Inti Raymi, Cusco: Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi, Cusco: Festival of the Sun

June 24

Cusco, Cusco, Peru

Many consider Inti Raymi the most famous festival in Peru and other parts of South America. It celebrates the Festival of the Sun of the Incas. It was suppressed by Spanish colonizers and the Catholic Church. It started again only in 1944 when Inti Raymi was recreated for a film. Inti was the sun god; it was believed that the Inca ruler was his living representative.

The origins of Inti Raymi date back to the height of the Inca Empire in the 15th-16th centuries. Back then, grand rituals accompanied by feasting, dancing, and sacrifices to the deity Inti - the Sun god, giver of life - were held for nine days in the great capital, Cusco. After the Inca Empire was conquered by Spanish conquistadors, the tradition was interrupted for a time but was revived in the 20th century as a vibrant celebration of national culture.

Program and Highlights

The festival is held in Cusco, the former Inca capital

The festival is held in Cusco, the former Inca capital, on June 24 each year and marks the shortest day in the southern hemisphere. It is believed that the original festival lasted nine days and told the story of the Inca people. Initially, it was held in the city's center.

Today, Inti Raymi is celebrated on June 24 in Cusco. The festivities begin early in the morning with a colorful parade through the historic city center. Hundreds of dancers in lavish costumes, styled after noble Inca attire, perform ritual dances to the sounds of traditional musical instruments.

The culmination is the reenactment of an ancient ritual at Sacsayhuamán, an impressive archaeological site just outside Cusco. Every year, but the main parts of the festival were moved to the outskirts of Cusco, to the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, known for its detailed construction. Huge stones were stacked in a row of dry stone walls, and these blocks fit perfectly together. It is a great backdrop for the Festival of the Sun. Here, hundreds of actors dressed as priests, nobility, and commoners recreate ceremonial scenes from the Inca era. The highlight is the "Inti Watana" ceremony - "The Tying of the Sun," involving high priests, Sapa Inca, and the Inca himself - roles played by descendants of Inca rulers.

Today, the festival consists of processions, dances, and feasts. Animal lovers, be warned; however, there is usually a ritual sacrifice of llamas. This reflects past ceremonies where the animals' entrails were examined for prophecies about what was to come.

After the captivating ceremony, street celebrations follow with dancing, singing, food, and, of course, plenty of chicha, the traditional corn beer!

How to Get There?

Cusco is easily accessible by plane through Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located just 3.5 km from the city center. Numerous regular flights connect Cusco with Lima and other cities in Peru and South America.

Travelers with more flexible schedules can take a bus or train to Cusco, enjoying the scenic views of the Andes Mountains along the way. Buses run from Lima, Arequipa, Puno, and other cities. The Cusco - Ollanta - Puno railway line connects the city with other tourist gems in the region.

Accommodation and Leisure

Cusco and its surroundings offer a wide range of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. The most luxurious hotels are located in former monasteries and colonial-era estates with breathtaking views of the city and mountains.

For eco-tourism and adventure lovers, numerous Cusco travel agencies offer hikes along the Inca Trail to the legendary Machu Picchu, expeditions to Lake Titicaca, treks in the Sacred Valley, and more.

Don't forget to try the local cuisine - Cusco's restaurants are famous for their delicious dishes made from corn, potatoes, seafood, and Andean camelid meat. Pair your meal with frothy corn beer, chicha!

Dates in 2024

In 2024, Inti Raymi will be held on June 24 in Cusco

In 2024, Inti Raymi will be held on June 24 in Cusco, located in southeastern Peru in the Andes at about 3,400 meters above sea level.


The festival is held in Cusco, Peru. There is also Sunshine in Ecuador and Sunshine in Bolivia.

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