On July 28th, the country of Peru commemorates its liberation from Spain by José de San Martin, the most famous Latin America liberator aside from Simón Bolívar. The next day, on July 29th, the Peruvian people celebrate the formation of the Republic of Perú. These two days are called Las Fiestas Patrias and are the most important holidays after Christmas.
You should book hotels and other reservations way in advance before these dates, as bookings will fill up fast and prices will only get higher as the date draws nearer.
The night before the big day, Criolla music and small fiestas will be filling the streets, and the red and white flag of Peru will be fluttering on almost every building.
In Lima, the official celebration begins before the official date, and the festivities are held in Parque de la Muralla, where a wide assortment of Peruvian music and dances, from traditional folkloricos and afro-Peruvian songs to modern rock and reggaeton will be performed. At midnight, the night sky will be lit up by a fantastic fireworks display, and there will also be an amazing 3D light show at the Fantasia Fountain (The Magic Water Circuit).
The official first day will begin in Lima with a roaring 21- cannon salute performed before the flag raising. Afterwards, there will be a Te Deum at the Lima Cathedral, which will be attended by the president whom will address the congress. The next day, the famous Military Parade will be held.
In a different region of the country, Peruvians also organize agricultural fairs (Cajamarca, Piura, Monsefú) and with these three festivals the locals celebrate the heart of Creole culture: cockfighting, bullfighting, and Peruvian Paso Horse demonstrations.
Rivaling the capital in terms of celebrations is Peru’s second city, Arequipa, which also goes all out with its street celebrations and fiestas, with music and dancing until the night ends. The city is part of the “Southern Peru Tourist Corridor”, along with Nazca, Puno, and Cusco. Unlike these other cities, Arequipa is an exceptional case of how the Spanish and mestizo culture developed in Peru without many Inca influences.
In Cusco, people from all over the country and outside of it relish in street festivities, fireworks and plenty of piscos. Cusco is widely known for being the center of the Inca world. Cusco’s yearly festivals have many influences from its blended background, and it is also reflected in its Independence Day celebrations.
If you happen to be in Cajamarca, Independence Day will overlap with an important livestock and agricultural fair that also features cockfighting, bull running and exhibitions of the beautiful Peruvian Paso Horse.
Should you be fortunate enough to be traveling through Peru while the Fiestas Patrias Peruanas is in progress, you’re bound to see a marvelous display of Peru’s unique national character.