5 Cusco festivals that you can enjoy for free on your visit

Cusco offers numerous tourist attractions to visit such as: Sacsayhuaman, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Humantay lagoon, the 7-color mountain and, of course, Machu Picchu. However, in Cusco you can also appreciate the traditions and culture of its inhabitants. And the best way to get to know them is through the city festivals. Learn about 5 festivities that you can meet for free in Cuzco!

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Free Tours in Cusco 2023

Date prisa! ya se agotan los cupos
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Carnivals of Cusco

In February Cusco is filled with color, joy and lots of rain. Throughout the city, and in the different provinces, there are dance and music shows. The main characteristic are the ‘yunzas’, trees decorated with balloons and gifts for the population. Each person dances around the tree until it collapses.

Every Sunday in February, the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is filled with water games among the young people of Cusco. Tourists also participate in this party full of merriment. Before, two Thursdays in February, the ‘Día de los compadres’ and the ‘Día de las comadres’ are celebrated. On that day men celebrate their friendship with women and viceversa.

  • Date: Sundays in February.
  • Place: City of Cusco.
  • What to see? Dance and music show in the Plaza de Armas. Games with water throughout the city.
Carnavales en Cusco

Procession in honor of the Lord of Earthquakes

The Lord of the Tremors, also called ‘Taitacha de los Temblores’ is the Sworn Patron of Cusco. Every ‘Holy Monday’ his sculpture goes out in procession through the streets of the city center. This religious manifestation, the one with the most fervent devotion among the people of Cusco, brings together more than 5,000 faithful.

The history of the Lord of the Earthquakes dates back to the colonial era in Cusco. His sculpture was brought from Spain in 1570. In 1650 a strong earthquake struck the city. Before the aftershocks, the residents took the image in procession. As the aftershocks stopped, the image acquired the belief of granting miracles. Since then he has been adored with faith by the people of Cusco.

  • Date: Every year every ‘Holy Monday’.
  • Place: Historical center of the city of Cusco.
  • What to see? Massive procession through the city center
Señor de los temblores

Corpus Christi Festival

Every year, nine weeks after Holy Thursday, the city of Cusco is filled with faith. That day is the religious festival of Corpus Christi, in which the 15 main images of saints and virgins are taken in procession: from their respective churches to the city’s Cathedral.

That day the city of Cusco offers the best of its gastronomy. In the streets the popular ‘Chiri uchu’ is sold as well as the delicious breads, rolls and empanadas. The investigations indicate that this tradition was imposed by the Spaniards before the Inca tradition of carrying the mummies of the Inca rulers in procession.

  • Date: Every year nine weeks after ‘Holy Thursday’ (approximately at the beginning of June).
  • Place: The Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
  • What to see? Procession of 15 images of the main saints and virgins of the city.
Corpus Chisty

Inti Raymi

Every year, June 24, is a holiday in Cusco. The reason? That day the Inti Raymi (Sun Festival, translated from the Quechua language) is celebrated. It is a vindication of the Inti Raymi festival organized by the Incas. It is that day is winter solstice, when the sun (Inca god) was closest to the earth in the southern hemisphere.

The Inti Raymi is characterized by a gigantic staging with hundreds of actors and actresses interpreting the ancient Inca celebration. The staging takes place in three settings: the Coricancha temple, the Plaza de Armas of Cusco and the Sacsayhuaman fortress. That day also, the people of Cusco celebrate with joy, music and typical dishes.

  • Date: Every year on June 24.
  • Place: Esplanade of Coricancha, Plaza de Armas of Cusco and esplanade of Sacsayhuaman.
  • What to see? Mass staging with actors and actresses staging the Inca Inti Raymi ceremony.
Inti raymi

Christmas and New Year in Cusco

In Cusco, the Christmas and New Year festivities have unique characteristics that are worth knowing. On Christmas Day and during the previous days, the ‘Fiesta de Santuranticuy’ (Sale of Saints, translated from Quechua) takes place in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. In other words, beautiful handicrafts with images of saints, virgins and more are sold.

On December 31 and January 1, families from Cusco taste the succulent baked suckling pig. At midnight hundreds of people from Cusco and tourists gather in the Plaza de Armas to wait for the new year. In addition to the general music and dance shows, the cabals for better luck next year are striking. A unique party in Peru!

  • Date: Every year on December 25 and January 1.
  • Place: Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
  • What to see? The popular sale of handicrafts “Santuranticuy” as well as the party saying goodbye to the old year in the center of the city
Año nuevo en cusco

Te Sugerimos leer . . .

The San Blas neighborhood is known as the 'bohemian neighborhood'. It is located just 15 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. In addition to the Plaza and the colonial church of San Blas, there you can see the historic craft shops of the Mérida, Olave and Mendivil families. You can also spend a moment of tranquility, away from the intense commerce of the city center. And the best thing is that a visit to this Cusco space is free for everyone. Learn more!
Inti Raymi is the festival of the sun that dates back to the time of the Incas. Today in the city of Cusco, the residents rescued this tradition from their ancestors to perform an impressive staging every June 24 in three stages: the Coricancha, the Plaza de Armas and Sacsayhuaman. Although there are admission tickets for these shows, it is also possible to see them for free. Learn more!
The Sapantiana aqueduct in Cusco is one of the most recent free tourist attractions in Cusco. It is a colonial construction with high walls and arches, down whose stairs the water of a channeled stream descends. This allows you to get excellent photographs of the place. Entry to this construction is free for all visitors. Getting there is also free since you can go on foot. Learn more!
Intipunku is a Quechua word that means 'Gate of the sun'. Perhaps the most famous is the one located at the top of Machupicchu. However, in Ollantaytambo – the Sacred Valley of the Incas – there is also an Intipunku made by the Incas, which offers beautiful landscapes and a lot of history. The visit is free for all tourists. But to do this you must complete a challenging short hiking route. Learn more!
Cusco is one of the best tourist destinations in South America. Every year it is visited by more than 2 million people. Machu Picchu is your main destination. However, the capital of the Incas offers more: natural mountainous landscapes, treks, adventures, cold nights, parties, experiential tourism and more. For your climate, geography and experiences, it is essential to carry a suitcase with the appropriate clothing and utensils. Know what to bring on your trip to Cusco!
Cusco is a tourist destination available for all types of prices and experiences. Tourists who want an A-1 service can hire luxury hotels, all-inclusive trains and the best restaurants in the city. Tourists who want a lower-budget experience can choose one of the seven affordable restaurants we present below.