February has always been a month filled with festivities for the people of Peru. The first two weeks alone are filled with vibrant colors, dancing, and music. People from all over the world flock to Puno to join the celebrations and to celebrate Puno’s patron saint during La Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria, which is the prelude to the Candelaria Festival, one of Peru’s top festivals. The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014 by the UNESCO.
The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria includes religious and cultural and festivities that are inspired by Catholic traditions. The festival is associated with the pre-Hispanic agricultural cycles of sowing and harvesting and the mining activities in the region.
The focus of the festival is music and dancing; it is organized by the Regional Federation of Folklore and Culture of Puno. Three regional federations of practitioners collaborate to coordinate the festivity and conserve the traditional principles and skills associated with music, dance, and mask-making. To ensure that the younger generation learns about the traditional aspects of the festivities, they attend rehearsals and craft workshops.
For the first nine days of the festivities, the organizers decorate the church. They organize the masses, banquets, and the fireworks display. On February 2nd, the main festival begins with a daybreak mass and followed by an ancient purification ceremony. This public worship act leads into a religious procession where the image of the Virgin is carried aloft along the streets.
The Virgin is accompanied by traditional music and dancing by musicians and dancers who bring the entertainment to the streets throughout the city. This colorful procession also involves priests, altar boys, and the faithful. The mixing of Christian and pagan religions is evident here. Mamacha Candelaria, Mamita Canticha, and MamaCandi are all names for the Virgen of Candelaria, the patron saint of Puno. Join us in our Puno Festivity Tours Joins us!!!
1 – 8 Guests
Experience | Difficulty
- Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
- DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
- Moderate schedule
- Travel by car or minibus
- Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and hiking (none of our adventures have difficult hikes)
- (non-photographers also welcome)
Weather | Sun
May – Temps 70/40 F 20/2 C Sunrise 5:24 | Sunset 7:23 (19:23)
September – Temps 75/42 F 24/5 C Sunrise 6:10 | Sunset 6:35 (18:35)
- 5 Days
- Travel, landscape, nature, wildlife and people photography
- Professional photographer | guide
- Photo walks & discussions
- Small group size (1-8 guests)
- 3 or 4-star hotels
- All Meals
- National Park Permits
- Local transportation
Arrival Airport:Cusco– Transfer time to hotel 30min
Departure Airport:Cusco – Transfer time to hotel 30min
Our adventure begins in the morning on the first day and ends at and of the last day.
Travel Visa: Note required
Hotels -Home Stay
ITINERARY FESTIVITY VIRGEN DE LA CANDELARIA PUNO
The tour begins in the afternoon at around 2pm. The Sillustani Chullpas (pre-Incan funeral towers) are situated on an Aymara peninsula of Lake Titicaca, about 32 km from Puno. The setting is dramatic and beautiful. Most of the towers date from the period of Inca occupation in the 15th century, but the engineering involved in their construction is more complex than anything the Incas built. The towers were Aymara tombs where they kept the human remains of the nobles, called “the Mallkus”. Once we have finished the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel. After Dinner Optional:
Later in the afternoon, the bands and dancers make their way to the middle of the city and by 7pm the Vísperas de la fiesta octava begins. This night also ends in a showing of fireworks.
The exact origins of the Candelaria festival are debated, but its significance and vibrancy continues with dance and music groups from Peru and Bolivia converging on Puno, a melting pot of native culture: the two largest Andean ethnic groups –the Quechuas from the north, the Aymaras from the south. The festivity is related to the traditional farming cycles of planting and harvesting (worshipping Pachamama or Mother Earth), as well as with the region’s mining activities.
The day of the ‘Gran Concurso de Trajes de Luces’ (Great competition for costumes of light). On this day, dancers will perform from 7am to 5pm.
Festivities continue on these days with the ‘Gran Veneracion a la Virgen de Candelaria’ where dancers parade for 4 km in celebrations of the Virgin of Candelaria and Puno again is filled with music and colour. Parades will continue in different destinations around Puno continue over the final few days. Then, to finish off the festival, awards will be given at the closing ceremony for the best dance groups.
We spend a full day watching the parades that focus on storytelling in the form of costumes, masks, and music. Your guide is there to help explain the sights and sounds and to translate, and you will have great seats along the procession route that the dancers follow to pay their respect to the Virgin. The devil’s dance is one of the main themes and is based on a story of a group of miners who, when trapped in a cave, saw images of the Virgin of Candelaria.
Depart this morning with your guide to the the floating islands of the Uros people. Peru’s floating islands are built using the buoyant totora reeds that grow along Lake Titicaca, and these reeds are interwoven to make homes, boats, and crafts.
In the afternoon, visit Taquile Island. Climb the steps to the plaza at the center of the island for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Return to Puno and relax this evening on the shores.
Entire roundtrip Juliaca – Puno Juliaca by private ground transportation
Fully guided sightseeing during the trip
End of Festivity Virgen de la Candelaria Puno