If you’re planning to spend Christmas in Peru this year, we can design the most incredible holiday. Here is our pick of six of the best experiences in this South American country during the festive season.

If you’re looking for somewhere beautiful, vibrant, warm and a bit different to enjoy Christmas, Peru just might be the answer. December is an excellent month to travel in this incredible South American country – at this time of year, the coastal regions, including Lima and northern Peru, experience glorious sunshine, warm temperatures, minimal rainfall and fewer tourists. If you choose to spend Christmas in Cusco, the Sacred Valley or the highlands, it is the start of the wet season so may see some rain, but you also have an amazing opportunity to experience some Peru’s biggest attractions without the crowds.

Although ‘Navidad’ is celebrated in a more low-key way than in the West, Christmas traditions in Peru are still taken seriously in some areas, particularly Lima, making it a fun-filled place to celebrate the festive season. Usually, Peruvians exchange non-compulsory presents on Christmas Eve (often just the small children), followed by feasting at midnight.

Below, we reveal a few must-have experiences if you are tempted to enjoy a magical Christmas in Peru:

1. Visit the Christmas markets

Christmas markets are a popular tradition in Peru and a brilliant place to find presents and souvenirs. There are plenty of artisanal goods to buy, such as alpaca wool baubles, colourful textiles nativity figures, handmade toys and seasonal food. Some of the best Christmas markets in Peru include the ones in Cusco, Arequipa and Lima, with two of our favourites being those at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco and Kennedy Park in Miraflores, Lima.

2. Go to a Christmas concert

There are many Christmas concerts held in Peru during the holiday season. Some of the most popular Christmas concerts include the Christmas Concert at the Cathedral of Lima, the Christmas Concert at the National Theater of Peru and the Christmas Concert at the Miraflores Park.

3. Eat traditional Peruvian Christmas food

Food at Christmas depends on the family and location, with some tucking into a sumptuous roast turkey, often with ham, rice and salad, and others enjoying caldo de gallina, a chicken soup that is very popular. Both options are delicious. Make sure you taste some of these delicious dishes, in particular mazamorra morada, a pudding made from purple corn and fruit and panetón, a light cake filled with sweets or chocolate chips – washed down with an authentic Peruvian hot chocolate, conjured up using 100% cacao grated and melted with water, before adding spices and milk.

4. Attend Christmas mass

Christmas mass is a popular tradition in Peru, and it’s a great way to experience the country’s unique culture and traditions. Some of the most popular Christmas masses in Lima include those at the Cathedral of Lima, the Basilica of San Francisco and the Miraflores Park.


5. See a nativity scene

Nativity scenes are a traditional part of Christmas celebrations in Peru, and you can find nativity scenes set out in churches, homes and public squares.

6. Experience Inca sites and the Sacred Valley without the crowds

Although you may see some rain at Machu Picchu and in the Sacred Valley at this time of year, it is worth it for the wonder of experiencing this incredible corner of the world with fewer tourists. Machu Picchu and other Inca sites are open every day of the year, so there is no reason not to celebrate Christmas by having these breathtaking remnants of past civilisations all to yourself. We recommend spending several days at least on any trip to Peru. Surrounded by the Andes Mountains in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, it is a wonderful place to experience in all seasons. Although the Sol y Luna School is closed for holidays over Christmas, we can arrange visits to the Sol y Luna Home. This is a wonderful opportunity for guests to give presents that are very much needed to the children and to spend time with them, a both humbling and uplifting experience.


A couple of hours from Cusco, in the towns of Qu’ehue, Santo Tomas or Checca, one of Peru’s more interesting – and certainly different – Christmas traditions takes place. Takanakuy, which translates as ‘fight’ in Quechua. At this unusual celebration, people fight with their friends, foes and everyone in between. The tradition aims to ensure a happy and peaceful new year by releasing and resolving all tensions on one day. Perhaps surprisingly, it apparently works.

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Caroline Maber
Karen Chapman
Serena Winn-Darley

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