Tag Archives: Inti Raymi Festival

Image from SoutWindAdventures.com

Festival Season in Peru

Across the world, ‘festival season’ has begun in earnest, and we’ve outlined some of the best festivals and celebrations in Peru this summer, meaning there is no excuse for missing a true Peruvian party.

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In June we have the world-famous Inti Raymi celebration. The Festival of the Sun is a hugely popular event in Peru, and on the 24th June, Cusco will be covered in bright colours, vibrant costumes, colourful dancers and music in celebration. Inti Raymi culminates a week of festivities in Cusco, marking the Incan ceremonies and traditions of the winter solstice. This is a highlight in the Peruvian calendar, and the celebrations have spread internationally, meaning this is more than just a Peruvian tradition, and more of a world class festival.

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July brings a celebration of history, with Fiestas Patrias – or Peruvian Independence Day. In 1821, Peru declared itself independent from Spanish colonialists, and this celebration marks the birth of the best country in South American (of course, we’re biased.) Celebrations are again colourful and vibrant, with traditional dance performances, official street parades, fireworks and traditional entertainments such as horsemanship.
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August is the month dedicated to Pachamama, the Earth Mother. In the Southern Andes, August is the coldest month, and is therefore seen as an ‘unlucky’ time for crop growing and harvest. During this time Andean people believe that they must be on good terms with nature in order to keep themselves and their crops and livestock healthy and protected. Traditionally, before Andean New Year on the 1st August, families prepare to honour Pachamama by cooking a huge feast. The host then digs a hole in the ground, and if the soil comes out cleanly, this means that it will be a good year; If it does not, the year will not bountiful. Before any of the guests are allowed to eat, the first plate of food is offered to Pachamama as a ‘sacrifice’.
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Peru is renowned for its friendly and welcoming nature, and what better time to experience the vibrant culture and traditions that one of these summertime festivals.

 

Explore Cusco with Inkaterra

Celebrating Cusco – 10 travel ideas for your next holiday

Congratulations to Cusco which recently received recognition as the Best Latin American City 2012 in Mexico, Central & South America by Travel & Leisure Magazine. To celebrate, we have compiled our top ten local attractions that you should visit on your next trip to this amazing city.

1. Take a tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Plaza de Armas, home to more than 300 paintings, carvings and sculptures. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the City of Cuzco in 1983.

2. Visit the Sacsayhuaman, a fortress dedicated to the Sun cult and one of the most impressive Inca constructions. Located just a 10 minute drive away on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, the Sacsayhuaman is also where the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated every 24th of June.

3. Located right next to the Inkaterra La Casona in Plaza Nazarenas and well worth a visit, is the MAP Museum – Peru’s only museum dedicated to the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures. You can also visit the house of the Inca Garcilaso Museum, birthplace of the Inca author Garcilaso de la Vega, which was converted into the Regional Historical Museum in 1946.

4. Explore the Koricancha Temple, dedicated to worshipping the sun. It’s the most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire. The Temple of the Sun is located in the southern part of the city of Cusco, just a 7 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.

5. Also close by to the Plaza de Armas is San Blas, one of Cusco’s most picturesque and famous communities. The area, known as the ‘artisan district’, is home to some of the most artistic families of the city.

6. Why not venture outside Cusco for a day and explore Zona X: an amazing network of tunnels both natural and artificial. Explore the idyllic area and enjoy the impressive views of Cusco and the valley, or book a horse parade tour around the north of Cusco.

7. Visit the Sacred Valley, also known as the Urubamba Valley, where the new Inkaterra’s Hacienda Urubamba Hotel will open in early 2013. Visit the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, one of the most ancient occupied human settlements in America which showcases the best example of city planning done by the Incas. There are plenty of tours to the Sacred Valley and tickets can be bought from Plaza de Armas.

8. Keep your Sunday morning free to explore the local culture in the Pisac Market. This, the biggest market in Cusco, can be found in the Sacred Valley, just by the UrubambaRiver and is the perfect spot to sit and relax with a coffee and watch the locals go about their business.

9. Known as the Square of the warrior, the Plaza de Armas has been the scene of several important events in the history of this city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Enjoy the best of Peruvian food at a restaurant here – it’s one of the most popular lunchtime destinations in Cusco.

10. After a busy day of sightseeing, there’s nowhere better to relax than on our terrace at Inkaterra La Casona. Centrally located, enjoy beautiful views of the Plaza Nazarenas as you sip a Pisco Sour, the most famous Peruvian cocktail.