You might have heard that June is one of the best times to visit Cusco – it’s the busiest most tourist-filled month of the year in the city of the Incas because it’s the month of Inti Raymi. What is Inti Raymi? Only the most important festival of the year that lets you experience how the Incas used to honor and celebrate their Sun God (Inti). Inti (Sun) Raymi (Festival) is considered the 2nd largest festival in all of South America (after Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), bringing together more than 100,000 people.
That’s why it’s super important to book early if you’re planning to visit during June and/or see the Inti Raymi Festival. You want to make sure you reserve all the key components before everything’s sold out and before prices are increased:
- Your hotel
- Inti Raymi viewing tickets
- Machu Picchu tickets (a simple day-trip from Cusco)
- Where is Inti Raymi celebrated?
Inti Raymi is celebrated in different locations around the city of Cusco, including (1) Qorikancha (the Golden Temple), the (2) main Plaza de Armas of Cusco, and at (3) the Sacsayhuaman (or Saqsaywaman) Inca ruins. All 3 of these places are within relative walking distance of each other.
- How is Inti Raymi celebrated?
Inti Raymi is celebrated as a dramatic representation of how this festival may have been celebrated by the Incas in the past. Everything starts from sunrise at Qorikancha (the Golden Temple). Then, history meets the present when the actor who represents the Inca leader greets the current mayor of Cusco. Finally, more than 750 actors come together at the Sacsayhuaman Fortress to dramatize the Inti Raymi festival of years ago in a celebration filled with music and color. In the past, it's said that everyone in the Inca Empire would turn off their torches to wait for the first peek of sunrise or the triumphant entrance of the Sun God (Inti).
- Why is Inti Raymi celebrated?
Inti Raymi is celebrated to keep the spirit of the Incas alive in Peru and to educate locals and tourists alike of the rich history in the Andes through an artistic performance of how the Incas used to worship their Sun God (Inti).
- When is Inti Raymi celebrated?
Inti Raymi is celebrated in Cusco every year on June 24th. Historically, it's believed that it was celebrated on the day of the winter solstice, but the actual date was adjusted in Peru in the 1940s for political reasons.
- Who celebrates Inti Raymi?
Inti Raymi used to be celebrated by the Incas in the 15th century but is now celebrated by local Cusco residents and tourists every year in June.
- How long does Inti Raymi last?
Inti Raymi celebrations last for one single day. The festival is celebrated throughout the day on June 24th every year.
- What does Inti Raymi mean?
Inti Raymi is quechua for “Sun Festival” or “Sun Celebration.” It's said that during Inca times, the celebration was actually called “Wawa Inti Raymi,” which means “Festival of the Sun Child” speaking to how the sun is “reborn,” and a new annual cycle begins.