From the coast to the highlands, to the heat of the jungle, Peru really comes alive in June. You can head to Cusco for Inti Raymi or venture into the jungle for the Festival of San Juan. You can round up vicuñas in Ayacucho or hop in a boat with Saints Peter and Paul. The biggest challenge is deciding which events to attend.
Chachapoyas Tourist Week
Early June, Chachapoyas, Amazonas Region
The Semana Turística de Chachapoyas (Chachapoyas Tourist Week) has become a major event in the north of Peru. The weeklong festival features parades, gastronomic fairs, photo exhibitions, and more, all wrapped up in a party atmosphere.
Of particular note is the Raymillacta, a traditional procession in which groups sing and dance their way through the streets. Many of the participants are dressed in traditional clothing.
Anniversary of Ica
June 17, Ica
Spanish colonists founded the city of Ica on June 17, 1563. Today’s anniversary celebrations typically involve a week of scheduled events, including parades, gastronomic fairs, a mini-marathon, and the obligatory crowning of a local beauty queen.
June 18 and 19, Andahuaylas, Apurímac
Sondor Raymi, also known as “La Epopeya Chanka” (The Chanka Epic), is a celebration and folkloric re-enactment of the Chanka origin myth. The Chankas (or Chancas) existed at the same time as the Incas; the two tribes were sworn enemies and occupied neighboring territories (the Incas in Cusco, the Chankas to the east in Andahuaylas).
Hundreds of actors bring Sondor Raymi to life, with key re-enactments taking place at Pakucha Lake (the mythical place of origin) and the Chanka archeological site of Sondor.
Festival Folklórico de Raqchi
Third Sunday of June, Canchis Province of the Cusco Region
The Festival Folklórico de Raqchi is an annual music, song and dance exhibition that takes place at the Inca archeological site of Raqchi (Raqch’i, or the Temple of Wiracocha). The colorful folkloric festival brings together performers from communities throughout the Cusco region.
Moyobamba Tourist Week
Second Half of June, Moyobamba, San Martin Region
The town of Moyobamba in the San Martin Region always has a packed schedule for its tourist week (which often lasts for 10 days). Regional gastronomy, photography exhibits, craft fairs, beauty queens, and plenty of dancing are just a few things to expect.
Noche de San Juan
June 23 and 24, Districts of Calana, Pachia, and Pocollay in the Province of Tacna
The Noche de San Juan (Night of Saint John) is a popular ritual and festival held in Tacna, the southernmost region of Peru. The ritual pays tribute to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, with feasting, traditional music, and dance. Much of the festivities take place at night, with fires illuminating the proceedings and flame torches lighting the route along the Valle Viejo (Old Valley).
Chaccu de Vicuñas
June 24, Reserva Nacional de Pampa Galeras, Ayacucho
The chaccu (or chacu) is an ancient method of rounding up vicuñas: wild camelids that live in the highland areas of Peru and South America. The chaccu technique—used since pre-Inca times and later adopted by the Incas themselves—is a communal herding method in which members of the local community form an extensive human chain, linking arms to drive the vicuñas into pens. Once contained, the vicuñas are sheared of their highly prized wool.
Today’s Chaccu de Vicuñas festival takes place in the Pampa Galeras National Reserve in Ayacucho. The roundup is a functional re-enactment of the traditional chaccu, in which both locals and tourists can participate.
June 24, Cusco
Inti Raymi, the “Festival of the Sun,” was one of the key ceremonies of the Inca Empire. Held each year during the winter solstice, the celebration honored the sun god Inti, ensuring that the sun would once again return from its farthest point.
Today, Inti Raymi is one of the most important festivals on the Andean calendar. The main celebrations take place in Cusco, where vast crowds gather to watch the re-enactment of the ceremony at the archeological site of Sacsayhuamán. Celebrations continue throughout the week, with street fairs, expositions, and plenty of regional food and drink.
Fiesta de San Juan
June 24, Amazon Regions
While Inti Raymi draws a crowd in Cusco, families throughout the Amazon region of Peru are down by the river banks celebrating the Festival of San Juan (Saint John). Saint John the Baptist is a key figure throughout the Peruvian Amazon, where he symbolizes both faith and water.
During the day, everyone heads to the riverbanks to swim, relax, and eat Juanes. Beer and wine are never in short supply, especially during the long night of dancing. Cities such as Pucallpa, Iquitos, Tarapoto, and Tingo Maria are popular spots to spend San Juan.
Día Nacional del Cebiche
June 28, Nationwide
Created in 2008 to celebrate Peru’s most famous dish, Día Nacional del Cebiche (National Ceviche Day) is the perfect time to dig into platefuls of lime-marinated fish.
Día de San Pedro y San Pablo
June 29, Nationwide
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is one of 10 Holy Days of Obligation listed by the Catholic Church. In Peru, the Día de San Pedro y San Pablo is a national holiday.
Celebrations vary across the country; the most famous is the maritime processions along the coast of Peru. In the Lurín and Chorrillos districts of Lima, for example, and in the port city of Chimbote, hundreds of boats take to the water, carrying images of the apostles.
Festival de Danza Indígena
Dates Vary, Atalaya, Ucayali Region
The Festival of Indigenous Dance brings together various dance groups from different indigenous communities, including Ashaninca, Amahuaca, and Shipibo-Conibo. Various cultural and gastronomic events take place alongside the dance festival.