When considering the best time to visit Machu Picchu or Peru in general, I always recommend trying to choose dates that include one of Cusco’s major celebrations – Inti Raymi (the largest and most important yearly Inca festivity in honor of the Sun God) or Fiestas Patrias. The very first time I came to Peru in 2008, I arrived just in time for Fiestas Patrias, which was an amazing welcome and introduction to Peruvian culture.
What Is Fiestas Patrias?
– Fiestas Patrias can be translated to something similar to “National Holidays” or “Patriotic Celebrations”
– In Peru, the official Fiestas Patrias is a combination of 2 days (the first day is our Independence Day and the second day is in honor of the National Armed Forces and Police) but celebrations are all month long
– Fiestas Patrias is a term that's also used in other Latin American countries in which they celebrate for different reasons
What Day Is Fiestas Patrias?
In Peru, Fiestas Patrias is celebrated during the entire month of July throughout the entire country, but there are some key dates worth jotting down:
– July 28: Commemorates Peru's independence from the Spanish Empire proclaimed by General José de San Martín
– July 29: Great Military Parade of Peru in Lima (the capital) formally marking the last day of Fiestas Patrias
How Is Fiestas Patrias Celebrated in Peru?
– Before schools go on vacation, they usually organize some kind of Independence Day parade
– Houses and apartments all across the country hang flags from their windows
– The Cusco Plaza de Armas and plazas over Peru will organize some kind of event or series of events that usually include a military parade, music, and fireworks
Side note: Since these are national holidays when schools and many businesses go on an extended vacation (similar to the North American Spring Break), it may be more expensive to book flights and hotels around this time, especially hotels near the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.