to the festival, you’ll see the streets filled with traditional music and folk dancers. You can also watch folklore performances and re-enactments of sun worship that take place on the ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
- Andean New Year — Aug. 1 marks Mother Earth Day, or Dia de la Pachamama. Locals pay their respects to mother earth by offering drinks, food and other precious items. They sprinkle yellow confetti outside businesses and homes to celebrate the start of the Andean New Year.
The Best Treks near Cusco
Once you’re done celebrating with the locals, it’s time to trek to Machu Picchu using Cusco as your starting point. You have the option to take the famous and classic Inca Trail, which consists of a beautiful cloud forest filled with birds and a landscape with various ruins that date back centuries.
If you’re looking for something different, try an alternative trek:
- Lares Trek–NEW FOR 2020! This trek is available starting 1 March, 2020. SAM Travel Peru is the only tour operator with its own scenic and cultural trekking route, that treks COMPLETELY OFF THE BEATEN PATH with the LARES TREK TO MACHU PICCHU.
- Salkantay Trek — This hike gives you the chance to check out the turquoise Salkantay Lake, enjoy fruit-bearing trees in the Peruvian cloud forest, and be in awe of the long valleys of the Puncuyoc Pass.
- Rainbow Mountain Trek — This adventure allows you to see the natural, snap-worthy colors of the sandstone mountains.
- Choquequirao Trek — This expedition will take you to two major archaeological sites: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
Learn more about our treks and tours that start in Cusco by calling (347) 480-1609.