Peru in November: Festivals and Events

Alpaca near Saksaywaman Temple, Cusco, Peru
Paul Souders / Getty Images

November in Peru is a comparatively quiet month, especially after a lively October. Apart from All Saints and All Souls (Day of the Dead) at the start of the month, the main festivals are regional rather than national.

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Día de Todos los Santos and Día de los Difuntos

November 1 and 2, Nationwide, National Holiday

All Saints’ Day (Día de Todos los Santos) and All Souls’ Day (Día de los Difuntos, also known as Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead) fall on November 1 and 2 respectively. The manner of passing both days differs from region to region, but Peruvians typically attend mass before heading to the cemetery, where family members leave gifts such as flowers or food items at the graves of departed relations.

Family feasts are common, typically revolving around lechón (roast suckling pig) and tanta wawa, a traditional Peruvian bread baked to resemble a doll or infant. In some regions, most notably Cajamarca, family members symbolically share food and drink with the deceased, often eating and drinking at the graveside.

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Anniversary of Puno

First week of November, Puno

Puno’s anniversary celebrations run for a whole week, with the actual founding of the city falling on November 4. The city, known as the “Folkloric Capital of Peru,” comes alive with traditional dances, processions and fireworks, with little pause during the weeklong schedule. Of particular note is the re-enactment of the mythical origins of the Inca Empire, held on November 5. Actors portray Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo as they rise from Lake Titicaca in search of land on which to build the future empire.

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Semana Turistica de Ica

A sandboarder rides the coastal desert sands near Ica in southern Peru
Andrew Watson / Getty Images

Normally during the second half of November, Ica

Ica’s Semana Turistica (Tourist Week) certainly plays to the region’s strengths. The extended week includes the Open International Sandboarding contest, held at the nearby oasis village of Huacachina, Peru’s prime sandboarding destination. There’s also plenty of pisco on show as well as regional cuisine. Marinera dance contests and Peruvian Paso horse displays provide more cultural highlights, alongside theater productions, live music and, unsurprisingly, beauty pageants.

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Semana Turistica de Moquegua

November 20 to 25, Moquegua

The city of Moquegua is located in southern Peru, about three hours south of Arequipa by bus. Surrounded by some of Peru’s best wine-growing territory, Moquegua is well placed for a party. The five-day Semana Turística de Moquegua (Moquegua Tourist Week), which includes the city’s anniversary, serves to highlight local tourist attractions alongside regional sporting activities such as mountain biking and hang gliding.

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Semana Jubilar y Turistica de Pasco

Cockfight the winner & loser
partha dalal photography / Getty Images

November 20 to 29 (dates vary), Pasco

For high altitude festivities, head to the province of Pasco during the latter third of November. Drinking, dancing and regional cuisine accompany a variety of events, including beauty contests, cockfights and what is supposedly the highest marathon in the world. If you’re heading to the Pasco festivities, don’t miss the strange rock formations within the Santuario Nacional Bosque de Piedras de Huayllay. You’ll also need to prepare yourself for high altitude—the region is well above the point at which altitude sickness can occur.

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Feria de San Clemente

November 23, San Clemente, Piura

The Señor de los Milagros de San Clemente fair is a lively event, with activities taking place before and after the main day of November 23. During the fair, the streets of San Clemente host religious processions, music shows and traditional dances, including regional marinera contests. Bullfighting, beauty contests, and motocross races also take place during the eclectic event.