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Ayacucho's Celebrated Festivals -- Ayacucho plays host to some of the most spectacular popular festivals in Peru. The weeklong Easter celebration, Semana Santa, features nightly candlelit processions and daily fairs. It culminates in a stunning and emotional procession on Easter Sunday that makes its way around the Plaza Mayor. The procession is marked by the annual appearance of a massive (15*8m/49*26-ft. high) throne made entirely of white wax and carried by 200 people. Note that all hotels and hostales in Ayacucho are booked months in advance for Easter week, although you might find additional lodging offered in private homes.

Carnaval Ayacuchano is an authentic Quechua carnival celebration, one of the most colorful in the country. For 3 days in February or March, dancing and festivities take over the streets of Ayacucho, including the official proclamation of the Ño Carnavalon, or giant papier-mâché figure of the Rey Momo. The celebration also includes the unveiling of political songs, elaborate masks, and the Festival del Puchero, a typical Carnaval Ayacuchano dish served on Tuesday of Holy Week. In rural areas, carnival celebrations are starkly traditional, marked by manifestations such as ancient fertility rites.

The Bajada de los Reyes Magos (the arrival of the Three Kings) on January 6 and La Virgen de la Candelaria on February 2 are two other notable festivals, though they're not nearly as popular as Carnaval and Semana Santa. For more information on festivals in Ayacucho, contact iPerú (tel. 066/318-305; www.promperu.gob.pe).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.