8 Bolivian Festivals and Parades That Are Out of This World

| © Juan_Alvaro/Flickr
Harry Stewart

Bolivia is a country that really knows how to party. Countless crazy festivals and entradas (parades) are held around the country throughout the year, making a worthwhile detour for travelers who like to let their hair down. Read on to discover eight of our favorites.


The biggest and craziest event on Bolivia’s calendar, Carnaval is celebrated throughout the country, but the best action takes place in the highland city of Oruro. Dating back some 200 years, this epic street parade showcases a fascinating mix of religious syncretism, with Catholic and indigenous deities dancing side by side to the infectious beat of over 150 different marching bands. It runs for four days during February or March, with the main event occurring on the Saturday.

Carnival in Oruro

Nuestro Señor del Gran Poder

Gran Poder

Entrada Universitaria

Another La Paz entrada which is a little more family-friendly than the Gran Poder, Entrada Universitaria is performed entirely by university students and doesn’t have any religious themes. Rather, the event has the sole aim of keeping Bolivia’s undeniably beautiful folklore alive by encouraging participation from students attending the country’s largest state run university. The students receive academic credit for taking part and the city gets to watch a raucous street parade. The biggest entrada takes place in La Paz in July or August, though other cities hold smaller events.



Alasitas is a bizarre and intriguing festival where indigenous Bolivians flock to La Paz from surrounding areas to purchase miniature replicas of the things they desire in the coming year. The belief is that when these tiny little models are blessed by a shaman or priest, they will become reality during the coming year. Thousands of people flock to markets around the city to get in on the action.


Ñatita festival

Ñatita is like Mexico’s Day of the Dead but turned up to 11. Some Aymara people in the Andean highlands believe that when the skulls of their deceased loved ones (or random strangers dug up from a graveyard) are decorated with flowers, hats or cigarettes, they will return the favor with protection and healing. This weird and wonderful festival takes place primarily in La Paz in early November.

Aymara New Year

The Aymara, the predominant indigenous race in La Paz, have long believed that the winter solstice marks the beginning of a new year. On June 21 every year, a horde of revelers travel two hours by bus from La Paz to the sacred ruins of Tiwanaku to celebrate the occasion. A raging party overtakes the normally quiet nearby town of the same name, with live folkloric music, bonfires and plenty of merrymaking throughout the night. Just as the sun comes up, everyone heads into the Tiwankau ruins to greet the first rays of sunlight of the year with outstretched arms.


Festival of Virgen de la Candelaria

Taking place at the beginning of February each year, this raucous festival pays homage to one of Bolivia’s most sacred Catholic statues, the Virgen de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Copacabana). This small and visually underwhelming statue is so revered, it had an entire church built to house it – a worthwhile investment considering it is believed to have saved the lives of doomed fisherman and destroyed the crops of non-believers. The festival features countless colorfully dressed dancers, marching bands and a seemingly endless supply of beer.

Virgen de la Candelaria

Tinku Festival

Tinku is Bolivia’s most insane and undiscovered festival, probably because tourists don’t want to cop a random fist to the face. The event, which has run for hundreds of years, sees neighboring villagers in the department of Potosí get together for a brutal fist fight, with blood spill believed to appease pachamama (mother nature) and bring fourth a bountiful harvest.

Tinku Festival
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article