If you are looking for something a little different to do for Christmas this year, why not spend the holidays in Peru? This blog will give you seven great reasons to consider bringing your family on a tour to Peru this Christmas, where you will experience firsthand how the holidays are celebrated in the rich cultural traditions of the Andes.
1- Get Away from Crowds and the holiday stress – A lot of time and money is spent in crowded malls every year to find the “perfect present” for family members. What if the perfect gift could be an experience rather than another material thing? On a Peru holiday, you and your loved ones can visit the magnificent Machu Picchu, partake in the Christmas traditions of the Andes, and experience nature in all of her glory. What could be better?
2- Christmas Giving, Andean Style (Chocolatada) – One of the most charming Christmas traditions practiced in and around Cusco is the annual Chocolatada. During this event, we go out to rural communities and provide Christmas treats in the form of hot chocolate and panetón (a type of fruitcake) and provide gifts for the children. At Kuoda we host a yearly chocolatada; we’d be happy to include you in the event as a way for you and your family to practice the joys of Christmas giving, Andean style.
3- Santuranticuy Market – Every year on December 24th artisans from all over Peru come together to sell their wares at the Santuranticuy Market on Cusco’s Plaza de Armas. This market has been happening every year since the 16th Century! Crafts of all kinds, baked goods, food products, toys, dolls, jewelry, candy and treats, handmade soaps and toiletries, and figurines of saints (for which the market is named): all are on display and for sale from the loving hands of the artisans that made them. You can experience the vibrant bustle of this historic market during your Christmas in Peru vacation.
4-Nativity Scenes– Peruvians spend a great deal of time and effort creating amazing scenes of Baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by his family, the wise men, and the barn animals. These elaborate, lifelike, and highly artistic scenes are often filled with plants (often, actual plants are used for the greenery), animals, people, and tiny villages. Families that live in the highlands arrive in Cusco with handpicked and handcrafted nativity materials that they sell on the Plaza de Armas during the above-mentioned Santuranticuy Market that takes place on December 24th each year.
5- It’s Summer! – If you happen to live in one of the colder climates in the western hemisphere, you will be delighted to enjoy the summer weather in Peru in the month of December. Although there does tend to be some rain in Cusco this time of year, temperatures are generally warm during the day. If you are interested in visiting the beaches around Lima or the northern coast as part of your Peru holiday, you’ll find warm summer temperatures and radiant sunshine!
6- Food! – Here’s your chance to enjoy some of the Peruvian food you’ve been hearing so much about. From a traditional turkey with the fixins’ (usually served on Nochebuena, December 24th) to a Christmas lechón (flavorful roast pork) to the traditional Andean dishes made famous by Gastón Acurio and other top Peruvian chefs, you will get the chance to gorge on sumptuous Andean fare during your Peru holiday!
7- Christmas at Machu Picchu – What could be more special than to be with your loved ones at this sacred site during this special time of year? Christmas coincides by a few days with the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. In many religious and spiritual traditions, this is considered to be a time of year when creative and harmonious energies are at their peak.
Note: Be sure to plan your Peru Christmas trip soon, as certain activities, such as climbing Huayna Picchu Mountain when you are at Machu Picchu, are booked well in advance, and many hotels fill up quickly this time of year.