As we know, the Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and requested tourist destinations on the planet. You can get there in a wonderful trip by train (there are different categories) or by doing one of our spectacular Inca Trail (Classic 4 days, Short 2 days).
For Christmas and the end of the year 2021-2022, the ancient Inca citadel continues to receive tourists from all over the world. There are many who wish to enjoy that special time, either in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu on our recommended 2-day tour or by doing the Inca Trail through the magnificent beauty and ecological energy of the Cusco nature. There are many attractions to meet and the atmosphere is full celebration with people from all corners of the planet. Find out about the pleasant weather in the Cusco summer.
Peru is a country that offers everything a demanding tourist wants to find: excellent infrastructure (hotels, transport, roads, etc), archaeological and tourist sites of first level that you should know, beautiful cities, natural landscapes (such as our extraordinary Humantay Lagoon during and amazing Salkantay Trek), luxury gastronomy, a thousand-year-old culture, a very friendly population willing to exchange experiences with people from abroad and more.
Cusco is considered one of the two most popular destinations in Peru to celebrate the New Year. The city experiences a surge in anticipation leading up to the event, with tourists from various parts of Peru, Latin America, Europe, and the world converging in Cusco and occupying the available hostels and hotels.
The streets are lined with vendors, and natives from outside the city come to sell their crafts and products and partake in the festivities. A fascinating aspect of strolling through the open street markets is observing the superstitious tokens that Peruvians purchase for the New Year's celebration.
Yellow is the color of choice for good luck, with people opting for yellow hats, confetti, flowers, and undergarments. Fireworks are ubiquitous, with children selling them on the streets, families lighting them as they walk, and some individuals even shooting them at each other and setting them off themselves.
The most awe-inspiring aspect of the fireworks display is witnessing the sky light up with multiple colors and explosions for hours, extending from the main square out into the surrounding hills of Cusco. At midnight, everyone begins running around the Plaza de Armas (the main square of Cusco) for good luck. Some locals carry suitcases as they run, which is believed to bring good fortune for traveling in the New Year.
Our region is admired and visited by people from many countries. The Christmas and New Year period is particularly festive. At Christmas, Cusco is full of dynamism: people go shopping (for example in the traditional Santurantikuy Fair, in the Main square), they socialize much more and for dinner they serve the traditional turkey with salad, champagne and typical fruits. Of course, the typical chocolate with panettone is missing. (Even if you are in the middle of an Inca Trail Tours).
The end of the year is also spectacular. In the city of Cusco, all the bars and clubs have special parties. The Main Square is full of people who attend a fireworks show, drink the delicious Peruvian beer and happily celebrate the arrival of the new year. In Machu Picchu, the adjacent town of Aguas Calientes is similarly 100% celebrating.
December 24 is the main event, while the 25th is an opportunity to see the other part of the family and eat what was left of the previous night. One of the most common traditions is the revelation of Jesus Christ. For this event, a small statue of Jesus baby is covered with a blanket and at midnight, they take out the blanket, which symbolizes the birth of Jesus. Before or after the big dinner the gifts are opened not like in other parts of the world when the gifts are opened on the 25th.
Cusco is full of people at parties, but it also becomes very festive. The combination of Andean and Christian traditions make Cusco a unique place to spend the holidays. Each year Cusco has a Christmas market on December 25 called Santuranticuy (sale of the saints) in which people from all over Peru meet in Main Square to sell their products. To be expected on December 25, your products are religious or about birth.
Cusco is by far the city of craziest parties in Peru and in the New Year it is no exception. People from all regions meet at the Main Square for the New Year count. Thousands of people go to square to see the large number of artificial games that take place every year and after the bars, the clubs are full until the morning of the next day.
New Year in the Sacred Valley
If you are in the Sacred Valley on the first of January, you can participate in the "Sinkuy" celebration that takes place in the beautiful central square of Ollantaytambo, where a game similar to bowling is held. Traditionally the mayor and his wife throw the first ball. People from all regions gather in costumes, bringing chicha, meats and bread shaped like animals. Christmas and New Year in Peru This time of year is always special, but if you are lucky to be in Peru, these holidays can be the most remembered. Peru is the perfect mix of Andean and Christian traditions when it comes to Christmas and if you have the opportunity to spend with a Peruvian, we are sure that you will have a great time.
Participate in a Peruvian culinary workshop and acquaint yourself with the renowned Peruvian gastronomy. The workshop entails a visit to the local market and instruction on the preparation of customary Peruvian Christmas confections and appetizers. Gain a glimpse of your forthcoming Christmas dinner banquet and potentially astound your acquaintances with your newfound culinary expertise.
Engaging in this activity is a popular tourist pursuit, and although it may require a fee, the resulting photograph has the potential to become a cherished memory. Featuring an endearing llama, a stunning indigenous woman adorned in vibrant traditional attire, and breathtaking Incan stonework in the backdrop, this image will serve as a poignant memento of one's Christmas holiday spent in Peru. Furthermore, it is the nearest approximation to encountering a reindeer in the city of Cusco.
Most of our tours run normally throughout the holidays. Check out our tours in Cusco, including the Cusco City Tour, the Day Trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and treks or train tours to Machu Picchu.
A customary Christmas tradition in Cusco is the chocolatada, wherein numerous institutions extend an invitation to the local communities, particularly the children, to partake in a cup of hot chocolate, a Panetón (a customary Christmas cake filled with dried fruits), and a toy as a means of commemorating the occasion. These chocolatadas, intended to offer a festive experience to underprivileged families, are held in various locations across Cusco.
Please be reminded that the primary celebration is held on Christmas Eve, which falls on December 24th, and not on December 25th. The evening of the 24th is commonly referred to as Noche Buena, which translates to "Good Night," and is the focal point of the festivities. On Christmas Day, which is on December 25th, the city is expected to be relatively quiet as the majority of individuals celebrate the occasion with their loved ones in the comfort of their homes.
At the stroke of midnight, the metropolis of Cusco will be illuminated by a spectacular display of fireworks. A multitude of both indigenous inhabitants and visitors from afar will congregate at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco to partake in this awe-inspiring exhibition. It is noteworthy that this pyrotechnic extravaganza will also be presented on the occasion of New Year's Eve.
Similar to numerous other nations, the majority of persons individuals in Peru partake in a substantial and succulent turkey for their Christmas feast. The turkey is typically seasoned with customary Peruvian condiments, and some even administer injections of pisco into their turkeys. An increasingly favored substitute to turkey is the customary Peruvian roasted pork, known as Lechón. This dish is accompanied by a tamal, which is a corn meal dough that is steam-cooked, wrapped in banana leaves, and filled with chicken, peanuts, boiled eggs, olives, and chili pepper pieces.
The days preceding Christmas in Cusco are characterized by a bustling and enjoyable atmosphere, with the city abounding in petite Christmas markets. The populace is actively engaged in procuring presents for their acquaintances and kin, indulging in delectable sweets and breads, and acquiring Christmas embellishments, including textiles, incense, candles, and ceramics.
Nativity scenes hold a ubiquitous presence in Peru, prominently displayed throughout Cusco in various locations such as streets, plazas, and buildings. These scenes typically encompass the fundamental components of Jesus's birth, featuring figurines of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, animals, angels, and wise men, alongside other customary Christmas adornments. Given that approximately 90% of the Peruvian population identifies as Catholic, Nativity scenes hold significant cultural and religious significance during the Christmas season.
Being one of the Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is an amazing tourist attraction that Peru offers. What a great way to celebrate Christmas or bring in the New Year with a visit to this amazing place! This enchanting archaological site will allow you to pause and reflect on the year and spend some time in the glorious mountains of Peru.
One tip: don’t wait too long if you want to book a train tour to Machu Picchu or if you want to do a trek as Inca trail Peru.
On the 24th of December, skilled artisans hailing from various regions of Peru will convene for the country's most enchanting and diverse Christmas markets: the Santurantikuy Christmas fair. With a history spanning over five centuries, this market offers a perfect opportunity to unwind and peruse the vibrant stalls while indulging in a cup of hot chocolate. The term "Santurantikuy" translates to "the selling of the saints," which aptly characterizes the market's offerings. It serves as an ideal destination to procure a memento or a last-minute Christmas present. The market opens early in the morning and continues until late at night on Christmas Eve.