New Year’s Eve in Cusco, Peru

I think the video explains all the chaos and excitement of the New Year’s celebration in Cusco, Peru better than I ever could in words.

Cusco is one of the two most popular places to celebrate New Years in Peru (the other being Mancora) and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

The city grew in anticipation from before christmas leading up to the big night. Tourists from all over Peru, Argentina and the world flooded Cusco and filled up the hostels and hotels. So much so that I had to walk the streets of Cusco on the 30th to find a place to sleep after finding the hotel I booked a reservation through boarded up and shut down, no notice necessary I guess.

Street vendors lined the streets, while natives came in from outside the city to sell their wares and experience the festivities.

As mentioned in the video, one of the most interesting things about cruising around the open street markets were seeing all the superstitious tokens Peruvians purchased for the New Years celebration.

Yellow was the color of choice, everything from yellow hats, confetti, flowers and underwear. From there it was fake stacks of US dollars on sticks, incense, wine, grapes, panetón (like fruit cake) and fireworks.

Also, like you see in the video, fireworks were everywhere. Kids sold them on the streets, families lit them off as they walked and crazy bastards shot them at each other and lit them off themselves.

The most amazing thing about the fireworks though was watching the sky fill with multiple colors and explosions for hours from the main square out into the surrounding hills of Cusco.

Once midnight hit everyone starts running around Plaza de Armas for good luck. I even saw some locals carry around suitcases as they ran, which I was told meant good luck for traveling in the New Year.

It was one of the most incredible festivals I have ever been a apart of and would love to return one day (with earplugs).

Here are some photos from New Year’s Eve in Cusco, Peru…

The Streets of Cusco Peru

The Calm Before The Storm: The Streets of Cusco, Peru pre New Years Celebration

New Years Eve in Cusco, Peru

Selling good luck trinkets at the central market on New Years Eve in Cusco, Peru

New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

Yuca and Yellow Flowers on the streets of Cusco

New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

Lucky Money Sticks for Wealth in the New Year from Cusco, Peru

Kids Buying Fireworks on New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

"Yes, I'll take the rocket launcher and just a few Punishers for my little sister"

Plaza de Armas in Cusco Peru on New Years Eve

A bustling Plaza de Armas before all the New Years Action

New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

Celebrate Life - New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

New Years Eve in Cusco Peru

This is the point where I should have turned off the camera.

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7 Responses to New Year’s Eve in Cusco, Peru

  1. What a blast, I was in Cusco 10 years ago and funny enough was just talking about it yesterday when we went out to eat at a peruvian resturant!

    We’re moving to Chile soon and I’m soo returning with my family there – maybe for a new year celebration – it looks like too much fun.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala – Photo EssayMy Profile

    • Gareth

      Thanks Marina, it’s something I’d love to share with friends and family one day. Hopefully in a few years I can plan a big trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu with crew! All the best in Chile.

  2. Could you ever imagine random fireworks in Times Square like that ? and running after a night of celebrating ?? pretty funny ritual. I think your grandpa Al had the right idea with a gathering of friends for champagne and black eyed peas for good luck….less dangerous.

    • Gareth

      This definitely wouldn’t fly in the States. You had kids just tossing firecrackers into crowds… out of control! I’d like to do grandpa’s tradition before the big event for good luck just surviving!

  3. What an amazing video! … I’m Peruvian, but you have this incredible way for showing us your feelings and experiences that makes me being grateful with your job and with you… I’m glad you’d enjoyed your visit over here.
    Wish I had the opportunity to travel and to know another cultures as much as you’ve already had.
    If you are planning to come to Peru one more time, I can show you more about Lima, the Capitol City.

  4. Gosh Gareth, your post was what I needed to get all excited about my trip for new years to Cuzco. Just a little question. considering that I want to visit all the attractions in Cuzco and also celebrate new years, how many days do you think I should stay there?

    Keep up your amazing blog!


  5. This is the first time I see Cusco depicted as a place where you can spend New Year’s Eve… Hmmm… Interesting. I like the idea!

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