inti raymi celebration

Reasons to travel to Cusco and see the Inti Raymi

Each year, on June 24, Cusco celebrates the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun in honor of the Inca God called ‘Inti’, the creator of all that exists according to the Inca civilization, established by Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui, the ninth Sapa Inca and one of the greatest conquerors of the Empire. The Inti Raymi was the most important religious ceremony during the time of the Inca Empire, as it celebrates the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere and the Andean New Year. During the 9 days of Inti Raymi celebrations, the Incas celebrated with music, colorful dances, processions and even animal sacrifices invoked to the sun, in order to ensure good crops for the year, give thanks to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and pay homage to the first-born son of the Sun, the Inca.

inti raymi sacsayhuaman

But when the Spaniards invaded the capital of the Inca Empire and catholic priests banned the ceremony claiming it was a pagan ceremony, the Incas continued celebrating the Inti Raymi in secret, hidden from the Spanish authorities.

After that, in 1944, the first reconstructed ceremony took place based around the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega. Since that period until now, a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuaman Fortress, 2km far from the main square in Cusco. This ceremony gives a real interpretation of the stories about the Inca’s heyday and particularly the performance of Sapa Inca, the Inca emperor who is carried in a golden chariot.

inti raymi golden chariot

Be witness of the most incredible andean festivity

Every year, the Inti Raymi starts in the outside gardens of Qoricancha, full of musicians, dancers, Acllas (women chosen to serve and worship the Sun God with their sweet voices singing Andean chants in quechua), priests, colorful outfits, locals wearing animal costumes such snakes, pumas and condors (symbolizing the underworld, the earthen world and the celestial world, according with the Inca mythology).

inti raymi panoramic

The ceremony goes over different places of the city, like the Plaza de Armas, where the best way to enjoy, experience and learn more about the significance of this festivity is to be with local people. This sharing can provide you a better understanding of the mythical origins of this ceremony and Cusco itself. The festivities of Inti Raymi ends with a procession back to Cusco, while the priests pronounce blessings on the people.

The Inti Raymi is still celebrated majestically as a unique and incomparable ceremony that draws every year thousands of visitors from all over the world, people who are interested and very excited to explore ancestral Incan life, to know about the richness of our culture, our archaeological heritage and our majestic landscapes. That’s why Cusco is, without a doubt, the most visited Peruvian city, not only for its colorful and vibrant ancestral festivities, but also for among other interesting reasons, such as many tours in Cusco you can take.

Live magical and unforgettable holidays

Machu Travel Peru offers you the most memorable and unique experience in Cusco, planning an interesting itinerary with which you can see something new, interesting and fascinating every day.  One of them is our tour to the enigmatic citadel of Machu Picchu, the best jewel of Peru, in which you can explore its impressive architecture, enjoy the company of the friendly llamas that roam this fascinating wonder of the world and even witness the impressive spectacle that sunrise gives us when it illuminates Machu Picchu; also to visit the amazing Sacred Valley and its beautiful archeological sites. It’s possible to explore other amazing places around Cusco as well, like Rainbow Mountain, Humantay Lagoon, Salkantay, Lares and more.

inti raymi tour to machu picchu
For those who love and enjoy adventure sports and outdoor activities, Cusco has an excellent scenario for ecotourism, mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, paragliding and rafting on the Urubamba river, for example. But if you are not one of those who enjoy too much with this kind of activities, there are many daily activities and things to do in Cusco in order to experience the rich history of this magical city, like visit the many museums which house impressive Pre-Columbian artifacts, the viewpoints can provide you a really impressive view of the city, the cobbled streets would give you the feeling of being in the Inca period, the colorful handicraft markets will offer you special gifts.

Be seduced by Andean gastronomic wonders

Even the varied Gastronomic wonders of Cusco will be really interesting for anyone who enjoys new and peculiar foodie experiences, not only in gourmet restaurants but also in local markets. One of the typical dishes is Cuy chatcado, really popular among locals and visitors; the famous Chicha de jora, which is made from fermented corn, is always welcome cause is a ceremonial drink from the Peruvian Andes and it is also served during the festivities in honor of the Incas.

inti raymi cuy chactado

Enjoy a dream stay

On the other hand, all good experiences have to be surrounded by comfort, right? In Machu Travel Peru, we work with the best hotels in Cusco and suppliers like, JW Marriott Hotel in Cusco, Tambo del Inka Hotel in Sacred Valley, Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu, in order to give our customers the best and pleasant stay in Cusco, and make your experience a perfect, memorable and unforgettable one.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!

click here: Best Peru Tours

Please note that our tours depart 365 days a year.


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