Witness the party transformation of tiny Puno during this iconic festival

Climb high up into the Peruvian mountains to the mystical blue waters of Lake Titicaca for a unique celebration. The festival of the Virgin of Candelaria has grown from a small local tradition into one of South America’s largest events, when tens of thousands of revellers from the surrounding areas descend on the town for a dynamic celebration of colour, dance, music and fun. Sail across Titicaca to the intriguing floating islands of the Uros, learn about the unique lifestyle of their inhabitants and then wander through the ancient funeral ruins of the pre-Incan Aymara people. When the festival begins - a blend of Incan, Christian, Aymara and Quechan traditions - join the locals in watching the procession of the statue of the Virgin. Then, prepare your eyes and ears for a spectacle of colour and sound as communities come together in big groups, clad in spectacular costumes and elaborate masks, to dance in homage to the city’s patron and protector Mamacha Candelaria or in the Dance of the Devils.

Start
Puno, Peru
Finish
Puno, Peru
Countries
Themes
Short Breaks
Code
GGHV
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Cruise Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake
  • Learn about the traditional way of life on the unique Uros floating islands
  • Uncover the pre-Incan funeral towers of Sillustani
  • Watch a fireworks display, reflected off the crystal lake
  • Follow the procession of the Virgin through the streets as the extravagant Grand Parade snakes through the city
  • Behold hundreds of dancers and musicians in perfectly choreographed performances

Itinerary

On arrival in Puno, head to the hotel. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechua Indian culture. Traditional Andean customs still have a strong presence here and the town is known as the folklore capital of Peru. The day is free for you to explore Puno and acclimatise to the altitude. In the evening, take a guided walking tour to see the final festival rehearsals and a firework show. Note: Please note that transfers and extra accommodation can be booked through your agent if needed (subject to availability).
This morning take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in pre-Incan times. It’s worth bringing some extra money with you, as island residents sell locally made handicrafts. At 3,820 metres above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. As the atmosphere is so clear the sun can be very strong, so ensure you wear a hat and sunscreen even on cloudy days. In the afternoon, visit the ancient funeral towers of Sillustani before returning to Puno for the official ‘Procession of the Virgin’.
In the morning, meet up with your local guide. Head to the main street parade (Parada y Veneracion) and take your allocated seat. Watch as over 200 groups of extravagantly costumed performers fill the streets with colour, dance and music. Held in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria, patron saint of Puno, this is one of the largest and most important cultural events in Peru and a photographer’s dream.
There are no activities planned for today and you can leave your accommodation at any time. If you require a transfer to the airport, please let your agent know at least 15 days before the trip.
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Inclusions

Meals
3 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Included activities
  • Half day visit - Uros Floating Islands
  • Sillustani Half day tour

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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