AMAUTA students in Peru have already experienced a large part of the “Fiestas de Cusco” during this month of June. However, the biggest and most important celebration of Cusco is still to come. Only a few days after Qoyllur Rit’i and Corpus Christi, on June 24th – the day that the sun is farthest away from the earth – Inti Raymi will be celebrated in Cusco. It is a traditional Inca festival when the people worship the sun and plead for its return. Below you will find some tips and tricks, be prepared to make the most out of this special day in Cusco.
Inti Raymi is the most anticipated of all the festivities in Cusco and everything in June leads up to this revered day. Many travelers in South America come to Peru to in June to be sure to not miss the Inti Raymi Festival: a reenactment of the ancient ceremony, honoring the sun, that takes place on the sacred ruins of Sacsayhuaman, located on a hill that overlooks the city of Cusco. The ceremony is in Quechua and locals are designated far in advance for these important roles of the play. Cast members consider it a true honor to be able to participate in such a vital role of Cusco´s traditions.
Nowadays, seating is placed at the site of the ceremony and other people stand around the seats, as there are not enough places for everyone. In order to reserve a spot in the stands, it is necessary to book in advanced. However, if you did not reserve a spot, many people simply stand around the ruins of Sacsahuaman and watch, though it is sometimes difficult to see. But you will still experience the amazing atmosphere and share this special day with the local people of Cusco.
Some tourists in Cusco will take a tour bus to go up to Sacsahuaman – those people will have bought an Inti Raymi Tour that includes the transportation, a guide and the (expensive) entrance fees to attend the ceremony. But we recommend our Spanish students to just walk the small hike to Sacsayhuaman together with hundreds of local people.
It does not cost anything to simply attend the Inti Raymi celebration. There is plenty of food to buy on the site, although we always recommend you to be careful if you have a weak stomach, as the Peruvian street food might not be prepared to the standards you are used to. If you plan on staying for the entire ceremony, you may want to take a small snack with you and some water. The site is extremely packed with people so it is best not to take many valuables or too much money. Be aware of pickpockets too.