Everything You Need to Know About Peru's Carnival

Carnival | © al3xitox100pre / Pixabay
Brandon Dupre

Carnival is one of Peru’s most celebrated holidays and is a great time to be in the country. You’ll experience Peruvian parties, large parades, and some of the most unique celebrations in all of Latin America. Here is our guide to everything you need to know before attending Peru’s famous holiday.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

When is it?

Carnival is usually celebrated in February and is the week before Lent. Its roots lie in the Catholic faith, which was brought over from Spain during colonization. Today, it is one of the most celebrated holidays in all of Peru and throughout Latin America. It has become a time of drinking, eating, and partying.

Where should you go?

Carnival is celebrated all over Peru, but there are some cities where it is especially popular, drawing people from all over the country as well as from all around the world. The cities mentioned here will require advance booking and planning in order to beat the crowds and find somewhere to stay. Expect most accommodations in these cities to raise their prices during carnival.


Cusco may have the most unique carnival celebration in all of Peru. It is a unique city that is a mix of Andean and Catholic traditions, and this will become apparent when you watch the parades and see the unique dress and the dance that take place.

Cajamarca parade


Cajamarca is known around Peru as the best place to celebrate carnival. They have a massive Plaza de Armas, which is perfect for a large gathering of people. You’ll find the streets decorated, and people everywhere wearing costumes and masks. The normally sleepy Andean town comes to life this month to throw the best party of the year.


As the capital of Peru, there is sure to be a lot going on in Lima during carnival. The city is too big to have a centralized party, and instead, you’ll find neighborhood parties all over the city, with people everywhere joining in on the carnival traditions.

How do Peruvians celebrate?

Peru has many different and unique ways of celebrating one of their biggest parties of the year. Some of the traditions won’t be found anywhere else in Latin America, making a Peruvian carnival a unique experience.


Water ballooning

Water ballooning not just your friends, but everyone you see, is common practice. Small armies of kids armed with huge numbers of water balloons will be seen throughout cities, chucking water balloons at unsuspecting bystanders. The intense heat of a Peruvian summer means that the barrage of water balloons is welcomed by most people.


The person in charge of your carnival party will plant a tree that is decorated with presents and ornaments, similar to a Christmas tree, but with prizes on it. Everyone hangs around the tree until all the guests have arrived, and will then begin the chopping. Taking an axe or machete, couples will take turns hacking at the tree until it is brought down. The couple that knocks down the tree will then throw next year’s party.

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.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article