Peru in 2020: A calendar of Events and Holidays
Once again, a new year of adventure is rolling round and it’s time to plan for those vacations and overseas trips. As some of you might agree, some of the best trips are those planned around public holidays or local festivals that tend to sweep you up in a nationwide flurry of fun and excitement.
If you are planning on coming to Peru in 2020, then this is the perfect guide for you to follow with a detailed list of not only religious festivals and public holidays, but also upcoming music festivals, food fairs and international concerts.
Peru in January
- New Year’s Day — Jan 1, National Holiday
- Niño Callaocarpino y el Niño Jacobo Illanes — Jan 1 (central day), Huancavelica: A festival and pilgrimage typically featuring traditional dances and bullfights.
- Festival de los Negritos — Dec and/or Jan, Huánuco: The “Festival of the Blacks” in which dancers with blackened faces dance through the streets of Huánuco.
- The Sunset Festival — Jan 4, Explanada Playa Punta Hermosa: Will feature Farruko and Los 4 de Cuba, Yahaira Plasencia, Charanga Latina, Kale Y among others.
- Adoración de Reyes Magos — Jan 6, nationwide: Also known as Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, which celebrates the visit of the three wise men to Jesus.
- Foundation of Iquitos — Jan 5: A good excuse for a party in the jungle.
- Foundation of Lima — Jan 18: Civic parades, parties and a good few fireworks.
- Chiaraje — Jan 20 (the date could easily change), Canas Province of the Cusco Region: A ritual battle for a good harvest, held in honor of Pachamama, or Mother Earth.
- Donovan Frankenreiter — Jan 17, MAC Museum, Barranco, Lima: Chill, surf music and acoustic guitars
- Electro Selvámonos — Jan 18, Playa Explosivos (Punta Negra, km 48 Antigua Panamericana): One of Peru’s biggest electronic music festivals returns.
- Jenny Berggren — Jan 23, venue TBA: Swedish-born artist from the band Ace of Bases will perform nineties techno music.
- Festival de la Marinera — Jan 20 to 30, Trujillo: Dance contests in Peru’s biggest marinera dance festival is held in Trujillo.
Peru in February
- Carnival — all throughout February: Parades, parties, yunsa trees and water fights. Lots of water fights! Peak carnival time in Peru for 2020 is 24th of February to the 1st of March
- Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria — first week of February 2020, Puno Region: Colorful processions with hundreds of musicians and dancers. Expect a fair amount of drinking, too…
- Luchas de Toqto — Feb 2 (may vary), Canas and Chumbivilcas Provinces of Cusco: Another ritual battle similar to Chiaraje (see January), also in the Cusco region.
- Pisco Sour Day — Feb 4: A national day for drinking pisco sours in Peru, no excuses; is celebrated every first Saturday of Feb.
- Pablo Milanés en Peru – Feb 4, Gran Teatro Nacional, Lima: This Cuban Singer is returning after two years
- Valentine’s Day — Feb 14, Nationwide: The international day of love.
- Camila, Sin Bandera y Río Roma – Feb 14, Jockey Plaza, Lima: Romantic ballads will be crooned by these three bands.
- El Mató a un Policía Motorizado (Panda) – Feb , Lima: An Argentinian rock band.
- Festival del Verano Negro — last week of February, Chincha Province, Ica: An annual celebration of Chincha’s Afro-Peruvian folk culture.
Peru in March
- Ash Wednesday — March 1: A religious day that commemorates the 40 days Jesus went to the wilderness.
- Anniversary of the Foundation of Trujillo — March 5
- Ica Wine Festival – March 8 to 18: Ica’s wine harvest is celebrated with the Festival Internacional de la Vendimia de Ica. Drink wine, eat local food and watch beauty queens stomping around in vats of grapes. Yep, it’s a perfect day out.
- Lacuna Coil – March 14, Mangos Club, Lince
- Fiesta de San José — March 19 2020 Las Delicias District of Trujillo: Spanish heritage festival with drinking, dancing, Peruvian Paso horses and its own “running of the bulls.”
- Surco Wine Harvest Festival — exact dates vary, Surco District of Lima: A smaller version of the Vendimia de Ica festival, this time in Lima.
- Peru vs. Uruguay, World Cup Classification – March 28, National Stadium, Lima.
- El Señor de los Temblores — March 30 and the whole first week of April, Cusco: The image of El Señor de los Temblores (The Lord of the Earthquakes) is paraded through the streets of Cusco, a major event that draws huge crowds.
Peru in April
- Primera Parada al Festival Selvámonos – April 1, Paintball de Chorrillos, Lima
- Festival Cultura Libre – April 2, Parque Andrés Avelino Cáceres, San Isidro, Lima
- Justin Bieber – April 5, the National Stadium of Peru, Lima
- Armin Van Buren – April 7, Explanada de la Costa Verde, Lima: Electronic music
- Anniversary of the District of Amantani — April 9, Amantani District of Puno: The islands of Amantani and Taquile on Lake Titicaca celebrate the foundation of their district.
- Surfing Championships – Around mid-April, La Libertad, Malabrigo Beach
- Anniversary of Chiclayo — April 18: The anniversary celebrations last for a week, with food fairs, music, dancing and, of course, beauty queens.
- National Peruvian Paso Horse Contest — normally mid- to late-April, Mamacona, Lima: Yet to be confirmed.
- Anniversary of the Constitutional Province of Callao — August 20, Callao
- Palm Sunday – April 9
- Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday), Holy Week – April 13, National Holiday,main destinations for Peruvians are Cusco, Ayacucho or head south to spend the weekend at the beach.
- Viernes Santo (Goosd Friday), Holy Week – April 14, National Holiday
- Resurrection Sunday, Holy Week – April 16, National Holiday
- Día de Pascua (Easter Day) – April 16: Religious parades and family feasting; not too much egg hunting and chocolates on this day.
- Bryan Adams – April 19, Jockey Club of Peru, Lima
- Earth Day – April 22: International celebration of the environment and Mother Earth.
- Anniversary of Ayacucho — April 25: Francisco Pizarro founded the settlement of San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga in 1540; Simón Bolívar later changed the name to Ayacucho in 1825. The anniversary of this historic city features numerous activities, including cultural and sporting events, food fairs, drinking and general revelry.
- El Señor de la Justicia — April 25, Ferreñafe, Lambayeque Region: A religious festival in honor of the image of El Señor de la Justicia.
- Anniversary of Jauja — April 25, Jauja, Junín Region: Jauja was the first Spanish capital city in Peru and also the location of the country’s first cathedral. Anniversary celebrations last for at least a few days.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Peru in May
- Virgin de Chapi — May 1, Arequipa: Thousands of pilgrims walk to the Sanctuary of the Virgin de Chapi, home to one of the most important images of the Virgin Mary in Peru.
- Dia de los Trabajadores (Labor Day) — May 1, National Holiday
- Fiesta de las Cruces — May 3, typically in highland regions: Religious-types carry crosses between neighboring churches in various parts of Peru. Cusco has the Cruz Velacuy procession in early May; Huancavelica has a cross-related fiesta called the Fiesta del Espíritu Santo (sometime in May); Pasco, Ayacucho, Junín and Puno also celebrate the Fiesta de las Cruces.
- Fiesta de Alasitas — May 3 -8 Puno: A bustling market selling alasitas, miniature representations of things that you want in real life.
- Señor de Muruhuay — May 3 (may vary), Tarma, Junín Region: A pilgrimage to the Señor de Muruhuay, an image of Christ that appeared on a rock outside Tarma. Pilgrims leave a Carta a Dios, a letter giving thanks to God or asking for a miracle.
- Anniversary of Cotahuasi — May 4, Cotahuasi District of La Unión, Arequipa Region: Featuring the holy trinity of bullfights, beer and beauty queens.
- Señor de Torrechayoc — sometime in May, Urubamba, Cusco Region: A festival paying homage to a miraculous cross located in Urubamba, with dancing, drinking and cockfighting.
- Linkin Park – May 11, National Stadium, Lima
- Homage to the Defenders of Alianza Field — May 26, Tacna: A day of remembrance for those that died at the Battle of Tacna (May 26, 1880) during the War of the Pacific.
Peru in June
- Indigenous Dance Festival – June 1, Ucayali, Province of Padre Abad: different ethnic groups get together and perform dance numbers.
- Chachapoyas Tourist Week — early June (dates vary)
- Qoyllo Rit’i — early June (possibly late May), Ocongate District, Cusco: A mountain pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Sinakara. Qoyllority (or Qoyllur Rit’i) takes place in the days before Corpus Christi.
- Corpus Christi — June 4, Nationwide: A moveable feast celebrated to various extents throughout Peru, but particularly important in Cusco.
- Anniversary of Ica — June 17: Food, drink, parades, a mini-marathon and beauty pageants.
- Sep7imo Dia, Cirque du Soleil – June 17, Jockey Club of Peru, Lima
- Sondor Raymi — June 18 and 19, Andahuaylas, Apurímac Region: Re-enactment of the Chanka origin myth, La Epopeya Chanka (The Chanka Epic). The main event takes place at Pakucha Lake and at the Chanka archaeological site of Sondor.
- Festival Folklórico de Raqchi — third Sunday of June, Canchis Province, Cusco Region: A folkloric festival at the Inca archaeological site of Raqchi (Raqch’i, or the Temple of Wiracocha).
- Moyobamba Tourist Week — second half of June (may vary), Moyobamba, San Martin Region
- Noche de San Juan — June 23 and 24, Calana, Pachi and Pocollay Districts, Tacna: The Night of Saint John Includes a night time procession through the Valle Viejo (Old Valley).
- Chaccu de Vicuñas — June 17 (or thereabouts), Pampa Galeras National Reserve, Ayacucho: A communal vicuña roundup in the Pampa Galeras National Reserve. Locals and tourists help to form a human chain known as chaccu, a herding technique that predates the Incas.
- Inti Raymi — June 24, Cusco: The “Festival of the Sun” is one of the most important dates on Cusco’s calendar. The reenactment of the Inca winter solstice ceremony takes place at the Sacsayhuamán archaeological site.
- San Juan Festival — June 24, jungle regions of Peru: A major festival throughout the Peruvian jungle.
- National Ceviche Day — June 28, Nationwide
- Festival Selvamonos – June 26 -July 1, Oxapampa
- Día de San Pedro y San Pablo — June 29, Nationwide: The festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is celebrated to varying extents across Peru, but is best known for its maritime processions.
Peru in July
- Tarapoto Tourist Week — July 8 to 19 (dates may vary), Tarapoto, San Martín Region
- Anniversary of Puerto Maldonado — July 10: Founded by Don Juan Villalta on July 10, 1902.
- Virgen del Carmen Festival — July 15 and 16, various regions: Colorful street parades, some featuring re-enactments of key moments from Peruvian history, with dancers and bands. Celebrations are big in Lima, Callao (Virgen del Carmen de la Legua festival), Celendín and Paucartambo (Mamacha Carmen festival, near Cusco).
- Pollo a la Brasa Day (Rotissiere Chicken) – July 16 (every third Sunday of July), Lima: The popular dish in Peru has its own day.
- Anniversary of the Province of Huaraz — July 25
- Festival de Apóstol Santiago — July 24 and 25, mainly in the highlands
- Pisco Day — July 23
- Anniversary of the Arrival of Austro-German Settlers in Oxapampa — July 24 to 31, Oxapampa Province, Pasco Region: Settled by Austro-German immigrants in the 1850s; the anniversary celebrations highlight the region’s distinct culture and cuisine.
- Fiestas de Quillabamba — July 25 to 29, La Convención, Cusco Region: Celebrating the anniversary of La Convención (capital Quillabamba), the largest province in the Cusco region.
- Fiesta del Sol — July 27, La Unión, Huánuco Region: A re-enactment of an important Inca festival (similar to Inti Raymi in Cusco) at the Huánuco Pampa archaeological site.
- Peruvian Independence Day — July 28, National Holiday
- Fiesta del Señor de las Ánimas and Yawar Fiesta– July 28 to August 3, Apurimac Region: The Yawar Fiesta in Cotabambas is a symbolic ritual in which a condor is tied to the back of a bull (read this Colca Canyon trip report for more info).
Peru in August
- Día de la Pachamama or Mother Earth Day — August 1, Andean regions: Pago a la tierra (payment to the earth) ceremonies in honor of Pachamama (Mother Earth).
- Santísima Cruz de Chalpón — first week of August, Motupe, Lambayeque Region: Religious festival in which the miraculous Cruz de Chalpón (Cross of Chalpón) is carried down from its hilltop to the town of Motupe. Events surrounding the pilgrimage include music festivals, food fairs and Peruvian Paso horse shows.
- Nuestra Señora de las Nieves — August 5, central and southern Andes: A religious festival celebrated in Spain, Portugal, Italy and parts of Latin America. In Peru, the festivities are most notable in cities like Cusco, Ayacucho and Junín.
- Anniversary of Arequipa — August 15: Founded in 1540 by the Spaniard Garcí Manuel de Carbajal. Festivities begin a week or so before the anniversary, with the famous Corso de la Amistad (Friendship Parade) on August 15.
- Virgen de la Asunción — August 15: Celebrated to varying extents in Peru; a major event in Chachapoyas (Amazonas), Cangallo (Ayacucho) and Chacas (Ancash).
- Anniversary of Huánuco — August 15
- Anniversary of Callao — August 20, Callao, Lima Metropolitan Area
- Yaku Raymi — August 20 to 26, Carmen Salcedo District of Andamarca, Ayacucho Region: A weeklong festival giving thanks to Pachamama, featuring scissors dances, food fairs, historic re-enactments and the annual clearing of the water canals.
- Reincorporation of Tacna into Peru — August 28, Tacna: Peru lost Tacna to Chile during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), but regained the territory following the 1929 Treaty of Lima.
- Pasco Tourist Week — Aug. 25 to 31 (variable): The Semana Jubilar y Turistica de Pasco includes plenty of dancing and drinking
- Saint Rose of Lima Day — August 30, National Holiday: No work today thanks to Saint Rose of Lima, the loopy first Catholic Saint of the Americas.
- Peru vs. Uruguay, World Cup Classification – March 31, National Stadium, Lima.
Peru in Sepetember
- Fiesta Patronal Virgen de la Natividad — Sept 8, San Martín Region: A popular religious festival in the small town of Lamas near Tarapoto.
- Virgen de Cocharcas — Sept 8, Andahuaylas, Apurímac: A pilgrimage ending at the sanctuary of the Virgen de Cocharcas.
- Cosquin Rock Peru — Sept (date is yet to be confirmed), Lima Metropolitana
- Festividad del Señor de Locumba — Sept 14, Tacna: A pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Señor de Locumba, about 50 miles northeast of Tacna.
- Señor Cautivo de Monsefú — Sept 14 (main day), Monsefú, Lambayeque Region: Flower-strewn street parades in the small town of Monsefú near Chiclayo.
- Señor de Huanca — Sept 14, Cusco: The pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Señor de Huanca is one of the largest in Peru, attracting people from across the continent.
- Festival Internacional de la Primavera — end of Sept, Trujillo, La Libertad Region: Trujillo’s International Spring Festival is a multiday event with dancing, street parades, live music, gastronomic fairs, beauty pageants, bullfights, surfing and more.
- Ica Tourism Day – usually lasts a week on the last week of Sept. : Different celebrations are organized to promote tourism including the crowning of “Miss Ica Tourism”.
- Festival Reyna del Cañaveral — Sept. 25 – 26, Apurimac: Head down to the banks of the Rio Pampas for the “Festival of the Sugar Cane Queen.”
Peru in October
- Promised Land of Pozuzo Festival — Oct 4 to 8 (dates may vary), Pozuzo, Oxapampa Province, Pasco Region: A celebration of the culture and heritage of the town of Pozuzo, founded in 1859 by colonists from Tyrol (Austria) and Prussia (Germany).
- Battle of Angamos — Oct 8, National Holiday: Anniversary of the naval confrontation between Chile and Peru during the War of the Pacific. One of Peru’s greatest heroes, Admiral Miguel Grau, died during the engagement in 1879.
- Peru vs. Uruguay, World Cup Classification – March 28, National Stadium, Lima.
- Señor Cautivo de Ayabaca — Oct 13, Ayabaca, Piura Region: A pilgrimage to see the image of the Señor Cautivo de Ayabaca in the town of Ayabaca (about 130 miles from Piura).
- Anniversary of Tingo Maria — Oct 15
- El Señor de los Milagros — second half of October, Lima: The largest religious congregation in South America, with processions through the streets of Lima in honor of a miraculous image of Christ, known as El Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles). This is also the best time to get a taste of the “Turron de Doña Pepa”, a traditional dessert especially prepared for this time of year.
- Señor de Luren — third Monday in October, Ica: An annual procession of the wooden image of the Señor de Luren (patron saint of Ica), carried through the streets of the city.
- Fiesta Patronal de Santa Úrsula — Oct 21 to 24 (dates may vary), Viraco, Castilla Province of Arequipa Region
- Día de la Canción Criolla — Oct 31: A national day in honor of criolla music. Expect performances in restaurants and music venues across the country.
- Halloween — Oct 31: Halloween isn’t a major event in Peru, but each year there are more and more pumpkins, themed parties and costumed kids to be seen on October 31, especially in the big cities.
Peru in November
- Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day) — Nov 1, National Holiday
- Día de los Difuntos (All Souls’ Day/Day of the Dead) — Nov 2, nationwide: Families visit the graves of relatives, taking meals, flowers or other gifts to the graveside. The vigil sometimes begins on the night of Día de Todos los Santos and continues until dawn the following day.
- Anniversary of Puno — Nov 5: The anniversary of the “Folkloric Capital of Peru,” with a week of events including traditional dances, music, fireworks and a re-enactment of the Inca origin myth.
- Ica Tourist Week — Nov 12 to 20 (dates may vary): Expect marinera dance contests, Peruvian Paso horse shows, live music, beauty queens and more.
- Moquegua Tourist Week — Nov 20 to 25 (variable).
- Feria de San Clemente — sometime in November, San Clemente, Piura: The annual fair has a little bit of everything, mixing religious parades with food fairs, marinera dances and motocross competitions.
Peru in December
- Immaculate Conception — Dec 8, National Holiday: The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is a national holiday in Peru.
- Tribute to American Liberty — Dec 9, Ayacucho: At the Battle of Ayacucho on December 9, 1824, allied patriot forces gained a vital victory in their struggle for independence from Spain. Annual festivities take place across the Ayacucho region to mark the historic event.
- Virgen de la Puerta — Dec 12 to 15, Otuzco, La Libertad Region: A procession of the miraculous statue of the Virgen de la Puerta (Virgin of the Gate) through the streets of Otuzco, a town a couple of hours east of Trujillo.
- Santuranticuy — Dec 24, Cusco: An annual market held on Cusco’s main square, selling nativity scenes and other festive or religious items crafted by artisans from across Peru.
- Christmas Eve — Dec 24: Unlike other countries, Christmas in Peru is all about December 24 or Noche Buena (the “Good Night”). Families stay up until midnight to celebrate, eating a late-night Christmas feast, drinking , opening their gifts and watching fireworks.
- Christmas Day — Dec 25, National holiday: Hangovers are the result of heavy partying and festivities from the night before. This is a quieter day where most opt to eat out in the evening
- Danza de Tijeras (Scissor Dance) Festival — Dec 23 to 26 (dates may vary), Huancavelica: A gathering of Peru’s most talented scissor dancers for the annual Danza de Tijeras Festival in Huancavelica.
- Madre de Dios Anniversary – Dec 26, Madre de Dios: this yearly event is filled with dance, galas and different activities.
- New Year’s Eve – Dec 31: Some might say New Years eve in December is a big event! Huge parties all over the country, fireworks and festivities ring in the new year.