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Inti Raymi, festival of the Sun in Cusco

June 24 is an important date for all people in Cusco. We are proud of our city and we said Haylli Qosqo loudly. We have so much to be thankful for. Cusco has seen us being born and growing up. On this special date, we commemorate our history, culture, and tradition that has survived over time. Every year on the Day of Cusco, the most popular festival of the world, “Inti Raymi” or “festival of the Sun”, takes place. The festival gathers people worldwide who are fascinated by the journey back to the Incas period.

Join us on this historical circuit of Inti Raymi festival on Cusco’s day!

Fiesta del Inti Raymi - 2018 Forografía: Luz Incappuiño

Inti Raymi FestIval – 2018     Photograph by: Luz Incappuiño

It is our great pleasure to share this important day for Cusco. Each one of us who had the opportunity to come to this magical city would agree that every compliment that honors Cusco is well deserved.



Inti Raymi Festival:

Inti Raymi was formerly known as “Wawa Inti Raymi” during the Incas time. It used to take place in the main square of Cusco, Plaza de Armas or Huacaypata. Most  of the important figures of the time attend the event. According to reliable resources of the history of Cusco, some rituals were performed by all people of the Inca Empire. The ancient rituals included:

  • Three days of purification and fasting by the Sapa Inca and the Curacas – the ruler and the principal governors of Cusco. Only water, uncooked corn and chucam were eaten.
  • Children under ten years old were brought from the four Suyus and were sacrificed.
  • Couples weren’t allowed to sleep together.
  • Acllas prepared the corn bread.

Inti Raymi Main Day

On the main day of the Sun celebration, people would gather at the Huacaypata. They took off their shoes and faced towards the rising sun. As the sun rose higher in the sky, they would crouch and blow kisses in a sign of respect and raise two golden cups filled with offerings. Then they headed to Qoricancha to offer sacrifices of llamas, and sometimes children, to ensure good harvest as the empire looked toward a new season.

After that, they returned to Plaza de Armas or Huacaypata to perform rituals for the fire. Sapa Inca would step on a stage in front of the crowd and drink “chicha de jora”, a maize based drink, in honor of Inti.

The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535. After this, the Spanish colonists and their Catholic priests banned the ceremony and other Inca religious practices. However, it was in 1944 that Faustino Espinoza Navarro, a Quechua writer, actor and director, revived the celebration in Cusco as part of an effort to restore the pride and identity of the Quechua people. Navarro himself portrayed the Sapa Inca for twelve years.

Cusco becomes the center of all tourist attractions because thousands of tourists travel to this city to witness the Inti Raymi celebration which is one of the best cultural experiences in this mystical city.

Fiestas del Inti Raymi-2018 Créditos: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Inti Raymi-2018 Credits: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Where does Inti Raymi take place nowadays?

There are three points where this ceremony will is held:

Qoricancha:

Inti Raymi starts in Qoricancha esplanade on  El Sol Av. at approximately 9:00 am. Here the first rituals are performed. They include coca, llama, alpaca offerings. This first part of the staging lasts 45 minutes. You can enjoy the performance for free. At the end of this first step, the Inca in the company of the Qolla and its army head to the main square of Cusco.



Plaza Mayor of Cusco:

The Inca and Qolla arrive in Plaza de Armas carried on a throne by 8 servants. This part is very important since members of the army from the four regions of the Inca empire known as Tawantinsuyu. An interesting aspect of the event is that the Inca and the major of the city exchange the “Quipu” as a symbol of power, leadership and support of the crowd.

People can attend the event that lasts 1 hour approx, then they have to head to Sacsayhuaman esplanade where the main festival is performed.

Fiesta del Inti Raymi Créditos: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Inti Raymi Credits: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Saqsayhuaman esplanade:

Here the main activity takes place. We will be able to observe elaborate rituals and a symbolic sacrifice that are played out to call back the sun on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Each Suyo offers a dance in honor of Tayta Inti and all deities to thank them for their generosity.

The performance on stage lasts 2 hours approx. To attend the event in Saqsayhuaman esplanade you need to show your tickets.

Fiesta del Sol en la explanada de Saqsayhuamán Crécitos: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Saqsayhuaman esplanade – Sun Festival    Credits: Luz Incappuiño Martinez

Where can I buy the tickets?

The Tickets for Inti Raymi Festival in Cusco you can purchase on different ways, but the best way is through an authorized travel agency because “EMUFEC” enabled an online shopping platform that only allows to buy face-to-face or through banking institutions premises within the territory of Peru.

In addition, the best seats or locations are purchased by the authorized travel agencies in Cusco.



Distribution of seats:

There are three sections in Chiquipampa esplanade in Sacsayhuaman:

  • Center stage
  • And two side stages.

Entrance fee:

The cost of the ticket includes the guided tour, meals and transportation. Prices vary from 180 USD to 240 USD per person.

Note: Children under 12 years old have a special discount.

When does Inti Raymi take place?

Inti Raymi is celebrated every year on June 24, the same day of  farmer’s day. It is worth to mention that June is also called Jubilee month in Cusco and other important events are also commemorated like Corpus Christi day.

Do I need to have tickets to attend the event in Qoricancha and Plaza de Armas of Cusco?

No, the performance in Qoricancha and Plaza de armas of Cusco is free. Therefore, we recommend taking the proper precautions to be located in a good and safe area.

Remember that you only need to buy the tickets to attend the event in Saqsayhuaman.

Tips to attend the event:

  • Bring your passport with you all the time.
  • Always look after your belongings. Since many people attend the event, it won’t be possible to find your things if you lose them. 
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen to prevent from sun damage.
  • Drink water to keep hydrated. Dry season is sunny in Cusco.
  • Acclimatize to the altitude arriving 2 or 3 days before enrolling in any activity that is physically challenging.
  • Don’t forget to make space in your camera memory to take as many pictures as possible.
  • Buy some snacks.
  • Pack light clothes for the day and warm clothes for cold nights.
  • We recommend wearing your new shoes before hiking in the Mountains. This way when you wear them for hikes, your feet won’t get hurt.
  • Children can attend the event under an adult supervision.
  • Take some cash to prevent from any trouble.

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