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Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Just last month, the Peruvian Minister of Culture, Susana Baca, announced that yet another aspect of Peruvian culture had caught the attention of UNESCO, bringing Peru even more to the forefront as an internationally-recognized travel destination.

The annual pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i, a religious event that takes place in the highlands near Cuzco, has been named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Now this Lord of Qoyllurit’i Festival is available as one of our UNESCO Tours.

Photo courtesy: Erick via Wikimedia Commons

No longer is Peru simply known as the home of Machu Picchu, the spectacular city of stone located in the dense cloud forest of the Peruvian Andes. Peru boasts a number of incredible travel destinations, many of which have been recognized by UNESCO. Northern Peru’s archeological treasures in Kuelap, Trujillo, and Chiclayo, come to mind, especially now that the Peruvian government strives to increase tourism to regions of Peru other than Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

The Lord of Qoyllurit’i festival is a colorful display of dance, music, and costumes that happen on the feast day of Ascension, in May or June. Locals dress up to dance along a mountain path near Cuzco, and finishing at the Sinakara sanctuary with an elaborate feast. Mixing native folklore and Catholic symbols, the festival is considered one of the most important religious festivals in Peru.

Since its origins sometime in the late 18th century, this Peruvian festival now attracts over 10,000 pilgrims and tourists each year. Many of the pilgrims are indigenous Peruvians from Quechua and Aymara peoples. Pilgrims, musicians, and dancers dress in colorful costumes and carry small crosses through the mountains in the Sacred Valley to the Lord of Qoyllurit’i shrine in the Sinakara sanctuary in the mountains.

This festival takes place approximately one month before another traditional Peruvian indigenous festival, Inti Raymi, a colorful pageant re-enacting the Inca tradition of sun worship. The Inti Raymi festival takes place at the Sacsayhuaman ruins outside of Cuzco every June. As the Lord of Qoyllurit’i festival, Inti Raymi is well-attended by locals as well as tourists interested in the vivid cultural traditions of indigenous Peruvians.

If you are interested in visiting Peru during the Lord of Qoyllurit’i Festival or Inti Raymi, just contact us and one of our expert travel consultants can help you plan your Peru vacation.

Check out our Peru Tours, especially our Travels of the Incas Tour which gives an in-depth look at Inca ruins in Peru and Bolivia. 

View all our UNESCO Tours.