Our top 10 reasons to Visit Peru this winter explores the treasures that can be found in Peru during the off season. Let’s face it most tourists visit Peru during the Summer travel season. This is when generally the whole world descends upon Peru.
The high travel season (April to October) also means elevated prices, crowded sites such as Machu Picchu and overbooked hotels. What you may not know is that for the majority of the country those are the winter months. November through March, the so-called low season, is most widely known as summer in Peru, and you can take advantage of the gorgeous coastal weather, low prices and festivities that occur during this time.
Here is the Karikuy Top 10 Reasons to Visit Peru this Winter (November – March):
10. Freedom – We kick off our 10 reasons to visit Peru with the obvious, less travel congestion. During the low season you will have the chance to explore the country with relative ease with no lines, no overbooked hotels and lets face it there’s nothing better then having a secluded location all to yourself. Whether you are visiting the remote Marcahuasi or on the Inca Trail you will more then appreciate the silence and tranquility. The best times to do the Inca Trail during the off season is March and Marcahuasi in November and late March.
9. Virgen de la Candelaria – The great festival of Southern Peru takes place in Puno, along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Beginning February 2nd there are parades, colorful costumes, music and a lot of drinking and celebrating. People gather for days ahead to pray and to celebrate in a mixture of Catholic and native religions.
The Virgen which is at the center of the festival is also associated with Lake Titicaca as the birth of the Inca empire, with the cult of the earth, Pachamama. Men, women and children dance in her honor, to show their devotion and their thanks for her blessings. The celebration continues as a prelude to Carnival.
8. Lima’s Anniversary – On January 18th, 1532 the great Capital City of Lima was founded as the City of Kings. Every year this date brings about great parties throughout Lima with gastronomic festivals, parades and concerts. The main festivity is centered around the main plaza of Lima, it was here that Francisco Pizarro, The founder of Lima, was said to have laid out the main plaza using his sword to draw on the barren soil. The city’s main festivities are centered here with a parade, mass and free concert in the evening concluded by fireworks.
7. Christmas in Peru – As in many other Latin American countries, Christmas is the main holiday of the year. In Peru it is celebrated by a midnight feat symbolizing the birth of Christ. In the streets a deafening sound of fireworks are to be heard as all of Peru’s cities explode in celebration. Hot Chocolate and Panettone are served despite the summer heat, the festivities continue into the early morning.
6. Mysterious Machu Picchu – Our top 10 reasons to visit Peru would not be complete without Machu Picchu. During winter the wet season dominates the high Andes, and the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu take on a whole new atmosphere. No more are the clear blue skies and expansive views, instead the trail is shrouded in a blanket of fog, clearing every once in a while to give you a sneak peak of the environment around you.
The ruins you visit on the Inca Trail are blanketed in a mysterious fog that makes the whole experience surreal. The fog also makes it so that you do not see the ruins of Machu Picchu from afar as you would hiking in the high season, but instead see the citadel reveal itself on the final day of your hike.
5. New Years – Peruvians love to party and the party of the year is always on New Years, Night Clubs also known as Discotecas are packed beyond capacity and stay open well into the morning. Drink specials and famous bands line the bill as Peruvians say hello to the New Year. Every city has it’s Boulevard de Discos so choose wisely. In Lima, los Olivos and el Barranco Boulevards are recommended.
4. The Food – Peruvian food is incredible year round but nothing beats eating some Ceviche on the Peruvian coast under a hot lazy sun. Or perhaps to the Andes where you can eat some freshly harvested Corn among other produce. BBQ’s are abundant on the coast during summer as in the states, take advantage of relaxing outdoors with a finely prepared pachamanca or finger licking anticuchos. This should really be higher on our list of 10 reasons to visit Peru.
3. Beaches – This is a no brainer is is on most top ten lists out there but there is no better place to go during the summer then the beach and Peru offers you plenty of choices. For our 10 reasons to visit Peru this winter we recommend you go to the tropical beaches in the North, here beaches like Máncora and Punta Sal offer white sand beaches and incredible sunny weather to help you relax and drink pisco sours on the beach. Just south of Lima you have Punta Hermosa and Puerto Viejo where the majority of Limeños go to cool off in the hot summer months.
2. Low Prices – Many hotels and tour services offer low prices for the off season, make sure to ask for seasonal fares, even here at Karikuy Tours we offer some off season deals. Make sure to book around the holidays as Christmas and Easter prices remain at regular price. If your good at bargaining you can even receive some great packaged deals and hotels at up to 40% off regular price. What else is better then saving hard earned money? not much which is why it makes our list of 10 reasons to visit Peru.
1. Carnaval – February is by far the most colorful and fun month of the year. During this time it is not unusual to see groups of men and women battling it out with water balloons, face paint and talc. The victor is the one less drenched and dressed up with paint and water.
On the weekends it is not unusual to see water fights between buses heading to the beach. Yunzas take place on the weekend, they are large block parties where gifts are adorned on a large tree that is planted in the middle of the road, people take turns dancing around it and cutting it down until the tree falls. Carnaval is most intensely played on Sundays and in the Andes are accompanied by colorful festivals, food, and drinking of course.
10 Reasons to Visit Peru Conclusion
We hope our list of 10 Reason to Visit Peru this Winter has made it clear that there is still so much to see and do in Peru during the off season. Peru is a very busy and diverse country, with most of the worlds microclimates you are bound to find good weather and people where ever you travel. We hope you have a great time and welcome to Peru! If you’ve already been to Peru let us know your 10 reasons to visit Peru in the comments, did we miss anything?
Founder of Karikuy, an organization in Peru that brings travelers to visit and explore the country. Julio also runs the Karikuy Volunteer program and is the editor of this blog. Julio likes to write about his adventures in Peru as well as Peruvian folklore, mysteries and secluded locations.